Invega vs Seroquel

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For individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, or other types of psychosis, certain medications that adjust the balance of chemicals in the brain associated with mental health and mood stability can be critical to managing symptoms. Invega and Seroquel are two such drugs commonly prescribed for these conditions. Both influence different neurotransmitters in the brain but serve a similar purpose: stabilizing mood swings and reducing psychotic symptoms.

Invega (paliperidone) is an atypical antipsychotic drug that primarily works by blocking dopamine D2 receptors as well as serotonin 5-HT2A receptors in the brain. On the other hand, Seroquel (quetiapine) falls under a similar class but also affects norepinephrine, histamine H1, adrenergic alpha-1 & alpha-2 receptors along with serotonin and dopamine.

What is Invega?

Paliperidone (the generic name for Invega) is an atypical antipsychotic that was developed as a major advancement over the first class of antipsychotics known as typical antipsychotics. Paliperidone was first approved by the FDA in 2006. Invega works by modifying the levels of certain chemicals in the brain to manage symptoms of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. It has a selective influence on dopamine and serotonin, which results in it having fewer side effects than other antipsychotics that have stronger effects on these two neurotransmitters.

Quetiapine (the generic name for Seroquel), another atypical antipsychotic, also helps regulate chemical balances within your brain affecting both dopamine and serotonin receptors but may have more pronounced sedative properties due to its impact on histamine receptors. Both are prescribed for conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, but individual patient characteristics will guide which drug might be preferable.

What conditions is Invega approved to treat?

Invega is approved for the treatment of several psychiatric disorders:

  • Schizophrenia, a severe mental disorder causing disruption in thoughts and behaviors
  • Schizoaffective Disorder, a chronic mental health condition characterized by symptoms of schizophrenia, like hallucinations or delusions, and mood disorder symptoms, such as depression or mania

How does Invega help with these illnesses?

Invega helps to manage symptoms of disorders such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder by reducing the amount of dopamine available in the synapses of the brain. It does this by blocking dopamine receptors, so levels can be maintained at a more balanced state for longer periods. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that acts as a messenger in the brain and throughout the body, that plays an important role in reward, motivation, memory, attention and even regulating body movements. In conditions like schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder there may be an overactivity of dopamine pathways. Therefore, by decreasing dopamine activity through receptor blockade, Invega can limit the negative effects such as hallucinations or delusions and help patients manage their condition and stabilize their mood.

What is Seroquel?

Seroquel, also known as quetiapine, is an atypical antipsychotic that works by altering the actions of certain chemicals in the brain. It does this by blocking a variety of receptors in the brain including serotonin and dopamine receptors. Quetiapine was first approved by the FDA in 1997. As it's not a typical antipsychotic, its effects aren't solely focused on dopamine pathways but extend to other neurotransmitters as well. This unique action means that Seroquel's side effect profile is different from those of typical antipsychotics - it doesn't commonly cause extrapyramidal symptoms (movement disorders), which are common with drugs like haloperidol or chlorpromazine. Instead, more common side effects include weight gain and drowsiness. The broader impact on various neurotransmitters can make Seroquel beneficial for treating conditions beyond psychosis such as bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder, especially for patients who haven't responded well to "typical" treatment options similar to Invega.

What conditions is Seroquel approved to treat?

Seroquel, also known as quetiapine, is an atypical antipsychotic medication that has received FDA approval for the treatment of several conditions such as:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depressive disorder (as an add-on therapy) It's crucial to understand that its use should be under a healthcare professional's supervision due to potential side effects and interactions.

How does Seroquel help with these illnesses?

Seroquel, like Invega, is an atypical antipsychotic medication that plays a crucial role in managing symptoms of psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It works primarily by influencing two neurotransmitters in the brain: dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters play key roles in mood regulation, behavior, cognition, and our perception of reality. Seroquel's unique action on these receptors can help alleviate psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions while also helping to stabilize mood swings associated with bipolar disorder. Unlike traditional antipsychotics which only act on dopamine pathways, Seroquel has a broader spectrum of action which may make it more effective for some patients than first-generation drugs or even other atypical antipsychotics like Invega. Its effectiveness against both manic and depressive episodes makes it particularly useful in treating bipolar disorder where both extremes can be present.

How effective are both Invega and Seroquel?

