Quetiapine for treatment of alcohol dependence

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2004 Oct;24(5):532-5. doi: 10.1097/01.jcp.0000138763.23482.2a.


Quetiapine is an atypical antipsychotic that has sedative effects. In this retrospective study, indices of alcohol use were compared for alcohol-dependent subjects who either were (n = 30) or were not (n = 20) treated with quetiapine (25 to 200 mg nightly) for disturbed sleep. Indices examined included total days of abstinence, number of hospitalizations for detoxification, and days to first relapse over 1 year of clinic treatment. Subjects were male veterans. All subjects had a diagnosis of alcohol dependence, and 90% of subjects in each group were also diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder. Both treatment groups contained a large number of subjects treated with psychiatric medications other than quetiapine. Significant differences were not found between the groups with respect to mean age, detoxifications undergone during the previous year, frequency of comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder or depression, or antidepressant use. The mean number of days abstinent was significantly greater, and the number of hospitalizations was significantly lower for the quetiapine than for the control group during the period studied. The mean number of days to relapse approached significance for the quetiapine as compared to the control group. This study has the usual limitations of a retrospective review, including the lack of standardized assessments of alcohol use. The results of this study are consistent with the hypothesis that the use of quetiapine to improve disturbed sleep may help alcohol-dependent patients maintain abstinence, although decreased drinking may also be a result of improving posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms or of a direct action of quetiapine to reduce alcohol use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Deterrents / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Deterrents / therapeutic use*
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dibenzothiazepines / adverse effects
  • Dibenzothiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Quetiapine Fumarate
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Temperance
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Veterans / psychology*


  • Alcohol Deterrents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Dibenzothiazepines
  • Quetiapine Fumarate