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Evaluation of Quetiapine Abuse and Misuse Reported to Poison Centers

Klein-Schwartz, Wendy PharmD, MPH; Schwartz, Elana K. MA; Anderson, Bruce D. PharmD, DABAT

doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000020
Original Research

Objective: There are case reports of abuse of quetiapine, but no studies address quetiapine abuse or misuse. Most literature on the population that abuses quetiapine describes an older age group with previous substance abuse history, many of whom are in jail. The objective of this study was to evaluate national poison center data on misuse/abuse of quetiapine.

Methods: A retrospective study of American Association of Poison Control Centers National Poison Data System data from 2005 to 2011 on single substance quetiapine exposures coded as intentional misuse or abuse and followed to known outcome was performed. Data were evaluated for age, toxicity, management sites, treatments, and medical outcomes.

Results: There were 3116 cases meeting inclusion criteria; reason was misuse in 1948 cases and abuse in 1168 cases. The median age was 23 years. Misuse was reported most often in adults, whereas abuse occurred most frequently in adolescents. The male-to-female ratio was 1.7 for abuse and 1.0 for misuse. There were no deaths. Moderate or major toxicity occurred in 23.7% and 27.1% of misuse and abuse cases, respectively. Seventy-six percent were treated in the emergency department and/or received medical admission.

Conclusions: Misuse was more common than abuse, except in adolescents for whom abuse was more frequent. Although outcomes were generally good, significant toxicity occurred in 25% of cases and more than 75% of the patients were treated in the emergency department and/or received medical admission. The consequences of nonmedical use of quetiapine are serious in some patients.

From the Maryland Poison Center, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Wendy Klein-Schwartz, 220 Arch Street, Room 01-108, Baltimore, MD 21201. E-mail:

This research was presented in part at the European Association of Poison Control Centres and Toxicology meeting, Copenhagen, May 29 to 31, 2013.

The 3 authors have no conflicts of interest or funding disclosures.

Received September 30, 2013

Accepted December 19, 2013

© 2014 American Society of Addiction Medicine