Compare Lithium vs. Seroquel

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Lithobid
(lithium)

Seroquel
(quetiapine)

Stabilizes mood. Lithobid (Lithium) is the most effective long-term treatment for bipolar disorder, but it comes with a lot of side effects, so it can be difficult to take.Helps control your thoughts and mood. Seroquel (Quetiapine) is good for treating psychosis and mania. Fewer side effects than most antipsychotics, but might be less effective for people over age 40 with schizophrenia.
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Coupons for Lithium
Best available price for 90 (300mg) capsules of lithium
Coupons for Seroquel
Best available price for 30 (25mg) tablets of seroquel
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Lithobid (lithium)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Seroquel
56%
-56% worse vs. Lithium
50%
-50% worse vs. Lithium
27%
+27% better vs. Lithium
250 reviews
Have you used Seroquel (quetiapine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
LithiumSeroquel

The Lithium FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Lithium side effects »
  • Drowsiness 42%
  • Dizziness 15%
  • Nausea 6%
  • Fatigue 5%
  • Increased appetite 8%
  • Abnormally fast heart beat 8%
  • Vomiting 4%
  • Dry mouth 7%
  • Nasal congestion 4%
  • Weight increased 6%
More Seroquel side effects »
How it works
LithiumSeroquel
Researchers don't know exactly how Lithobid (Lithium) works, but it seems to affect chemicals in the brain that regulate mood.Seroquel (Quetiapine) is an atypical antipsychotic. Researchers don't know exactly how it works. It seems to change dopamine and serotonin activity in your brain, which affects thoughts and mood.
Type of medication
LithiumSeroquel
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
LithiumSeroquel
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Oral solution
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for
LithiumSeroquel
Risk factors for serious side effects
LithiumSeroquel
  • Low sodium
  • Dehydration
  • Drug interactions (diuretics, ACE inhibitors, NSAIDs like ibuprofen)
  • Alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
Detailed Lithobid (lithium) risks & warnings »
  • Elderly patients with dementia
  • History of heart problems
  • Drug interactions
  • People with diabetes
  • People with high cholesterol
Detailed Seroquel (quetiapine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Food
LithiumSeroquel
  • Take with food or use extended release form to avoid stomach upset.
  • Seroquel (Quetiapine) can increase your blood sugar and cholesterol. Seroquel (Quetiapine) is more likely to raise your blood sugar and cholesterol compared to other antipsychotic medications. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
Kidneys and liver
LithiumSeroquel
  • Lithobid (Lithium) can reduce the kidney's ability to balance salt and water in your body. This is reversible if you stop taking Lithobid (Lithium). If you're urinating much more than usual, your doctor can do a blood test to check your kidney function.
  • Probably not safe if you have kidney problems.
No kidneys and liver related info.
Sleep
LithiumSeroquel
  • The amount of Lithobid (Lithium) that's too much for your body to handle is only a little higher than the amount in an effective dose. This means it can be easy to accidentally overdose. Symptoms of Lithobid (Lithium) toxicity include diarrhea, vomiting, drowsiness, abnormal eye movements, muscle weakness, and lack of coordination. In severe cases, overdose can cause coma or seizures. If you think you've taken too much Lithobid (Lithium), stop taking it and seek medical attention immediately.
  • Persistent stomach upset, slurred speech, or extreme drowsiness may be a sign that your dose is too high.
  • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and low blood pressure.
Weight
LithiumSeroquel
No weight related info.
  • Seroquel (Quetiapine) can cause you to gain weight. Seroquel (Quetiapine) is moderately likely to cause weight gain compared to other antipsychotic medications. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
  • May cause weight gain and worsen cholesterol or blood sugar.
  • Sometimes causes weight gain, sleepiness, and low blood pressure.
Upsides and benefits
LithiumSeroquel
  • A first-line, long-term treatment for bipolar disorder. Effective at stabilizing mood and preventing relapse.
  • For manic episodes (acute mania), more effective when taken together with an antipsychotic medicine.
  • The only drug proven (so far) to lower the risk of suicide, possibly because it lowers aggressiveness and impulsivity.
  • Effective at relieving psychotic symptoms and manic episodes.
  • Antipsychotic medicines are all about equally effective.
  • Fewer side effects than most antipsychotic medicines.
  • Less likely to cause heart problems compared to some antipsychotics.
  • Compared to other antipsychotics, the least likely to cause Extrapyramidal Symptoms (EPS): Movement disorders that include stiffness, tremor, restlessness, and slow, repetitive, or involuntary movements.
Downsides and risks
LithiumSeroquel
  • Has many short- and long-term side effects.
  • The dose for it to work well is very close to the amount that causes overdose, so you have to be careful, watch out for symptoms, and get help immediately if you accidentally take too much.
  • Probably not safe if you have kidney problems.
  • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
  • Requires routine blood tests to see how the medicine is affecting your body.
  • In studies, less effective for people over age 40 for schizophrenia.
  • Sometimes causes weight gain, sleepiness, and low blood pressure.
  • You might need routine blood tests to check how the medicine is affecting your body.
  • All antipsychotics come with side effects that make them difficult to take. You might need to try a few different medicines until you find one that works for you and that you can tolerate.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
LithiumSeroquel
  • For the first week, avoid activities that require you to be alert.
  • Don't use if pregnant.
  • Requires routine blood tests.
  • Take with food or use extended release form to avoid stomach upset.
  • Stay well-hydrated, and keep salt intake consistent.
  • Persistent stomach upset, slurred speech, or extreme drowsiness may be a sign that your dose is too high.
  • Takes 4 to 6 weeks to see full effects on thoughts and mood.
  • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and low blood pressure.
  • For the first week, avoid activities that require you to be alert.
  • May cause weight gain and worsen cholesterol or blood sugar.
  • Report any unusual thoughts, inability to control muscle movements, or fever and excess sweating to your doctor.
  • Elderly people with dementia shouldn't take it.
Learn more
More about LithiumSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Lithobid (lithium)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about SeroquelSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Seroquel (quetiapine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it