Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Quetiapine is an atypical antipsychotic that can stabilise mood from any index episode of bipolar disorder. This study investigated the effects of seven-day quetiapine administration on sleep, circadian rhythms and emotional processing in healthy volunteers. METHODS: Twenty healthy volunteers received 150 mg quetiapine XL for seven nights and 20 matched controls received placebo. Sleep-wake actigraphy was completed for one week both pre-dose and during drug treatment. On Day 8, participants completed emotional processing tasks. RESULTS: Actigraphy revealed that quetiapine treatment increased sleep duration and efficiency, delayed final wake time and had a tendency to reduce within-day variability. There were no effects of quetiapine on subjective ratings of mood or energy. Quetiapine-treated participants showed diminished bias towards positive words and away from negative words during recognition memory. Quetiapine did not significantly affect facial expression recognition, emotional word categorisation, emotion-potentiated startle or emotional word/faces dot-probe vigilance reaction times. CONCLUSIONS: These changes in sleep timing and circadian rhythmicity in healthy volunteers may be relevant to quetiapine's therapeutic actions. Effects on emotional processing did not emulate the effects of antidepressants. The effects of quetiapine on sleep and circadian rhythms in patients with bipolar disorder merit further investigation to elucidate its mechanisms of action.

Original publication




Journal article


J Psychopharmacol

Publication Date





273 - 282


Quetiapine, bipolar disorder, circadian rhythm, emotion processing, sleep, Adolescent, Adult, Affect, Antidepressive Agents, Antipsychotic Agents, Bipolar Disorder, Circadian Rhythm, Emotions, Facial Expression, Female, Healthy Volunteers, Humans, Male, Memory, Quetiapine Fumarate, Reaction Time, Sleep, Sleep Wake Disorders, Young Adult