Updated on February 15, 2024
6 min read

Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Seroquel?

Seroquel (quetiapine) is a second-generation antipsychotic (SGA) or atypical antipsychotic. It treats specific mental health conditions like schizophrenia, dyskinesia, and bipolar disorder.1

Seroquel works by equalizing neurotransmitters in the brain. It decreases hallucinations, regulates mood, and improves concentration.

Unlike other drugs taken on an as-needed basis, Seroquel requires long-term use. Missing a Seroquel dose can result in physiological and psychological adverse effects.

Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Seroquel?

Experts advise against taking Seroquel with alcohol for the following reasons3:

  • It can exacerbate Seroquel’s sedative effects, causing drowsiness and impaired coordination that potentially cause accidents
  • It can lead to respiratory depression and a decreased heart rate
  • It can interfere with the medication’s efficacy
  • It can cause seizures

Is Seroquel Used to Treat Alcoholism?

While Seroquel is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat alcohol abuse disorder (AUD), it can be prescribed to treat specific aspects of alcoholism.

When prescribed Seroquel as an adjunct treatment, people who misuse alcohol may experience reduced feelings of anxiety and insomnia.4 It can also manage sleep disturbances and agitation, eventually eliminating cravings and dependence on alcohol.

Seroquel is never a standalone treatment for alcohol abuse, even in severe cases. It’s vital to work with an addiction specialist to assist in reaching and maintaining sobriety.

Risks and Side Effects of Mixing Seroquel and Alcohol

A clinical journal found that, in a testing pool of 600 adults, 79% overdosed when mixing alcohol and other substances.5 This is why consuming alcohol and Seroquel is potentially dangerous.

The interaction between these substances can cause the following adverse reactions:

  • Impaired cognitive function, causing memory problems
  • Increased risk of nervous and respiratory depression
  • Worsening of side effects like dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, and blurred vision
  • Increased risk of fatal overdose
  • Anxiety/panic attacks and severe depression

Can Mixing Seroquel and Alcohol Cause Death?

If you are taking Seroquel, combining the substance with alcohol can potentially cause death.

Combining the two can cause increased sedation, impairing decision-making abilities, and resulting in fatal accidents and injuries.

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Safety Tips When Taking Seroquel and Drinking Alcohol

While you generally shouldn’t drink alcohol while taking Seroquel, there are precautions you can take to mitigate any associated risks.

  • Consult a doctor: Your healthcare professional knows the most about your medical history and current condition. They can provide advice regarding whether combining alcohol and quetiapine or your other medications is safe to do.
  • Understand the risks: Educate yourself regarding the potential dangers of combining these substances. Knowing their effects can stop you from engaging in risky behavior.
  • Avoid heavy drinking: Follow your doctor if they advise you to avoid binge drinking.
  • Eat easily digestible food beforehand: Foods high in protein and electrolytes can cushion the effects of mixing Seroquel with alcohol. Consider dishes with ingredients like eggs, oats, salmon yogurt, and berries.6
  • Monitor your symptoms: Pay attention to how your body responds. Stop as soon as you notice adverse symptoms and seek medical attention if they worsen.

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What Is Seroquel For?

Your healthcare provider might prescribe Seroquel to improve your mood, appetite, energy levels, and sleep patterns.1

These symptoms may be the result of different conditions, including:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Major depressive disorder

Seroquel can also alleviate these disorders’ various symptoms, including:1

  • A sense of doom
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Guilt
  • Indecisiveness
  • Suicidal thoughts

Especially at the start of treatment, people with mental health conditions may experience an increased risk of suicide. However, these symptoms typically resolve as the body adapts to the prescribed dosage.

Who Shouldn’t Take Seroquel?

Seroquel isn’t a viable medication for people with specific medical conditions. Your doctor may not prescribe you quetiapine if:

  • You are allergic to quetiapine
  • You have certain types of blood disorders
  • You are taking other medications
  • You have a seizure disorder
  • You have diabetes
  • You have impaired liver functionality
  • You have a history of substance abuse
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You are elderly with dementia-related psychosis
  • You have certain pre-existing cardiovascular conditions

What Are the Side Effects of Seroquel?

