What is Seroquel?
Seroquel is the brand name of quetiapine, an antipsychotic drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  to treat schizophrenia, major depression disorder, and bipolar disorder. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe this medication for insomnia or anxiety. It works to rebalance serotonin and dopamine to improve a person’s mood, behavior, and thinking. This drug comes in a tablet form that is meant to be ingested orally. Seroquel has two formulations: IR (immediate release) and XR (extended-release).
Seroquel is not a controlled substance, but there is still a risk of abuse or addiction. It is important to understand how this drug can affect people, especially if someone is taking it improperly. There are reports of misuse of the drug by crushing and snorting the tablets, injecting the medication, or combining it with cocaine and injecting the mixture.
How Long Does it Take for Seroquel to Work?
Seroquel is usually taken 1, 2, or 3 times per day with or without food. The extended release should be taken without food or with a light meal (≤300 calories). Typically patients begin at a low dose of medicine and the dose is increased slowly over several weeks. The dose usually ranges from 100 mg to 800 mg. Only your healthcare provider can determine the correct dose for you. The extended-release tablets should be swallowed whole. They should not be chewed, crushed, or broken.
It is very important to tell your doctor how you feel things are going during the first few weeks after you start taking quetiapine. It will probably take several weeks to see big enough changes in your symptoms to decide if quetiapine is the right medication for you. Antipsychotic treatment is generally needed lifelong for persons with schizophrenia. Your doctor can best discuss the duration of treatment you need based on your symptoms and illness.
- Hallucinations, disorganized thinking, and delusions may improve in the first 1-2 weeks
- Sometimes these symptoms do not completely go away
- Motivation and desire to be around other people can take at least 1-2 weeks to improve
- Symptoms continue to get better the longer you take quetiapine
- It may take 2-3 months before you get the full benefit of quetiapine
How Long Does Seroquel Stay in Your System After Stopping?
After taking doses over about two days, the amount of Seroquel in the body will reach a stable, predictable level. However, it is essential not to stop taking Seroquel abruptly because the medication will metabolize out of the body within a day.
If you completely stop taking this drug, they will likely experience Seroquel withdrawal symptoms; some of which may be debilitating. As you experience these withdrawal symptoms, you may be wondering what is Seroquel, and how long before the active ingredient “quetiapine” is metabolized from your system. Most sources suggest that the immediate-release and extended-release (XR) version of Seroquel has an elimination half-life of approximately seven hours.
This means it takes an average of seven hours post-ingestion for 50% of the quetiapine dosage to get cleared from systemic circulation. Therefore, it is possible to predict that Seroquel stays in your system for around 1.6 days after your last dose. In other words, it will likely take over 24 hours but less than 48 hours for your body to have fully eliminated the drug.
Unlike many other substances that form metabolites with half-lives exceeding that of the parent chemical, metabolites of quetiapine are thought to exhibit half-lives approximately equal to or lesser than quetiapine itself. As a result, most individuals should expect to have cleared Seroquel from their body within two days of discontinuation. That said, the approximation of 1.6 days is an “average” – some individuals may clear the drug faster or slower than this average.
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How Long Does Seroquel Stay in Your System?
You can inform a possible employer, school, or addiction treatment facility that you need this medication If you take Seroquel as prescribed. It may show up on a test administered in these situations. However, it is not a medication that is commonly tested for. In addition, there are some situations in which Seroquel can show up as a false positive — either as tricyclic antidepressants or as methadone — so it is vital to be clear about this medication if you do take it as a prescription.
Seroquel Blood Tests
This form of drug testing is rarely used because it is considered invasive, and it can take a laboratory a few days to return the drug report. However, once Seroquel is bioavailable, it can be detected in the blood, so it may show up on a drug report within two hours. Normally, a blood test is returned within one to eight days, depending on the urgency of the test.
Seroquel Urine Tests
This is the most common form of drug testing for workplaces or schools, and it is considered the least invasive and the most accurate. About 73 percent of Seroquel can be recovered through urine samples; around 20 percent is recovered through fecal samples.
Urine testing for Seroquel can lead to a false positive for methadone because quetiapine breaks down in the body. Additionally, since Seroquel is available through prescription, it is less likely to be tested for directly than opioid drugs or other substances of abuse. Therefore, if you take Seroquel as a prescription, be sure to tell the company testing you for substances because you may receive a false positive for opiates.
Seroquel Hair Tests
This approach to testing does not show whether you have taken Seroquel recently. Instead, it will show any substances, including alcohol, marijuana, opioid painkillers, or stimulants that you have taken in the past three months. As your hair grows, the chemicals that have built up in your system will be excreted through the root system, and they can show up in strands of hair, almost like rings on a tree.
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How Seroquel Affects Your Body?
There are several factors to consider when weighing the specifics in answering the question, “how long does Seroquel stay in your system?”
These factors include things like: individual factors, the dosage you were taking, term (and frequency) of usage, as well as whether you’re taking it with other drugs. In addition, certain variables promote faster systemic clearance, while others may prolong the process.
