Q. What are the side effects of crushing and taking Seroquel XR tablets?

Answered by
Dr. Bharat Udey
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 10, 2018 and last reviewed on: Aug 19, 2019

Hello doctor,

I have been on 200 mg Quetiapine IR for some time. Finding it after years of medication tweaking to truly keep my bipolar II symptoms in check, with no significant side effects. I ran out while traveling abroad. Though I have no means of obtaining a new prescription, I do have plenty of Seroquel XR (in 50, 150, and 200 mg dosages) with me. For two nights, I have tried taking a 200 mg XR pill in the evening. Unfortunately, I have gotten little to no sleep and am very concerned about sleep cycle disruptions, as they have always led to more severe symptoms in the past. Moreover, I feel the sedative effects throughout the following day, an impairment I simply cannot afford to deal with right now, as well as a more persistent general sense of anxiety and agitation.

If I were to simply crush these pills into a powder, would I be able to take them as though they were immediate-release of the same dose? Or would doing so alter the medication's properties? I am aware of the medication guide's instruction against chewing or cutting the sustained-release pills in any way, but I wish to know what the actual effects of doing so would be. Any suggestions on minimizing related risks, like food or water consumption tips, titration from a lower dose, etc.? Thanks.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

Let me enlighten you with the concept of IR and XR medication.

IR medications mean immediate release; once you take the drug, its effects come in minutes and lasts few hours only. Most of the drugs are in IR form until we need them for some specific purpose. IR medications have a shorter half-life and need to be taken in multiple dosages in a day.

XR medications mean extended release; once taken, the drug will be released slowly over a period so that a plateau state for serum drug level can be achieved for a longer period. XR medications have a gastro-resistant coating over it, which prevents them to get dissolved in gastric juices immediately, hence resulting in delayed release of the drug. XR medications have a longer half-life and can be taken once a day.

However, breaking an XR drug into powder state will result in erratic release and erratic blood level. Hence, variable effects along with more side-effects. I can understand your problem, sleep disturbance is considered to be the utmost important early warning sign in bipolar disorders, and it needs to be treated as early as possible.

In your case, you can opt a short acting benzodiazepine for sleep induction, as you have difficulty to fall asleep. Once sleep is induced, it can be maintained by Seroquel XR (Quetiapine) as well. Zolpidem 5 mg is a good medication for sleep induction. Besides this, you can try Nitrazepam 10 mg for the same purpose.

Though Zolpidem has the least dependence potential, and it is the preferred choice. Besides this, follow sleep hygiene measures, they will be helpful over a long run and will help in maintaining healthy sleep-wake cycle without medications.

Thank you.

For more information consult a psychiatrist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/psychiatrist

Hi doctor,

Thank you for replying. I am interested in specifics. How erratic would this absorption be? I am aware of alternatives, and I am asking because this appears to be my only option, as I have exhausted those you suggested before posting here. I have plenty of Diazepam on hand, which I take very rarely for both sleep regulation and anxiety, but it has not been effective.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • How erratic would it be? It cannot be quantified, but yes, its efficacy will decrease. In your case, it is given as a mood stabilizer so that it will lose its effect as a mood stabilizer.
  • Moreover, it can cause excess sedation, which can further add to sleep disruption, because it does not induce sleep, but rather maintain it. You can ask for a prescription for sleep medications, which is far better than taking the above medication in powder form.
  • Clonazepam 0.5 mg can also be taken. It is effective for both sleep disturbances as well as an anxiolytic medication. Thank you.

For more information consult a psychiatrist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/psychiatrist

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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the use of Seroquel XR Tablet?

It is an antipsychotic drug used to control or manage neurotransmitters in the brain. The clinical conditions where it is prescribed are schizophrenia, depression, maniac episodes, bipolar disorder, etc. It helps to control mood, appetite, and sleep.


Seroquel XR for Sleep

Though it is not clinically proven that it is surely helpful for sleep but studies have shown that it can improve the sleep to some extent.


What happens if take too much Seroquel XR?

  • Reversible movement disorder characterized by tremors and uncontrolled body movements.
  • Heart issues like increased heartbeat or low blood pressure.
  • Restlessness
  • Drowsiness


Seroquel XR dosages

This drug is available in various doses like 50 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, 300 mg, and 400 mg. It is advisable to take it 3 to 4 hours before bedtime and should be taken as a whole tablet and not crushed or broken.


Seroquel XR vs Seroquel

The dosage of Seroquel is lower dose and contains Quetiapine. The same drug with the added benefit of extended-release is Seroquel XR which has a higher dosage range and has been proven to be more adaptable and effective than just Seroquel.


Does Seroquel XR comes in 300 mg?

Yes, it is available in 300 mg with pale yellow color.


Can antipsychotics make psychosis worse?

Usually, you can feel some symptoms during withdrawal of the drugs but that gets normal with time. There is no proven evidence of antipsychotics making the psychosis worse.


Can Seroquel increase anxiety?

Not usually. But clinically, it is seen the side effects of the drug may be more evident during the first week of its consumption which gets back to normal after that. The other reason can be the dose of this drug which might require to be altered by your specialist or may be change the drug itself.


What are the drug interactions for Seroquel XR ?

There are more than 200 drugs known to have interactions with Seroquel like Fluoxetine, Citalopram, Aplrazolam, Vitamin D3, antifungals, steroids, etc and hence, take this drug based on doctor’s prescription and mention your drug history to the doctor in detail.


What are the side effects of Seroquel?

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Weight gain
  • Change in moods or behavior
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling or discharge from breast
  • Appetite may be increased
  • Movement issues
  • Dry mouth
  • Missed periods
  • Elderly patients suffering from dementia have risk of death

Consult your doctor in case you have any of the above for prolonged time or very severely.

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