Quetiapine withdrawal: A systematic review

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2021 Aug;55(8):772-783. doi: 10.1177/0004867420965693. Epub 2020 Oct 16.


Objective: Withdrawal from psychoactive medication such as quetiapine is a well-documented phenomenon. Despite the extensive use of quetiapine, there have been few studies into the presence of discontinuation symptoms. We therefore performed a systematic review of published literature for evidence of quetiapine withdrawal or symptoms associated with discontinuation.

Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, Medline, Web of Science, PsycINFO for articles containing the terms 'Quetiapine' AND 'withdraw$' OR 'discontinue$'. We included all study types that reported on somatic withdrawal symptoms and had no language restrictions. We excluded studies where there was withdrawal from multiple medications or any other psychoactive substance, or where the only symptoms were psychological such as rebound psychosis or craving.

Results: We included 13 papers, all of which were individual case reports. The quality of the individual case reports was sub-optimal, as assessed by the CARE Case Report Guidelines. There was an association between rapid cessation of quetiapine and onset of somatic symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, agitation, restlessness, diaphoresis, irritability, anxiety, dysphoria, sleep disturbance, insomnia, tachycardia, hypertension and dizziness. Three studies also reported the onset of a withdrawal dyskinesia characterised by abnormal choreiform movements as well as confusion and speech disturbance in some cases. However, these findings were limited by the number and quality of case reports identified.

Conclusion: Discontinuation symptoms are an uncommon side effect of quetiapine cessation, which may have clinical implications. Clinicians should therefore be alert to the possibility of quetiapine withdrawal in individuals who present with somatic symptoms or choreiform movements. However, large prospective studies are required to clarify this association.

Keywords: Quetiapine; discontinuation; discontinuation symptoms; withdrawal.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Humans
  • Psychomotor Agitation
  • Psychotic Disorders*
  • Quetiapine Fumarate / adverse effects
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome* / etiology


  • Quetiapine Fumarate