What is Zyprexa Uses, warnings & interactions
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Zyprexa (olanzapine) is an atypical antipsychotic medication that is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company. It was approved in 1996 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is also used to treat a certain type of depression when combined with fluoxetine. Zyprexa is available as an oral tablet, an orally disintegrating tablet, and an injection.
If your doctor has prescribed Zyprexa to you, you may want to know more about what it is and how it works. Here we’ll explain what Zyprexa is used for, how it works, its side effects, and more.
What is Zyprexa used for?
- Treatment of schizophrenia.
- Treatment of manic or mixed episodes with bipolar I disorder.
- Maintenance treatment of bipolar I disorder.
- In combination with valproate or lithium for the treatment of manic or mixed episodes with bipolar I disorder.
Oral Zyprexa is used along with fluoxetine in treatment-resistant depression.
How does Zyprexa work?
It is not fully understood how Zyprexa works to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is thought that it works through a combination of dopamine and serotonin receptor antagonism to increase the levels of these chemicals in your brain.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Zyprexa?
- 2.5mg tablet
- 5mg tablet
- 7.5mg tablet
- 10mg tablet
- 15mg tablet
- 20mg tablet
Before taking Zyprexa
Before using Zyprexa, tell your doctor about your medical conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol or triglyceride levels
- Liver problems
- Uncontrolled blood pressure (high or low)
- History of strokes or TIAs
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Enlarged prostate
- Breast cancer
- Bowel obstruction
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- Are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding
How to take Zyprexa
- Read the Full Prescribing Information, Drug Information, and Medication Guide that comes with Zyprexa.
- Take Zyprexa exactly as your doctor prescribes it to you. Do not change your dose or stop taking this medication without discussing it with them first. Stopping Zyprexa suddenly can lead to serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms.
- Zyprexa is typically taken once a day, with or without food. The usual starting dose is 5mg to 10mg once a day. The maximum dose is 20mg once a day.
- If you miss a dose of this medication, take it immediately. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take it at your next scheduled time. Don’t take extra doses of this medication to make up for a missed dose.
- Store this medication at room temperature between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C), away from light and moisture.
You should not take Zyprexa if you have an allergy to olanzapine or any of the inactive ingredients in the formulation.
- There is an increased risk of stroke and death with the use of Zyprexa in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.
- You should be monitored for an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors while on this medication.
- A rare but life-threatening condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) can occur with Zyprexa. Symptoms include high fever, muscle stiffness, confusion, sweating, and changes in blood pressure or heart rate.
- Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) may occur with Zyprexa. Symptoms include a generalized rash, fever, and organ dysfunction.
- Zyprexa can cause a significant increase in blood sugar and increases the risk of ketoacidosis, coma, or death. Monitor your blood sugar when starting Zyprexa and periodically throughout treatment.
- You should be monitored for symptoms of tardive dyskinesia which include repetitive movements in the muscles of your face, arms, and legs.
- Use caution if you have heart disease or cerebrovascular disease as it increases your risk of fainting and dizziness.
- Antipsychotics can cause low white blood cell count (WBC) or drug-induced leukopenia and neutropenia. You should have a complete blood count (CBC) frequently during the first few months of starting Zyprexa.
- Use Zyprexa with extreme caution if you have a history of seizures.
- Zyprexa has anticholinergic effects and should be used with caution if you have urinary retention, an enlarged prostate, or chronic constipation.
Zyprexa drug interactions
When Zyprexa is taken with other medications, it may change the way they work or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. You should discuss with your doctor whether any of the prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take may interact with this medication, including:
- Benzodiazepines or other sedatives
- Blood pressure medications
Zyprexa side effects
Some common side effects of Zyprexa include:
- Drowsiness and sleepiness
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Dry mouth
- Increased appetite
- Weight gain
- Orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure when you stand or sit up)
- High blood sugar levels
- High cholesterol levels
- Elevated prolactin levels
Zyprexa can sometimes cause more serious side effects, including:
- Severe allergic reactions (hives, swelling of the face or throat, and trouble breathing)
- Increased risk of stroke
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Low white blood cell count
- Muscle stiffness
- High fever
- Liver problems such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and/or eyes)
Contact your healthcare professional for medical advice about any possible side effects you experience while taking Zyprexa. You can report your adverse reactions to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Your doctor can prescribe other medications if Zyprexa is not right for you. They will vary by factors such as side effects and cost. Some FDA-approved alternatives to Zyprexa include:
Can you take Zyprexa while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
Taking Zyprexa during your third trimester of pregnancy may cause your baby to be born with movement disorders or withdrawal symptoms. These adverse effects can be mild or could require ICU support and hospitalization. There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors outcomes in women taking Zyprexa while pregnant. You can register by calling 1-866-961-2388 or by visiting http://womensmentalhealth.org/clinical-and-research-programs/pregnancyregistry/.
Zyprexa is found in breast milk. Because of the potential adverse effects on your infant, it is not recommended to be used while breastfeeding. You should always discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Does Zyprexa cause weight gain?
With the exception of Clozaril (clozapine), Zyprexa causes the most significant amount of weight gain among antipsychotics. In patients taking Zyprexa for the management of psychosis, 80% saw a 7% or more increase from their baseline body weight.
Will there be any monitoring needed while taking Zyprexa?
Zyprexa can cause changes in your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure (BP). Your doctor may perform blood tests to monitor your kidneys, liver, cholesterol, and glucose while on this medication.
How long does it take Zyprexa to work?
While you make see an improvement in symptoms such as hallucinations, disorganized thinking, and delusions in several days or weeks, it can take 2 to 3 months before you see the full benefits of Zyprexa.
Does Zyprexa cause withdrawal symptoms?
Suddenly stopping Zyprexa can cause withdrawal symptoms and can worsen the symptoms of your condition. Talk to your doctor if you want to stop taking Zyprexa so they gradually take you off of this medication.
How much does Zyprexa cost?
Currently, there is a generic Zyprexa available on the market. The average cost of #30, 5mg generic Zyprexa tablets is almost $200. However, you can save on brand-name drugs like Zyprexa through NiceRx if eligible for assistance.
The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.