Is there life after Seroquel? Is it good?
April 9, 2011 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Crazymedsfilter. Have you tried to wean yourself off Seroquel? What happened?

About five years ago I had a pretty big crack-up that landed me into the morass of psych meds. My diagnosis has never been clear cut - some MH professionals have said major depressive disorder, others have said cyclothemia or bi-polar II or bi-polar NOS. Regardless, I ended up on a mixture of medications typically associated with bi-polar disorder: Seroquel (600mg), Lamictal (200mg) and a very small maintenance dose of Lithium (450mg).

I've never invested all that much in my actual diagnosis and MH professionals who I like and respect have cautioned against putting too much stock in them. What's mattered more to me is that the five years I've been on these meds have been the most stable of my life. I'm much happier, clearer headed and easier to be around. The bottom floor of my depression has risen considerably. I love than I can trust that the me that wakes up on Monday is the same me that will wake up on Tuesday.


600mg of Seroquel is a damn high dose for a 5"4, 130lb woman. Hell, it's a high dose for a horse. I'm growing increasingly uncomfortable with this, especially since long-term use of antipsychotics at high doses is strongly associated with developing tardive dyskinesia among other health risks.

I'm thinking seriously about weaning myself off. My current NP has said he will support this and will monitor me closely as we slowly drop the dosage. He's been circumspect, understandably, about what may happen during and after this process.

So, my questions for the Green is:
Have you weaned yourself off Seroquel?
How did it go?
Did you have to replace it with something else?
What did you do to make the process easier?

Yes yes, YANMD and MMMV.

tl;dr - tell me everything you've experienced with weaning yourself off Seroquel.

anon. for work/privacy reasons.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm on all the same meds (but higher doses of both the Lamictal and lithium) and wanted to come down of off a high dose of Seroquel as well. It's been three years, and I can't seem to make it under 100mg., but what has helped to replace some of it is clonidine, a beta-blocker, that I take high doses at night and smaller doses as needed in the day. I also take a relatively high dose of Tryptan (tryptophan) every night, and that has helped quite a bit as well. Having a higher dose of Lamictal might help you as well. PM me if you want to talk more.
posted by mireille at 1:14 PM on April 9, 2011

I think you might get more responses if you provided a, obviously not your usual, email because its a sensitive subject.

Maybe you can email the mods and ask them to add one as a reply.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 1:24 PM on April 9, 2011

Mod note: From the OP:
Follow-up email:
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:41 PM on April 9, 2011

I'm on it for weapons-grade insomnia. A few months ago I dropped from 600 mg to 100 mg all at once as part of trying a new sleep cocktail (I'm on half a dozen things, on purpose, with my doctor's approval, of course). A couple sweaty nights was all I noticed. An absolute cakewalk compared to getting off 2 mg of Klonopin (for the same insomnia, rxed by a really stupid former doctor), which was a sheer hell of anxiety for six months. Easier also than cutting down or stopping Neurontin, Soma, or opiates.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:20 PM on April 9, 2011

And I'm 5'4", 110 lbs.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:22 PM on April 9, 2011

I have a friend with bipolar who tried to wean herself off Seroquel a few years back (with her doctor's agreement). After a couple of months, she felt like she was slipping back into weird moods and behaviours, and went back up to her previous dosage. Everything went back to normal.

So even if it doesn't work out, it doesn't have to be disastrous, as long as you are closely monitoring yourself, and working with your doctor.
posted by lollusc at 6:40 PM on April 9, 2011

I'm bipolar and have been on 600mg/day of Seroquel, and went off of it about a year ago due to the fact that it wasn't helping a whole lot (it stemmed mania, but not depression), I packed on almost fifty pounds in a year (not all at the 600mg dose), it was making me a zombie, and I was trying to get pregnant.

The first week I dropped down to 400mg, and then it was time to refill the prescription and I didn't have the money, so I went from 400 to nothing. It made for a rough week--I couldn't sleep, I was shaky, I was nauseated, and when I did sleep, it was restless and scattered. Relatively typical mild-to-moderate withdrawal symptoms. It wasn't intolerable, though--I didn't miss work or anything like that.

That was last August. I haven't gone on anything else because I'm still trying to get pregnant, so I spend a lot of mental time and energy paying attention to my moods and feelings and how I'm reacting to those, and a lot of time making my husband give me feedback about the same. I tend to be hypomanic rather than full-on manic, though, so I'm arguably in a better position to do this than someone who gets really manic would be.
posted by MeghanC at 7:14 PM on April 9, 2011

I stepped down relatively gradually thanks to having some 25 mgs from an earlier prescription--not nearly as gradually as from Paxil and Effexor--and I have to say, I didn't see any effects at all, aside from getting rid of the feeling that someone had dunked my brain in heavy syrup. It seemed like a far, far easier time than coming off the above antidepressants, without weird side-effects. Don't rush it, and keep your doc involved.
posted by mittens at 7:17 PM on April 9, 2011

(Oh, I was only on 200 though.)
posted by mittens at 7:17 PM on April 9, 2011

I just finished weaning myself off 100mg Seroquel that I had been on for about 4 years. It's still hell. My appetite has slowed down, and I'm thinking much, much clearer, but I absolutely cannot get any sleep. I'm taking 50mg lorazepam before bed to try to fall asleep, but it still takes 2-3 hours to fall asleep, and I end up waking up multiple times during the night. I'm so exhausted during the day that I've been falling asleep at work.

It's strange because although I was only on Seroquel for psychosis (I still take Topamax for bipolar), since stopping the seroquel, pretty bad depression has returned.
posted by hasna at 1:17 AM on April 10, 2011

Double d@mn that's a lot of seroquel. The most I ever took was 25mg and it knocked me flat on my can at that.

I never had any issue lowering it, of course. As with most any med, just do it gradually. If your diagnosis is in the ballpark of what you listed, the lamictal should do you just fine.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:26 AM on April 10, 2011

I dropped my seroquel last summer for myriad reasons and it was hell. I couldn't sleep, the nighttime hallucinations returned, and my thoughts went a mile a minute -- even *with* increasing the Topamax. I went into a raging mania that I don't like to think about even now. For me Topa and Seroquel are a good mix and I'll never drop one again. I'm only on 200 mgs and have never needed to go above that. Still, depending on why you're taking it and how it's working it might be a cakewalk or it might be a descent into hell. As always, YMMV.
posted by patheral at 11:46 AM on April 10, 2011

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