Citation: Guinea Pig. "For Anxiety Disorders: An Experience with Quetiapine (Seroquel) (exp73220)". Erowid.org. Jun 26, 2009. erowid.org/exp/73220
I first tried Quetiapine in 2006. My girlfriend was given this drug for what they thought was schizoaffective disorder. Myself, I have had a long history of panic attacks, anxiety, and agoraphobia with generalized anxiety disorder. In the attempt to find peace from this chronic and nagging condition, I have been on a number of drugs such as xanax, buspar, ativan, and anti-depressants like anafranil, prozac, paxil, celexa and now lexapro. One night I was extremely anxious and could not sleep. I had no benzodiazepines (ativan, rivitrol etc.) left and my g/f gave me a small 25mg dose of Quetiapine. It basically knocked me out (put me to sleep) and I had this strange hangover the next day that included a mild 'pressure' around my brain, a disconnected feeling, general tiredness and apathy. Really not a terrible state for someone who is generally over-stimulated and anxious!
I stopped using quetiapine after that for some time until one day, I found (ironically) about 20 x 25mg tablets in a vial on the ground. I checked them for tampering or signs they were 'something else'. The shape, color and markings were very definitive. So I used these tablets to get to sleep from time to time, but always felt weird about taking pills that I found.
So I went to my family doctor, who has always been quite the experimenter with atypical anti-psychotics (like Risperdal for example). I told him how my anxiety problems were ongoing, my aggression levels were climbing and my inability to sleep. I DID NOT come forward about my quetiapine use. This is the part that blew me away:
He prescribed quetiapine. (2) 25mg pills daily. I laughed hysterically (inside) at the irony. I was just prescribed the pills I was feeling guilty for taking without medical approval. So I took the script to the pharmacy.
I was to take 1 tab for a while then get myself up to 50mg (2 tabs). I was VERY groggy in the morning and really had to pay attention while driving my car to work. I really do not recommend driving at all when starting this medication – my reaction time and level of attention was just way too low. At work, I found it almost impossible to focus and there was an overwhelming desire to just fall asleep. My eyes were heavy and (as one other contributor stated) “stingy”. I would fall asleep sitting up in my desk and sleep for minutes or even as long as an hour! Needless to say, work tends to frown upon 10 to 60 minute naps. So I discontinued taking this drug. My target dose was 75mg/day and I could not even stay awake on 25mg let alone 50mg. I still keep a quantity of Quetiapine for nights when I am terribly anxious and want to get to bed – but I need to take my “sleep aid dose” (1/2 of a 25mg tab or 12.5mg) early in the evening if I want to be functional at all the next day. I need to sleep for 10-12 hours to wear even a small dose of this drug off.
For people that are truly psychotic or terribly manic, this drug might be just the answer. But truthfully, I have serious doubts about the effectiveness of this med when used for “atypical” problems like anxiety. It may have some merit as a sleep aid, and reportedly does not eliminate REM sleep like some tranquilizers do (in fact it is said to enhance dreaming in some). But REM sleep or no REM sleep, one can feel VERY tired, disconnected and drowsy the next day. I am also not convinced this drug can be used “as needed” (as is indicated for sleep medication) because I really need to be on it regularly to have any kind of tolerance for its very powerful sedative side effects.
In short, I would recommend this drug to NOT be used recreationally OR periodically, and ONLY used under the direction of a trusted doctor or mental health professional for its intended purpose. I also do not think its good as an atypical anxiety med, but then again I’m a Guinea Pig and not a doctor. There are also better choices for anxiety disorders and panic attacks in my opinion. Unless you need this drug, I would recommend staying away from it.
Good Luck on your Journey. But be safe. Experimenting is fun but it only takes one bad OD to end it all.
[Reported dose: 12.5mg to 75mg (0.5 to 3 x 25mg tablets)]
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