In most cases, elderly people are unable to eliminate Seroquel as fast as adults. Those over the age of 65 frequently exhibit reduced hepatic blood flow and are more likely to be taking medications for other health conditions – both of which interfere with the metabolism of Seroquel. The poorer metabolic breakdown of the drug can lead to increased accumulation and an extended half-life.
The size of someone’s body relative to the dosage of Seroquel they take could slightly affect how long it stays in their system. Particularly, the greater someone’s size (height/weight) relative to the dosage of Seroquel they’re taking, the faster they are likely to clear it from their system. On the other hand, the smaller the overall size relative to dosage, the longer it will likely take to eliminate.
In addition to weight, it is required to consider the body fat percentage. Seroquel is highly lipophilic in that it binds to fat stores throughout the body. Therefore, more of the drug will stay stored in the fat before elimination if someone has a high body fat percentage. Conversely, people with a lower body fat percentage are unlikely to hold as much Seroquel in their bodies, resulting in faster total elimination.
The absorption of Seroquel is affected significantly by food intake or diet. Specifically, if you eat a high-fat meal along with Seroquel, the maximum serum concentrations increase by an average of 8%. On the other hand, taking Seroquel on an empty stomach or with a non-“high fat” meal may result in faster absorption and faster systemic clearance.
Whether you stay hydrated after taking Seroquel may affect its elimination speed. Hydration is known to improve urinary flow rate, which in turn is known to affect how quickly the drug is excreted. Someone who stays hydrated should theoretically excrete more of the drug at a faster pace than someone who’s dehydrated.
Hepatic impairment slows the clearance of Seroquel by approximately 30% compared to those with normative hepatic function. In other words, individuals with liver problems tend to retain greater levels of the drug for a longer period of time compared to healthy people. If you’ve had any problems with your liver function, realize that you may not metabolize the drug as quickly (especially at high doses), leading to more significant accumulation and half-life.
Half-life could be extended by several hours among those with impaired hepatic function. Moreover, there is subtle evidence to suggest that renal insufficiency may have a slight effect on the systemic clearance of Seroquel. For instance, renal insufficiency can lead to a 25% reduction in Seroquel clearance compared to those with normative renal function.
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Tips to Clear Seroquel from Your System
If you quit taking Seroquel and want to ensure that the drug and its metabolites are removed from your body as fast as possible, some steps could be followed to enhance excretion speed. Before doing so, always verify safety and efficacy with a medical professional. Certain tips may prove more effective for some people than others.
Completely discontinue: The most obvious tip here is to fully stop taking Seroquel if you want it cleared from your system. Usually, it is best to conduct a “taper” (or gradual dosage reduction) with the aid of a medical professional. The longer it’s been since you took your final dose of the drug, the more likely you are to be completely detoxified.
CYP3A4 induction: Various drugs and supplements are known to induce the activity of CYP3A4 enzymes in the liver. Though quetiapine is extensively metabolized, its metabolism may be enhanced with the administration of a substance that induces CYP3A4 activity. Taking a CYP3A4 inhibitor will likely ensure that the drug is extensively metabolized and efficiently excreted.
Exercise daily: It is understood that Seroquel is lipophilic, meaning it is “fat soluble.” Long-term users may have accumulated the drug to a greater extent within bodily tissues and fat stores. Getting daily exercise, particularly cardio, can help you burn fat, increase blood flow, and maximize the efficiency of quetiapine clearance.
Acidify urinary pH: If you have a highly alkaline urinary pH, there’s a chance that you’ll be retaining quetiapine (and its metabolites) for much longer than necessary. Individuals with alkaline urine may substantially decrease systemic excretion time via acidification of urine. Eating more acidic foods (to acidify urine) may enhance renal excretion, whereas alkaline foods may compromise it.
Stay hydrated: If you’re attempting to detoxify your system from quetiapine, it may be helpful to stay hydrated. This means drinking plenty of water to maximize your urinary flow rate. Increasing urinary flow rate by ramping up water intake has been shown to facilitate the quicker clearance of drugs. However, don’t go overboard with the water consumption as this could be toxic.
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Treatment for Seroquel Abuse
In some individuals, drug addiction results from an underlying mental health issue. In others, addiction develops first, and mental health symptoms arise later. Sometimes, mental health symptoms may be worsened by drug abuse.
Although there is no single cause for addiction, a mental health issue may increase the likelihood of developing an addiction and vice versa.
People who are suffering from an addiction and a mental health problem should seek treatment for a co-occurring disorder. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this type of treatment can:
- Lower the relapse rate
- Reduce the number of suicide attempts
- Lead to long-term sobriety
Many inpatient rehab centers offer dual diagnosis treatment where individuals receive all the medical, therapeutic, and holistic care they need to heal mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Now that you’ve answered the question “how long does Seroquel stay in your system?” it is crucial to follow the special precaution to avoid overdose, addiction, and withdrawal. If someone struggles with Seroquel addiction because of its intense and often dangerous Seroquel side effects and withdrawal symptoms, that person needs to consider inpatient drug rehab. We Level Up NJ addiction specialists are standing by to help.
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