How long does quetiapine withdrawal last?

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Hi all,

I was prescribed sertraline 100mg in January 2019. I was still struggling a lot and the psychiatric consultant then prescribed quetiapine 50mg a day - 25mg in the morning and 25mg at night in September or October 2019 for 'agitation'. The main benefit I found was that it helped me sleep (which I really needed as my sleep was very erratic at the time and my experiene on sleeping tablets prior to that was very bad.) I also felt like l dissociated less. Since being prescribed these two drugs, I gained 5.5stones in weight. I am not saying that the medication was completely responsible, as I had problems with binge eating and restricting before that time but I had always kept my weight in check despite that. I had to wonder did the increase in appetite, from the quetiapine in particular, I suspect, exacerbate my binge eating habit. Also, the timing of the weight gain since being put on the medication, makes me think it couldn't have simply coincidence to have the weight gain start so soon after going on these drugs, as it is a listed side effect of both.

Anyways, I got sick and tired of the weight gain. My weight was just increasing and increasing and I found I was sleeping for 12-13 hours, one time even 16 hours in one stretch if I remember correctly, as well as sometimes napping for a couple of hours during the day.

I came off my sertraline starting in September, in consultation with my psychiatrist. He didn't think it was the best time for me but I told him, 'If you don't tell me how to wean off, I'm going to wean off myself'. My suicidal ideation and planning reached its worst but I also had other things going on at that time, so I am not absolutely certain it was as a result of coming off the sertraline.

Since then, I started Dialectical Behaviour Therapy . My suicidal ideation has reduced to being nearly completely absent, my negative emotions have decreased and I have found more joy, overall.

All this, until after Christmas. . . **At my last psychiatry appointment on the 14th December, I asked to come off the quetiapine. The psychiatrist once again seemed reluctant but I explained how much I was over-sleeping, so he said I could try two days off the morning dose and see how I felt and if I felt OK to continue. So I did. We had agreed I would wait to talk about stopping the night-time dose at my next appointment on March 15th. I guess I just got sick of waiting and having felt absolutely fine after dropping down to just the night-time dose, I thought it would be fine to stop taking the night-time dose as well. **

**I had skipped a couple of doses the week before last and noticed some tearfulness and thought nothing of it. Then I stopped taking it properly and continuously on Sunday 10th - so I have been 6 nights off it. I have noticed I have felt quite low and I am very tearful. 2 things came up this were difficult but I still feel like I am unusually tearful, even though those things are going on. Once I start to talk to anyone on the phone, I start blubbering. My motivation has decreased. I have also been having gas, nausea, headache and some dizziness at times. It is quite unpleasant. I am particularly concerned about the tearfulness/feeling low because I don't want that to be permanent or lasting effect. I don't want to spiral downwards again because I was doing quite well. I am also feeling a bit isolated and worried because I did this despite the psychiatrist's advice to take it slower and discuss again at the next appointment . . . I am questioning whether I should continue on ceasing to take this, or whether I should consider going back to the night-time dose. **

Has anyone else gone through similar side effects? How did you wean off? And if you did experience similar withdrawal symptoms, how long did it last please?

I thought it was such a low dose that it wouldn't affect me but it looks like I guessed wrong. I seem to have quite bad experiences in general coming off these types of medications from past experience. 😢

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  • Posted

    Hi, for me it took around 6weeks to completely withdraw quetiapine from my system after 15months of use. Also withdrawal was with gradual reduction under psychiatrist advice. Withdrawal side effects included headaches, insomnia, nausea, stomach problems and some depression as well, during withdrawal there was a few times i wanted to give up and get back on quetapine, it was not great. i have stopped taking it, because it started causing lot of medical problems after first 6months, following another 6months with different dosages i was gaining on weight a lot, my face and hands were twitching, blurry vision, headaches, constipation, muscle pain, higher heart rate, insomnia,returned and i lost interest in my hobbies and so on. So i am off now 12weeks, heart rate is back to normal, twitching, headaches, constipation, blurry vision is all gone, also i am back doing my hobbies and so on. But anxiety is slowly started creeping back on me which is not great, but i will try to deal with anxiety without medication. Its all about reducing dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline levels and best for it is to do something get tired from work, hobbies and things you like to do, so that these levels are naturally reduced without chemicals.

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