Some potential side effects of Seroquel include the following2:

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach or indigestion
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Increased blood pressure and blood sugar

It’s an antipsychotic that can cause abnormal muscle movements, particularly detrimental to pregnant or nursing mothers. Seroquel intake during pregnancy can cause the fetus to experience various withdrawal symptoms.

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How Long Should You Take Seroquel?

Generally, it takes between 2 and 3 months for its effects to kick in. However, people may see improvements as soon as 2 to 3 weeks.

Medical professionals may prescribe Seroquel from one to three doses daily, taken with or without food. If on the extended-release drug, patients should take the drug with a light meal.

Typical quetiapine doses are between 25 and 800 mg, depending on the treated condition. If you miss your dose, consult your doctor on what to do.

How Long Does Seroquel Stay in Your System?

Seroquel typically remains in the system for roughly 1.6 days after the last dose.2 While its half-life varies from person to person, it’s generally about 6 or 7 hours. Factors like metabolism, liver function, and other drug interactions can influence this period’s length.7

Seroquel can still affect the body even after elimination because of its impact on receptors and physiological processes.

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Seroquel?

Stopping Seroquel can cause mild to severe withdrawal symptoms, including the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle rigidity

Commonly Asked Questions About Mixing Alcohol with Seroquel

Is There a Safer Alternative to Seroquel?

While there is no safer alternative to mix with alcohol, drugs that may be prescribed in place of quetiapine include the following8:

- Atypical antipsychotics like Abilify, Zyprexa, Risperdal, and Geodon
- Mood stabilizers like Lamictal
- Antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Tryptophan or lithium carbonate

Though these medicines are commonly used as substitutes for similar medical conditions, there is no guarantee that these drugs have a lower risk of interaction with alcohol.

Can Seroquel cause psychotic episodes?

Seroquel can occasionally cause psychotic episodes, mainly if used incorrectly9. This side effect is rare when used as directed by your doctor. If your symptoms worsen on Seroquel, speak with your doctor immediately.

How much alcohol can you drink while on antipsychotics?

Generally, you shouldn’t drink alcohol while on quetiapine or similar antipsychotics since it can amplify sedative effects. If your healthcare provider permits alcohol consumption, it’s advisable to follow moderation guidelines (no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men)10.

Summary

While Seroquel can effectively treat conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder, you should never use this drug alongside alcohol without professional medical advice.

Even with medical clearance, patients with psychosis-related disorders should only take alcohol in moderation. If you struggle with alcohol addiction, seek an addiction specialist to undergo treatment to manage your substance dependence.

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Updated on February 15, 2024
10 sources cited
Updated on February 15, 2024
  1. Borison et al. “Seroquel (ICI 204, 636): a novel, atypical antipsychotic” Biological Psychiatry, 2015.
  2. Goldstein, J. “Quetiapine fumarate (Seroquel): a new atypical antipsychotic” Drugs of Today, 1998.
  3. Malekshahi et al. “Misuse of atypical antipsychotics in conjunction with alcohol and other drugs of abuse” Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 2015.
  4. Akbar et al. “Medications for alcohol use disorders: An overview.” Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2018.
  5. “Study highlights overdose risks of alcohol used with other drugs” Newswise.com, 2019.
  6. Yeomans et al. “Alcohol and food intake” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 2003.
  7. Gibson, G., and Skett, P. “Introduction to Drug Metabolism.” Springer Science+Business Media, 1986.
  8. Rowe, D., “Off-label prescription of quetiapine in psychiatric disorders” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 2014.
  9. Muench, J. “Adverse Effects of Antipsychotic Medications” American Family Physician, 2010.
  10. Mumenthaler et al. “Gender Differences in Moderate Drinking Effects” Alcohol Research & Health, 1999.

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