Quetiapine is a common off-label antipsychotic drug for treating insomnia. Its effects in different disease conditions and dosages remain unclear. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis in clinical trials examining the efficacy of low-dose quetiapine in sleep. We obtained 21 clinical trials. Mean difference (MD), standard mean difference (SMD), and odds ratio (OR) were used to estimate the effect sizes using a random-effects model. The pooled results showed that quetiapine improved sleep quality compared with placebo (SMD: -0.57 [95%CI: -0.75, -0.4]). The SMD of sleep quality was correlated with age (coefficient: -0.0174) and sex (coefficient: -0.012). The significant effects were observed in the general anxiety disorder (SMD: -0.59 [95%CI: -0.92, -0.27]), major depressive disorder (SMD: -0.47 [95%CI: -0.66, -0.28]), and healthy (SMD: -1.33, [95%CI [-2.12, -0.54]) subgroups, at the dosage of 50 mg (SMD: -0.36 [95%CI: -0.36, -0.11]), 150 mg (SMD: -0.4 [95%CI: -0.52, -0.29]), and 300 mg (SMD: -0.17 [95%CI: -0.31,-0.04]). Quetiapine increased total sleep time compared with placebo (MD: 47.91 [95%CI: 28.06, 67.76]) but not when compared with other psychiatric drugs (MD: -4.19 [95%CI: -19.43, 11.05]). Adverse events (AEs) and discontinuation due to AEs were common among the quetiapine users. Quetiapine is effective as a sleep-helping drug. Precaution is suggested when interpreting the results on the elderly due to the high heterogeneity caused by incorporating patients over 66 years in the meta-analyses. We recommend an initial dosage of 50-150 mg/day with priority consideration for the elderly with GAD or MDD while monitoring its potential AEs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-36
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • antipsychotic
  • dosage
  • insomnia
  • quetiapine
  • side effects
  • sleep quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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