Seroquel (quetiapine) is a prescription medication commonly prescribed to treat psychotic symptoms related to schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It is also sometimes used off label to help with depression or insomnia. This drug can adversely interact with several other medications, illicit substances, and alcohol.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions that people using Seroquel should not drink. Alcohol use can undermine the effectiveness of Seroquel and consuming alcohol while using this medication could exacerbate its potential side effects.
While it is recommended that people using Seroquel should abstain from alcohol, the effects of using these two in conjunction are usually relatively minor. That said, their combined impact on the brain and body tends to be compounded, meaning that it will take less of each substance to induce its primary action, including sedation, impair motor skills, and cognitive impairment.
Although there has been some research that suggests that Seroquel and alcohol may be used together safely under certain circumstances, there is still some significant risk associated with this. Moreover, it is advised that individuals should not use both substances within the same timeframe without consulting a doctor. Also, excessive alcohol or quetiapine abuse increases the risk of adverse health consequences.
Seroquel and Alcohol Side Effects
When Seroquel and alcohol are used in combination, side effects associated with either substance may be exacerbated. These may include the following:
- Mood changes
- Head and body aches
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
- Weight gain
- Reduced liver function
- Impaired concentration
- Unusual dreams
In severe cases, the resulting amplified side effects could be dangerous or even lethal. Using alcohol and Seroquel together may severely impair judgment and lead to increased risks while driving, or any other activity that requires concentration and sharp motor skills. Excessive alcohol use can also make ordinary tasks like walking challenging, and the added presence of Seroquel in a person’s system could make this problem worse.
Dangers of Alcohol
While alcohol is legal to buy and consume in the U.S. for people aged 21 or older, it is nonetheless a powerful substance that can interfere with how medications work in the body. According to NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism), as of 2015, more than 86% of individuals aged 18 and older in the U.S. reported drinking alcohol at least once during their lifetimes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states there is no such thing as safe drinking. Any level of alcohol use increases a person’s risk of brain chemistry changes, falls, injuries, memory loss, and organ damage. Alcohol consumption also increases the risk of psychotic symptoms and, therefore, may interact adversely with Seroquel and undermine its effectiveness. Also, if you drink alcohol while taking Seroquel, there are overlapping side effects that can worsen rapidly, including the following:
- Impaired coordination
- Impaired memory
- Slurred speech
- Nausea and vomiting
- Physical weakness
- Stomach problems
Another common side effect of Seroquel is significant weight gain, and drinking alcohol high in calories can further increase this risk. Gaining excessive weight raises the risk of several health-related disorders, including diseases of the heart, liver, and kidneys, hypertension, stroke, and cancer. Alcoholism has also been associated with a heightened risk of developing these conditions.
It is also harder for the body to regulate temperature and cool down while under the influence of Seroquel. This effect can lead to heat exhaustion and hyperthermia in certain situations, such as during intense exercise, at crowded parties, or in hot, humid environments. Drinking alcohol can also raise body temperature, and for this reason, combining it with Seroquel may place a person at an even higher risk of overheating and hyperthermia.
Symptoms of hyperthermia include the following:
- Strong, rapid pulse
- Inability to sweat
- Flushed or red skin
- Dry skin
- Staggering and falling
- Mood swings
A person who is suffering from hyperthermia needs immediate medical attention, or they may die. If you suspect you or someone you know is at risk, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency medical center as soon as possible.
Treatment for Alcoholism
If you struggle with alcohol abuse and are prescribed Seroquel, you should seek professional help to overcome alcoholism. In doing so, we urge you to contact a rehab center such as Just Believe Detox or Just Believe Recovery that uses a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to addiction treatment. Also, persons who experience psychotic symptoms or other mental health issues will need to have all conditions treated concurrently.
Are you ready to break free from alcoholism or drug addiction and reclaim the healthy and fulfilling life you deserve? If so, we encourage you to contact us today and find out how we can help!