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An Unusual But Effective Medication
Citation:   Medicine Man. "An Unusual But Effective Medication: An Experience with Quetiapine (exp62340)". Jul 13, 2007.

100 mg oral Pharms - Quetiapine (daily)
I've been taking Quetiapine (Seroquel) for insomnia for the last couple months. I am one of the unfortunate group of people who are recovering from substance abuse and addiction, but also have a sleep disorder. Those two conditions create a problem: the most effective class of sleep aids are the benzodiazepines, however these drugs also have a high abuse potential. I went months without getting a decent night's sleep after I recovered from my substance abuse problems. I'm a medical student, so I really dug into the literature and looked for some class of drug that would help me get to sleep, but not end up in another dangerous addiction that I couldn't afford.

I eventually worked with my doctor to set up a Seroquel regimen. I have to say, for the first couple weeks, especially as my physician was titrating my dose up to a relatively high level, Seroquel really knocked me out. Later I adjusted, but initially it really packed a punch. I was very pleased with this pharmacotherapeutic approach because, for the first few weeks, when I would take the Seroquel it would slow me down so much that it was IMPOSSIBLE to stay awake. I would even fall asleep in weird places, my closet, my shower, etc. While that was not the most desirable situation, once I learned how to get ready for it to kick in, it was really refreshing to actually get some sleep.

I'm putting that out there, because I hope it could help any of you out there who have problems with both addiction and sleep. Sleep disorders are undertreated in recovering addicts, but it does not have to be that way, because there are safe alternatives out there. You just have to make your doctor look for them.

As for the effects of Quetiapine:

Dosing and Onset:
-Through my experience over the last couple of months, I have pinned down the onset of action to almost exactly 1.5 hours post ingestion of the drug. I felt some effects after about an hour, but things were not intense till 1.5 hours. This should apply to most people, because the research on the drug backs up my observation, with the measured peak concentration in your blood occurs at 1.5 hours post ingestion.

-Confusingly, if you take Quetiapine with food, you will actually absorb more of the drug overall, as well as have a higher peak concentration in your body. But, subjectively, I feel like taking it with food blunts the effects.

Notable Subjective Effects:
-I got pretty drowsy (effect diminishes to a marginally lower plateau over about a month of taking the drug nightly)
-This drug blocks some receptors in your brain that control your blood pressure, so there is a pretty good chance that you will get dizzy when you stand up after sitting for a while. This happens to me a lot. One time I actually fainted, cracked my head in the bathroom, and ended up in the ER getting stitches. Word to the wise: get up sloooooooowly
-I have noticed a really weird side effect: when the Quetiapine kicks in I have a very hard time swallowing. Physiologically, this is because Quetiapine blocks a wide variety of receptors in your brain and, thus, can slow down reflex based processes like swallowing when you push your chewed up food to the back of your mouth. It is very, very, very strange. I push food to the back of my mouth, fully expecting my body to kind of automatically swallow it. But that just doesn't happen. I sit and gag and try to swallow it and, eventually, sometimes minutes later, I get the food swallowed. Sometimes it takes a drink to get it down before I choke. So again beware: even at normal prescribed doses, THERE IS A MUCH HIGHER CHANCE OF YOU CHOKING while on this drug, which could make for a bad combination with other drugs or alcohol.

-Finally, when I take the Quetiapine my face gets a little flushed and my eyes get bloodshot and dry. This is not as noticeable as with, letís say, smoking pot... But I don't look totally normal after taking the drug.

SERIOUS WARNING: Safe prescribed doses up to 400mg are not unusual. But for recreational users, be aware that doctors slowly increase their patientsí doses to this level, so taking a dose that high on one random instance could be pretty dangerous. That is specifically because this medication has been associated with changing your heart rhythm in such a way that it mimics a rare condition that you often hear about in the context of athletes dropping dead in the middle of a football field or basketball court, etc.

Summary: Good solution for recovering addicts with sleep problems. Can't comment on its action for people with major mental disorders. As for recreational use, I don't really see it as something I would have had that much fun with had I taken it back in my drug days. It does not produce euphoria or anything, just drowsiness and some freaky side effects. Just beware, if you take it for shits, chances are you'll fall asleep, but if you take too much you could die of a heart attack... Probably not worth it.

Exp Year: 2007ExpID: 62340
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: Not Given
Published: Jul 13, 2007Views: 46,348
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Pharms - Quetiapine (273) : General (1), Retrospective / Summary (11), Medical Use (47), Various (28)

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