Seroquel is the brand name of a prescription medication, quetiapine, which is prescribed to treat schizophrenia and similar psychotic conditions. This substance changes the levels of dopamine and serotonin available in the brain, which helps people who have chemical imbalances that lead to hallucinations, delusions, rapid mood swings, and a break from reality. These symptoms characterize serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia.
Because this medication adjusts these chemicals in the brain, people who do not struggle with mental illness may abuse this substance to get high. Dopamine and serotonin are two neurotransmitters that are important in regulating mood and the brain’s reward system. When they are artificially released by a drug, the person will feel very good, happy, relaxed, and physically energized. When the reward system is stimulated, the person will associate taking the drug with feeling really good, and this can lead to cravings and compulsive behaviors around a medication like Seroquel, which indicates an addiction.
Seroquel is a relatively new drug, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997. It is an important antipsychotic and, in rare instances, an antidepressant, but it also has some abuse potential, so it can be a dangerous medication to take. When taking Seroquel as prescribed, it is important to give the medication time to build up in the body so that it can evenly manage brain chemistry. People who abuse Seroquel will not have a regulated amount of the drug in their bodies, and they are likely to take larger and larger doses as they develop both a tolerance to it and a dependence on it.
How Long Does it Take to Eliminate Seroquel from the Body?
After taking doses over about two days, the amount of quetiapine in the body will reach a stable, predictable level. It is important not to stop taking Seroquel suddenly because the medication will metabolize out of the body within a day.
According to a report by the FDA, Seroquel has a half-life of about six hours, and it is metabolized primarily through the liver. After 12 hours, one dose of Seroquel will be almost eliminated from the body. After 1.5 days, Seroquel will be metabolized entirely out of your system.
The drug becomes bioavailable 1.5 hours after it is taken orally. Taking this medication through any other means is a form of substance abuse. Typically, less than 1 percent of the drug is excreted, meaning it is a very efficient drug when it becomes bioavailable.
When Seroquel is active in the body, it can be detected through different means at different times because the body excretes it in different ways. Blood, saliva, urine, and hair tests can all indicate when a person has taken Seroquel, especially if the drug is not taken regularly as a prescription and instead abused to get high.
Drug Tests for Seroquel
If you take Seroquel as prescribed, you can inform a potential employer, school, or addiction treatment facility that you need this medication. It may show up on a test administered in these situations, but it is not a medication that is routinely tested for. There are some situations in which Seroquel can show up as a false positive — either as methadone or as tricyclic antidepressants — so it is important to be clear about this medication if you do take it as a prescription.
This form of drug testing is rarely used because it is considered invasive, and it can take a laboratory a few days to return the drug report. However, once Seroquel is bioavailable, it can be detected in the blood, so it may show up on a drug report within two hours. Typically, a blood test is returned within one to eight days, depending on urgency of the test.
This is the most common form of drug testing for workplaces or schools, and it is considered the least invasive and the most accurate. About 73 percent of Seroquel can be recovered through urine samples; around 20 percent is recovered through fecal samples.
Urine testing for Seroquel can lead to a false positive for methadone because of how quetiapine breaks down in the body. Additionally, since Seroquel is a controlled substance available through prescription, it is less likely to be tested for directly, compared to opioid drugs or other substances of abuse. If you take Seroquel as a prescription, be sure to tell the company testing you for substances because you may receive a false positive for opiates.
This approach to testing does not show whether you have taken Seroquel recently. Instead, it will show any substances, including alcohol, marijuana, opioid painkillers, or stimulants that you have taken in the past three months. As your hair grows, the chemicals that have built up in your system will be excreted through the root system, and they can show up in strands of hair almost like rings on a tree.
If you do not have a prescription for Seroquel and take it as a form of substance abuse, finding a detox program with a rehabilitation program that understands how to manage this addiction will help you overcome cravings and compulsive behaviors around the drug.
Addiction treatment programs regularly test clients to ensure they have not relapsed and returned to substance abuse. Since Seroquel shows up as a false positive for other drugs in certain scenarios, you should work with a detox program that understands how to test for this substance specifically. You may end up taking blood tests rather than urine tests, for example.
If you are working with a detox program and want to eliminate Seroquel from your body a little faster, ask about incorporating these steps safely through your program:
- Exercise regularly to improve your metabolism and overall health.
- Eat more acidic foods, like fruits, or drink more acidic fruit juice, as acidic urine helps to eliminate drugs faster.
- Stay hydrated, which improves overall health.
- Take vitamin supplements that include CYP3A4 enzymes, which improve liver function and eliminate drugs faster.
- Make sure you have stopped any Seroquel ingestion, as long as a doctor is not in the process of tapering this medication.
- Follow your detox program’s instructions to stay safe and healthy.