What is olanzapine?

Olanzapine is an antipsychotic medication. It works by changing the actions of chemicals in the brain.

Olanzapine is used to treat the symptoms of psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (manic depression).

Olanzapine is sometimes used together with another medication called fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem). This combination is also used to treat depression after at least 2 other medications have been tried without successful treatment of symptoms.

Olanzapine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Precautions

Olanzapine is not for use in psychotic conditions related to dementia. Olanzapine may cause heart failure, sudden death, or pneumonia in older adults with dementia-related conditions.

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication. Before you take olanzapine, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • heart disease, high blood pressure, heart rhythm problems;
  • high cholesterol or triglycerides;
  • a history of heart attack or stroke;
  • a history of breast cancer;
  • seizures or epilepsy;
  • a personal or family history of diabetes;
  • an enlarged prostate or difficulty urinating;
  • glaucoma; or
  • trouble swallowing.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether olanzapine is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Olanzapine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

The olanzapine orally disintegrating tablet (Zyprexa Zydis) may contain phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using this form of olanzapine if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

Olanzapine can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

Avoid drinking alcohol, which can increase some of the side effects of olanzapine.

Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated. Drink plenty of fluids, especially in hot weather and during exercise. It is easier to become dangerously overheated and dehydrated while you are taking olanzapine.

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Instructions

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Overdose symptoms may include drowsiness, agitation, aggression, slurred speech, confusion, increased heart rate, jerky or uncontrolled muscle movements, trouble breathing, or fainting.

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using olanzapine and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • fever, stiff muscles, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats;
  • jerky muscle movements you cannot control;
  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
  • sudden headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance;
  • increased thirst, frequent urination, excessive hunger, or weakness;
  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • unusual thoughts or behavior, hallucinations, or thoughts about hurting yourself; or
  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness, or weakness;
  • constipation;
  • dry mouth;
  • swelling in your hands or feet;
  • back pain;
  • weight gain, increased appetite; or
  • upset stomach.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Interactions

Before using olanzapine, tell your doctor if you regularly use other medicines that make you sleepy (such as cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, or anxiety). They can add to sleepiness caused by olanzapine.

The following drugs can interact with olanzapine. Tell your doctor if you are using any of these:

  • a medication to treat high blood pressure or a heart condition;
  • carbamazepine (Tegretol);
  • fluvoxamine (Luvox); or
  • a medication to treat Parkinson's disease including levodopa (Sinemet, Larodopa, Atamet), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), pramipexole (Mirapex), ropinirole (Requip), and others.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with olanzapine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Other Names

Zyprexa, Zyprexa Zydis, and olanzapine

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Disclaimer

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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