OBJECTIVES: Carbamazepine and quetiapine are drugs that are used as mood stabilizers in the treatment of bipolar disorders. A series of studies has shown that concurrent use of carbamazepine decreases quetiapine serum level due to induction of CYP3A enzymes by carbamazepine. METHODS: In a 30-year-old bipolar patient with mania treated with quetiapine 1200 mg and carbamazepine 900 mg per day, we measured quetiapine serum level before and after carbamazepine withdrawal. RESULTS: No serum quetiapine was detected during concurrent use of carbamazepine and was lower than the therapeutic range almost 2 weeks after carbamazepine withdrawal. The patient suffered from sedation when her serum level of quetiapine was 181 ng/ml and because she was quiet we started slowly to decrease to a quetiapine dose of 600 mg. Her serum level (45 ng/ml) was again below therapeutic levels after 3 weeks of carbamazepine withdrawal. CONCLUSION: We hypothesize that induction of CYP3A lasts even after carbamazepine withdrawal. Our hypothesis was confirmed during the next treatment of mania. The patient had been off carbamazepine for 1 year and her serum level was four times higher (210 ng/ml) on 600 mg of quetiapine than 3 weeks after carbamazepine withdrawal. The influence of carbamazepine on CYP3A enzymes lasted at least 3 weeks after carbamazepine withdrawal which is in accordance with CYP3A de-induction lasting 3 weeks. This could be important information for psychiatrists to know that in some patients it is better to use a minimum washout period of 3 weeks for carbamazepine before new treatment with quetiapine.