I used to take Seroquel XR a short time ago and then came off of it for various reasons. With the major stress of some life events, and communication with my psychiatrist, I am going back on it. I had forgotten what it was like when I first started and what it was like to be on it, so I started to look back at some of my old posts and at some posts of others describing their experiences on Seroquel XR. Please keep in mind that this is just individual experiences, and not everyone will experience these, at the same level, or you may experience something completely different. I just suggest you keep communication open with your doctor.
Let’s start at the beginning. Last night was my first dose back on it after having been off of it for quite some time. It hit me hard.
You are going to want to sleep a lot!
If you haven’t taken, or are planning to take start back on Seroquel XR, plan to sleep a lot.
I’m still able to work and drive, but I rely heavily on coffee, 5-hour energy, and various other sources of energy. I stagger groggily around, sleep more, barely function, eat, and then take meds and go back to sleep. Really.
I do remember that it starts improving somewhat after the 5th day, but slowly. If you decide to take Seroquel XR, I recommend if you can, that you…
- Take a lot of rest,
- Tell people that you will need to rest,
- Hand over all the tasks that you do not HAVE to do.
- Don’t expect to be able to drive. If you must, be sure that it’s in your times that you are most awake and alert.
I am not kidding. This is not a joke. The first time around, I remember falling asleep at my desk without warning and without anything being able to stop it. You’ll be that groggy. I don’t mean to scare you, but it’s that powerful of a drug.
Start with a low first dose and increase it slowly
This is especially true if it’s your first time on the drug. Your psychiatrist will know how to best hand this, but talk about starting with 100 mg Seroquel XR per day and slowly increasing in 50 mg steps every 2 days until you reach the desired dose. That way you have some time to get used to the Seroquel XR.
Seroquel increases decision-making capabilities
When I take Seroquel XR, it allows me to make decisions and make things happen. Seroquel XR doesn’t feel like an antidepressant, it feels like my productivity and focusing aide.
Seroquel XR also noticeably makes me less fearful of people – so I’m more likely to handle situations with crowds, one-on-one situations, and other times that introverts like myself have anxiety over.
…but still makes me groggy
Even after becoming adjusted to the Seroquel XR, I still felt groggy. I felt like falling asleep every time I sat down, though it didn’t interfere with the stuff I wanted to get done. I eventually was able to sit down and work without falling asleep at the desk. Today is my first day back on it and I’m not falling asleep. Hopefully because my body had the drug in it before I won’t be hit as hard this second time around.
and causes food cravings
One of the odd side effects of Seroquel is that I have to have food or sugar every one and a half to two hours – if I don’t get the sugar or food, I get irritable, light headed, and groggy enough to pass out.
This is bad for several reasons. I constantly feel the need to feed and to drink. I have coffee, diet soda, tea, and water at my side all the time. As someone who struggles with weight, the food issue is a major concern. I try so hard not to constantly eat, but with these cravings, and the feelings that come along with it, I tend to just try to snack healthy. Low calories and healthy snacks take the place of candy and junk food.
and chapped lips, dry mouth, and dry skin
The other noticeable side effect has been if I don’t drink enough fluids, I get chapped lips and dry hands. Given that I drink so much, you’d think this wouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. I still recommend that you keep moisturizing cream and a tube of lip balm close by because the chapped lips can be painful. I also keep gum handy.
I can’t exercise in the morning
It turns out that I also can’t exercise in the mornings. The grogginess that bothers me in the mornings affects my coordination and can leave me staggering about like a drunk. It’s not a state conducive to exercise. The grogginess effect wears off during the day, so the best time to exercise is the 3-4 hours before I take my medications. This isn’t that great because I often have evenings that I absolutely can’t make it to the gym. As I mentioned earlier, the medications can push weight gain, and I’m naturally an easy gainer, so hitting the gym daily is a must. Some mornings, I just have to go to the gym in that haze and try to push through. Those are the mornings that I just make it to the treadmill or elliptical and barely do the minimum.
Seroquel XR is very helpful for me. The pros outweigh the cons, but the first few weeks of transition just are a bear to get through. Last night was my first done back on it, so I’ll try to remember to update you as I go through this first couple of weeks to let you know if there are any differences from the first time I was on it. As I go, I’ll also talk a bit about the other medications I’m on.