Both paliperidone (Invega) and quetiapine (Seroquel) have proven efficacy in treating patients with schizophrenia, and they were initially approved by the FDA within a few years of each other. Both act on multiple neurotransmitter systems, but their exact mechanisms differ somewhat which may lead to them being prescribed under different circumstances. The effectiveness of paliperidone and quetiapine was directly compared in several studies; both drugs exhibited comparable efficacy for reducing symptoms of schizophrenia as well as similar safety profiles.

A 2009 meta-analysis reported that paliperidone is effective in alleviating symptoms of schizophrenia starting from the first week of treatment, with an optimal dose thought to be around 6-12 mg/day depending on individual patient characteristics. Paliperidone's side effect profile generally compares favorably to many other antipsychotics and it is often well-tolerated even in elderly populations. As an extended-release formulation, Invega allows for once-daily dosing which can enhance medication compliance.

Quetiapine has also been shown to be effective at managing symptoms of schizophrenia according to a 2010 review article; it seems similar in efficacy to most common antipsychotics including paliperidone. Quetiapine tends towards sedative effects due its potent histamine receptor antagonism, making it potentially beneficial for individuals struggling with insomnia or agitation but less ideal where drowsiness would be problematic. It should also be noted that while both medications are generally considered second-line options after first-generation antipsychotics due their more favorable side-effect profiles overall, neither drug should likely be chosen as a front-line option solely based on fear of side-effects without considering individual patient needs and symptomatology.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Invega typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Invega range from 3–12 mg/day, but studies have suggested that 6 mg/day is effective for treating schizophrenia in most adults. Adolescents aged 12-17 may be started on a lower dosage of 3 mg/day. For both populations, the dosage can be increased after a week if there is no response or as tolerated by the patient. The maximum daily dose should not exceed 12 mg for adults and adolescents.

In contrast, Seroquel oral doses range from 150-800mg per day when used to treat schizophrenia in adults. Initial starting doses are usually around the lower end at about 25mg twice daily, with increases made gradually as needed and tolerated by patients.

At what dose is Seroquel typically prescribed?

Seroquel treatment is generally initiated at a dosage of 25-50 mg/day. The dose can then be escalated to 300 mg/day, divided into two doses and taken 12 hours apart. For some conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar mania, the maximum dose could reach up to 800 mg/day which may be administered in two to three separate dosages throughout the day depending on patient's response and tolerance. It's important that any increase in dosage should occur only after clinical assessments, typically over intervals of not less than one week. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions when adjusting medication dosages.

What are the most common side effects for Invega?

Common side effects of Invega and Seroquel can include:

  • Sleepiness/drowsiness
  • Insomnia or other sleep disturbances
  • Increased anxiety or agitation
  • Tremors (unintentional trembling or shaking)
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Weight gain and changes in appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, constipation
  • Restlessness or a feeling of needing to move around (akathisia)
  • Decreased sexual desire or performance issues
  • Rash Excessive sweating especially at night.

Please note that everyone reacts differently to medications and the severity of side effects can vary greatly from person to person. If you experience any severe side effects, it's crucial that you contact your healthcare provider immediately for guidance.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Invega?

Invega, like any other medication, can cause side effects. Although less common and typically seen in a small percentage of people, serious side effects include:

  • Thoughts about suicide or self-harm
  • Signs of an allergic reaction which may include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling in your face or throat
  • Vision changes such as blurred vision or tunnel vision; eye pain or seeing halos around lights
  • Rapid heartbeat or fluttering sensations in the chest area; shortness of breath and sudden dizziness (feeling faint)
  • Symptoms indicating low sodium levels - severe headache, confusion, slurred speech accompanied by profound weakness, vomiting episodes leading to loss of coordination and unsteadiness
  • Severe reactions involving the nervous system that may manifest as rigid muscles with high fever and sweating alongside confusion. Fast heartbeats coupled with tremors might give you a feeling similar to fainting.

If you experience symptoms suggesting serotonin syndrome such as agitation, hallucinations coupled with feverish conditions including excessive sweating/shivering; fast heart rate alongside muscle stiffness/twitching followed by loss of coordination then it is advisable to seek immediate medical attention.

What are the most common side effects for Seroquel?

