Generic Name: Olanzapine
Product Name: Zyprexa
Zyprexa is used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and related psychoses. It is also a mood stabiliser that prevents further occurrences of the disabling high and low extremes of mood associated with bipolar I disorder.
Zyprexa belongs to a group of drugs called antipsychotics. It works by blocking various receptors in the brain, particularly dopamine receptors. Dopamine is a natural compound involved in transmitting signals between brain cells. Psychotic illness is considered to be caused by overactivity of dopamine in the brain. Zyprexa blocks the receptors that dopamine acts on and this helps to control psychotic illness.
Your doctor may prescribe Zyprexa for various conditions, including schizophrenia and related psychosis, agitation in schizophrenia or acute mania as well as for maintenance treatment. Depending on your conditions, your dose may range from 5 to 20mg. Higher doses may be prescribed if neccessary.
Zyprexa is available in tablet, injection and wafer forms.
Zyprexa tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. It may be administered with or without meals.
You should take Zyprexa as long as your doctor prescribes it to you. Do not stop taking Zyprexa even if you feel better.
While you are taking Zyprexa
- You must not drive or operate machinery if it makes you feel drowsy
- You must not drink alcohol as it may increase the drowsiness
- You may feel light-headed, dizzy or faint, especially at initation of treatment, you must be careful when getting up from a lying or sitting position. Getting up slowly may help
- You must wear protective clothing and use sunscreen with at least SPF15+ while outdoors as it may cause your skin to be more sensitive to sunlight. Exposure to sunlight may cause a skin rash, itching, redness or severe sunburn.
- Tell your doctor if you start or stop smoking as your dose may need to be adjusted.
What to expect while you are taking Zyprexa
Response to Zyprexa may occur within 1-2 weeks. However, you should allow 2-3 months for full trial.
Use in pregnancy (Category B3)
Zyprexa should be used only if the potential benefits outweighs the potential risks to the fetus. You should inform your doctor if you become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during treatment with Zyprexa.
Use in lactation
Zyprexa may be excreted in breast milk. You should avoid taking Zyprexa if you are breastfeeding.
Common side effects
Like any other medicines, Zyprexa may cause some unwanted side effects. This may vary between individuals and some of them may be dose related. Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- restlessness or difficulty sitting still
- weight gain
- increased appetite
- dry mouth
- swelling of your hands, feet and ankles
- unusual tiredness or weakness.
Despite the side effects are common, they are usually mild and you may not even experience any of them.
Uncommon side effects
The following side effects are uncommon (greater than or equal to 0.1% and < 1%) but may require medical attention. Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects:
- symptoms of sunburn (such as redness, itching, swelling or blistering of the skin) which occur more quickly than normal
- allergic reaction
- slow heart beat
- Australian Medicines Handbook. Zyprexa. January 2008 [cited 2008 June 14]. Available from URL: http://amh.hcn.net.au
- MIMS Online. Zyprexa. 20 November 2006 [cited 2008 June 14]. Available from URL: http://mims.hcn.net.au
For further information talk to your doctor.