Best description of being on Quetiapine I’ve ever read!
I’m meant to be on 400mg a night (in the past when very ill I was 900mg and still didn’t sleep!). I am fairly well adjusted to my own mental health now, and I am good at knowing when I’m getting a little too high. So I do not take the 400mg a night. I am awake a lot due to pain these days & actually still wake up after a couple of hours on 100mg of quetiapine which is not easy to do! If I have been a lot of days without a good sleep, & find I’m recognising my signs of getting too high I’ll take it to get some sleep which tends to knock the mania on the head before it even gets to a proper hypomania stage.
I am 40 in a couple of weeks & have suffered from bipolar from 8 years old. It’s only on the last couple of years and after dealing with a lot of stuff like childhood abuse that I’ve been able to really get a handle on my own mental health and moods, so I do not write this with the intention of convincing or advising anyone else stops their meds – just because it’s right for me now, it may not be for you so please do not be influenced into stopping anything from my comment. This is purely about me.
I was shocked the first time I took quetiapine because I am extremely hard to knock out, normal benzos tickle me at best, no medication has ever given me the drowsy feeling it does other people. So many years ago when I first got quetiapine & took my first dose, I laughed at the ‘may cause drowsiness’ to advice.
The next thing I knew it was about 6 hours later & I had fallen asleep where I was sat. I had dried drool stuck to my face, a stiff neck, couldn’t even see properly. I somehow stumbled upstairs to bed and slept like I’d never slept before that point. I used to go to school on a couple of hours most of the time, I could easily get by on 2 hours days night regularly & feel so amazing.
Amazing of course until this led to me being manic & out of control, then inevitably the down somewhere along the way.
I had to get my mum & dad to take my son I could not look after him. My mum tried to take me to his school sports day because it was his first one (he’s 22 in May so this is a lot of years ago), I am not kidding you – I could not see! Not even my own hand in front of my face. It was an effort to be stood. I didn’t want to talk or anything all I wanted was my bed. I did get a tolerance to them, however I still got the things that this post explains – some of the places I’ve fallen Asleep quite scary when I think about it properly – & yes I once ended up missing my train station stop. I’ve also got in a taxi & slept the entire journey which unnerved me later.
Now if I take it to help me sleep I can take 100/200mg & sleep better, but only function as much as is needed living by myself with no pets.
I make sure it’s at a time I’ve not got hospital appointments etc because I couldn’t handle anything that big.
Just one huge thing to note if you are on quetiapine (& in my experience not any doctors know this) , be extremely careful if you are prescribed antibiotics. I found out the hard way! You cannot take Clarithromycin or Eurithramycin antibiotics because they stop your liver from making ab enzyme cyp3 something or other, that enzyme breaks quetiapine down in your system. If you are taking both you’re effectively overdosing! I didn’t know what was happening to me, I couldn’t even see properly worse than when I started quetiapine, I had tunnel vision, I felt absolutely awful. I actually thought it was related to the infection I had so I rang the emergency doctor as it was out of hours & luckily he knew for the interaction & told me to stop taking the antibiotics immediately. If you absolutely need those antibiotics then it needs to be done so you’re reducing the amount of quetiapine you take in conjunction with your psychiatrist.
Quetiapine is also known as Seroquel & is an antipsychotic & mood stabiliser. It is it can also be used for those with schizophrenia. It is often used off label for sleep issues too but honestly with all the things it can cause, etc etc, I really wouldn’t advise taking this if you only need it for sleep, unless like myself it is for prevention of hypomania/mania.