Seroquel, compared to Invega, may cause an array of side effects including:

  • Dry mouth and stuffy nose
  • Indigestion or upset stomach
  • Increased appetite leading to weight gain rather than loss
  • Sleep problems such as drowsiness during the day and insomnia at night
  • Blurred vision or unusual eye movements
  • Headache and faintness upon standing due to a sudden drop in blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension)
  • Dizziness, especially upon standing up too quickly
  • Nervous feelings or agitation can also occur with Seroquel. Moreover, it could lead to increases in heart rate. Long-term use has been associated with a potential risk of developing diabetes.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Seroquel?

While using Seroquel, some people may experience serious side effects. Watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, impulsiveness, irritability, agitation (both mentally and physically), hostility/aggressiveness
  • Uncontrolled movements in your face (chewing movements with mouth closed), tongue or other parts of the body
  • High fever combined with stiff muscles and confusion which could indicate a possible life-threatening condition
  • Feeling lightheaded leading to fainting spells along with fast heartbeat
  • Vision problems including blurred vision and eye pain/swelling/redness If you notice any of these signs while taking Seroquel consult your healthcare provider immediately.

Contraindications for Invega and Seroquel?

Both Invega and Seroquel, like most antipsychotic medications, may worsen symptoms of depression in some individuals. If you notice your condition deteriorating or experience an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior, please seek immediate medical help.

Neither Invega nor Seroquel should be taken if you are taking or have recently been on certain antiarrhythmic drugs (medications for irregular heart rhythm), macrolide antibiotics, among others. Always inform your physician about any medications you are currently taking; these specific drugs may require a washout period to prevent dangerous interactions with Invega and Seroquel. Additionally, both these medicines can interact negatively with grapefruit products leading to increased side effects; hence it is advised to avoid consuming grapefruit while under these treatments.

How much do Invega and Seroquel cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 30 tablets of Invega (3 mg) averages around $1,200, which works out to approximately $40/day.
  • The price for 100 tablets of Seroquel (25 mg) is about $220 on average, working out to roughly $2.20/day.

Thus, if you are in the higher dosage range for Invega (i.e., 9 mg/day or higher), then brand-name Seroquel is less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. Please note that cost should not be a primary consideration in determining which of these drugs is right for you.

For the generic versions of Invega (paliperidone) and Seroquel (quetiapine), costs are significantly lower:

  • Paliperidone's cost can vary from as low as $15 to over $400 depending on strength and quantity, with typical charges being between around $.50–$13 per day.
  • Quetiapine is available in packs starting at quantities as small as 10 up to hundreds, with prices ranging from about $.04–$4 per tablet depending largely on strength and quantity purchased. This puts daily costs anywhere from mere cents up to several dollars each day.

Popularity of Invega and Seroquel

Paliperidone, marketed under the brand name Invega among others, is an atypical antipsychotic. It was estimated to have been prescribed to about 1 million people in the US in 2020. Paliperidone accounted for just over 3% of antipsychotic prescriptions in the US. Although it's not one of the most commonly prescribed drugs within its class, it has seen a steady increase in prevalence since its introduction.

On the other hand, Quetiapine, sold under the brand name Seroquel among others, is another atypical antipsychotic which was prescribed to approximately 2.8 million individuals in America during that same year. Quetiapine represents nearly 10% of all antipsychotic prescriptions and this proportion has remained relatively stable over recent years with only slight fluctuations noted.


Invega (paliperidone) and Seroquel (quetiapine) are both used widely in the treatment of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, as well as for bipolar disorder. They have been proven more effective than placebo treatments through numerous clinical studies and meta-analyses. Each drug operates differently: Invega primarily blocks dopamine D2 receptors and serotonin 5-HT2A receptors, while Seroquel acts on a broader range of neurotransmitter systems including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

The selection between these medications is generally based on individual patient needs. Invega is often considered easier to manage due to its once-daily dosing regimen compared to Seroquel which typically requires multiple doses per day. However, some patients respond better to one drug over the other or may need a combination of both under careful supervision by their healthcare provider.

Both drugs are available in generic form which can mean significant cost savings particularly for those paying out-of-pocket. The initiation of either medication might require an adjustment period where therapeutic effects may not be immediately evident.

Side effect profiles for both drugs include weight gain and metabolic changes such as increased cholesterol levels; however, they differ notably with regard to sedation - Seroquel has greater sedative effects than Invega does. It's essential that patients monitor any mood alterations closely when starting these medications, seeking prompt medical attention if symptoms worsen or suicidal thoughts emerge.