A case of dose escalation of quetiapine in persistent insomnia disorder

Acta Clin Belg. 2017 Oct;72(5):346-348. doi: 10.1080/17843286.2016.1252546. Epub 2016 Dec 14.


Quetiapine, an atypical antipsychotic drug, is recommended for the treatment of schizophrenia and mood disorders. In addition, given its sedative effects, a low dose of the agent is also widely used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, personality disorders, substance abuse, and sleep disturbances. In this case study, quetiapine was the first effective drug in reducing chronic insomnia in a male patient with a long treatment history. Because its effect declined over time, in the course of two years, a gradual dose increase led to a posology 50 times higher than the off-label dosage used to obtain sedation, i.e. 25-100 mg quetiapine administered once daily. This case raises awareness of the ease with which dose escalation of quetiapine occurs. The risk of side effects and, possibly, dependence and abuse underlines the importance of regular and careful patient monitoring. Given the unexpected effectiveness of the agent and the absence of side effects in the described case, we argue that in treatment-resistant insomnia, a high dose of quetiapine may be justifiable in selected cases but also urge that further research on the long-term effects and potential adverse events of quetiapine for this indication is of the utmost importance.

Keywords: Fatigue; Insomnia disorder; Quetiapine; Sedation; Tolerance.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quetiapine Fumarate / administration & dosage*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Quetiapine Fumarate