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Abilify vs Seroquel for Bipolar Disorder & Schizophrenia

Abilify vs Seroquel for bipolar disorder are two FDA-approved medications categorized as atypical antipsychotics. When considering these treatments, understanding which one is more effective becomes paramount. These medications are commonly prescribed for mental health disorders such as major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Out of these, Schizophrenia ranks among the top causes of disability globally.

Nearly 8% of the U.S. population has experienced at least one major depressive disorder. This podcast talks about psychiatry and treating depression and other disorders. Dr. Rou traces his path to psychiatry, which he encountered in childhood with addiction. They address hurdles in recovery, urging for adaptable treatment methods and medicines. 

Treating these mental health disorders differs for each person and usually includes using different treatments together, such as medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Antipsychotic drugs like Abilify and Seroquel are important for controlling symptoms and enhancing how well individuals can live and function.

In this article, we’ll explain the differences between Abilify and Seroquel, as well as their mechanism of action, drug interaction, dosage, and side effects. 

Understanding Abilify & Seroquel 

Abilify and Seroquel are both atypical antipsychotic medications used to treat mental health disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. They affect certain chemicals in the brain that control mood, behavior, and thinking. 

Abilify contains aripiprazole, while Seroquel contains quetiapine. These drugs operate differently, affecting how well they work and their possible side effects.

What is Abilify?

Abilify, also known as aripiprazole, is a psychotropic medication classified as an antipsychotic. It changes brain chemical activity and is prescribed to manage conditions such as schizophrenia, mania, depression, bipolar disorders, autistic disorder, and certain behavioral disorders. While generic Abilify isn’t sold in the U.S., it is available under the name aripiprazole in other countries.

Common Side Effects of Abilify

It is beneficial to learn about the side effects of any medication before consuming it. Here are some common side effects of Abilify:


  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach upset
  • Tiredness
  • Excess saliva or drooling
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Weight gain
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Constipation

What is Seroquel? 

Seroquel is classified as an atypical antipsychotic used to treat conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It works by impacting certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Understanding how Seroquel functions is important when comparing it to other medications like Abilify.

Common Side Effects of Seroquel

When it comes to common side effects of Seroquel, these are the ones that top the list:

  • Mood or behavior changes
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Breast swelling or discharge
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain

It’s advisable to discuss them with your healthcare provider if you experience these side effects.

What are the main differences between Abilify vs Seroquel

While both Abilify (aripiprazole) and Seroquel (quetiapine) are atypical antipsychotics, they differ in terms of mechanism, dosage, and drug interaction. Abilify balances serotonin and dopamine receptors to manage symptoms is available in tablet injections, and has a unique sensor to monitor medication use and mood. 

Whereas Seroquel blocks serotonin and dopamine pathways with immediate-release and extended-release tablets, which are effective for major mental health conditions. Let’s understand the difference between Abilify vs Seroquel in detail:

Mechanism of action: Abilify vs Seroquel

Abilify partially activates dopamine D2 receptors to regulate brain dopamine levels. Seroquel, in contrast, blocks serotonin and dopamine receptors. These medications target symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder through different pathways in the brain, affecting neurotransmitter activity and treatment effectiveness depending on the condition.

Dosage information: Abilify vs Seroquel

Doctors prescribe Abilify in various forms, such as standard oral tablets, dissolving tablets, liquids, and injections like Abilify Maintena. This variety of options may be more convenient for some people. 

Seroquel is available in oral tablet form, including immediate-release and extended-release tablets. The dosage depends on the specific condition and is adjusted gradually to reduce side effects.

Drugs interaction: Abilify vs Seroquel

Abilify (aripiprazole) is a psychotropic medication that alters brain chemical activity. It can interact with drugs like rifabutin, rifampin, and quinidine. Other medications that affect both CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 enzymes can impact Abilify. 

While Seroquel is impacted more specifically by medications that affect CYP3A4, Seroquel (quetiapine) interacts with medications that induce sleepiness, heart and blood pressure drugs, antibiotics, antidepressants, antifungal medications, HIV/AIDS medicines, migraine headache treatments, seizure medications, medications for Parkinson’s disease, steroids, anti-malaria drugs, heart rhythm medications, and other psychiatric drugs.

Abilify vs Seroquel: Which is effective?

Abilify and Seroquel are both prescribed for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Still, Abilify is also used for major depressive disorder and autism spectrum disorders, while Seroquel specifically targets psychotic symptoms, mania, and insomnia related to bipolar disorder. Both medications effectively manage symptoms like psychosis, mania, and depression.

In a meta-comparison of 15 antipsychotic medications for treating schizophrenia, Abilify and Seroquel were both found to be effective compared to other medicines. However, Seroquel showed greater symptom improvement but comes with a higher risk of weight gain compared to other drugs. 

In a separate study directly comparing Seroquel and Abilify for schizophrenia treatment, both medications were equally effective. When used as additional treatments for depression, Abilify, Seroquel, risperidone, and olanzapine all improved treatment response and remission rates and resulted in fewer psychiatric hospital stays. 

It’s important to consult your psychiatrist to know the best treatment approach for your condition.

Coverage and cost comparison of Abilify vs Seroquel

Abilify is typically covered by most commercial and Medicare insurance plans. The out-of-pocket cost for a one-month supply can reach up to $1070.

Seroquel is also covered by nearly all commercial and Medicare insurance plans. Without insurance, the cost for a one-month supply is over $250.

FAQs: Abilify vs Seroquel

Que: Are Abilify and Seroquel the same?

Ans: No, Abilify (aripiprazole) and Seroquel (quetiapine) are different medications with distinct properties and uses, although both are antipsychotics.

Que: Are there any alternatives to both medications?

Ans: Yes, there are alternative antipsychotic medications available besides Abilify and Seroquel, such as risperidone, olanzapine, and others. Your doctor can discuss the best options for your condition.

Que: Can I consume alcohol while taking Abilify or Seroquel?

Ans: It’s generally advised to avoid alcohol while taking Abilify or Seroquel due to potential interactions that may increase side effects like dizziness and drowsiness.

Que: Can I switch from Abilify to Seroquel?

Ans: Switching from Abilify to Seroquel (or vice versa) should be done under the guidance of a healthcare provider to manage the transition safely and adjust medication dosages as needed.

Que: Is it safe to take Seroquel and Abilify together?

Ans: Taking Abilify alongside quetiapine (Seroquel, Seroquel XR) could increase the risk of side effects associated with Abilify.


Abilify vs Seroquel are both FDA-approved medicines with unique mechanisms of action, side effects, and efficacy profiles. However, the difference lies in which medicine suits the patient’s condition.

Abilify (aripiprazole) acts as a partial agonist at dopamine and serotonin receptors, whereas Seroquel (quetiapine) exerts antagonist effects on these receptors. Both medications share similar indications for use, but Abilify also treats irritability associated with autistic disorder.

Consulting with your healthcare provider to discuss your specific condition, medical history, and individual needs will help determine which option may be better suited for you.

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