Zyprexa (Olanzapine)

(℞) Prescription Required

    Zyprexa (Olanzapine) Dosage and Side Effects

    ZYPREXA is a prescription drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It's also used to treat depression when used with other medications. ZYPREXA is part of a class of drugs known as atypical antipsychotics, which work to help restore the balance of dopamine, a natural substances in your brain known as a neurotransmitter. By taking this drug you may be able to decrease hallucinations, reduce feelings of agitation, and think more clearly and positively. This medication is also used for preventing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

    Warnings and Precautions

    Serious Warnings and Precautions

    Studies with various medicines of the group to which ZYPREXA belongs, including ZYPREXA, when used in elderly patients with dementia have been associated with an increased rate of death. ZYPREXA is not indicated in elderly patients with dementia.

    Before starting ZYPREXA and to get the best possible treatment, be sure to tell your doctor if you:

    • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant

    • are breast-feeding or plan on breast-feeding

    • have had an allergic reaction to any medicine which you have taken previously to treat your current condition

    • have diabetes or a family history of diabetes

    • have a history of any problems with the way your heart beats or have any heart problems

    • have a history of stroke or high blood pressure

    • have risk factors for developing blood clots such as: a family history of blood clots, age over 65, smoking, obesity, recent major surgery (such as hip or knee replacement), immobility due to air travel or other reason, or take oral contraceptives (“The Pill”)

    • are a smoker

    • have ever had blackouts or seizures

    • are taking any other medicines (prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines)

    • drink alcoholic beverages or use drugs

    • exercise vigorously or work in hot or sunny places

    • have a history of liver problems, hepatitis, or yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)

    • have prostate problems

    • have intestinal congestion (paralytic ileus)

    • have raised pressure within the eye (glaucoma)

    • suffer from lactose intolerance because ZYPREXA tablets contain lactose

    • cannot take phenylalanine because ZYPREXA ZYDIS contains aspartame, a source of phenylalanine.

    It is important for your doctor to have this information before prescribing your treatment and dosage.

    Effects on newborns:

    In some cases, babies born to a mother taking ZYPREXA during pregnancy have experienced symptoms that are severe and require the newborn to be hospitalized. Sometimes, the symptoms may resolve on their own. Be prepared to seek immediate emergency medical attention for your newborn if they have difficulty breathing, are overly sleepy, have muscle stiffness, or floppy muscles (like a rag doll), are shaking, or are having difficulty feeding.

    Side Effects

    Like other medicines, ZYPREXA can cause some side effects. These side effects are most likely to be minor and temporary. However, some may be serious and need medical attention. Many of the side effects are dose related, so it is important not to exceed your prescribed dose. The most common side effects of oral ZYPREXA are:

    • drowsiness

    • weight gain

    • dizziness

    • increased appetite

    • fluid retention

    • constipation

    • dry mouth

    • a feeling of restlessness (akathisia)

    • decreased blood pressure upon rising from a lying or sitting position

    You should also tell your doctor if you notice any symptoms that worry you, even if you think the problems are not connected with the medicine or are not listed here.

    Because some people experience drowsiness, you should avoid driving a car or operating machinery until you know how ZYPREXA affects you. Some people may feel dizzy in the early stages of treatment, especially when getting up from a lying or sitting position. This side effect usually passes after taking ZYPREXA for a few days.

    After prolonged use in women, medicines of this type can cause milk secretion or changes in the regularity of their monthly period. On rare occasions, after prolonged use in men, medicines of this type have been associated with breast enlargement. As well, abnormal liver function tests have been reported on occasion.

    Your doctor should check your body weight before starting ZYPREXA and continue to monitor it for as long as you are being treated.

    Your doctor should take blood tests before starting ZYPREXA. They will monitor blood sugar, and the number of infection fighting white blood cells. Your doctor should continue to monitor your blood for as long as you are being treated.

    If you have high levels of prolactin (measured with a blood test) and a condition called hypogonadism you may be at increased risk of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis. This occurs in both men and women.

    Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them. If any of these side effects are experienced, they are usually mild and temporary.

    The following table is based on data from placebo-controlled clinical trials and from post-marketing data.

    Interactions with this medication

    Tell all doctors, dentists and pharmacists who are treating you that you are taking ZYPREXA.

    Tell your doctor or pharmacist that you are taking ZYPREXA before you start taking any new medicines.

    A combination of ZYPREXA with the following medicines might make you feel drowsy:

    • medicines taken for anxiety or to help you sleep

    • medicines taken for depression.

    The effects of alcohol could be made worse while taking ZYPREXA. It is recommended that you do not drink alcohol while taking ZYPREXA.

    You should tell your doctor if you are taking fluvoxamine (antidepressant), ketoconazole (antifungal), or ciprofloxacin (antibiotic), as these medicines may lead to higher concentrations of olanzapine in your blood.

    You should also tell your doctor if you are taking carbamazepine as it may lead to lower concentrations of ZYPREXA in your blood, making ZYPREXA less effective.

    Only take other medicines while you are on ZYPREXA if your doctor tells you that you can. Do not give ZYPREXA to anyone else. Your doctor has prescribed it for you and your condition.

    Proper Use of this medication

    Usual dose:

    The most important thing about taking ZYPREXA is to take it the way your doctor has prescribed - the right dose, every day. Your doctor has decided on the best dosage for you based on your individual situation and needs. Your doctor may increase or decrease your dose depending on your response.

    Although ZYPREXA cannot cure your condition, it can help relieve your symptoms. If your symptoms improve or disappear, it is probably because your treatment is working. Studies have shown that, after coming off medication, a relapse of symptoms occurs in about 2 out of 3 patients and is more than double that of patients staying on their medication. That is why it is so important to keep taking ZYPREXA, even after your symptoms have improved or disappeared. ZYPREXA should be taken for as long as you and your doctor believe it is helping you.

    Proper Handling Instructions:

    ZYPREXA Tablets: ZYPREXA tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. ZYPREXA tablets can be taken with or without food.

    ZYPREXA ZYDIS: ZYPREXA ZYDIS should be handled carefully with dry hands.

    Follow the instructions below:

    1. Separate one blister cell from the strip by tearing along the dotted line.

    2. Carefully peel off the backing foil.

    3. Gently push the tablet out from the bottom of the blister.

    4. Avoid touching the tablet with your hands. Put the tablet directly into your mouth. It will begin to dissolve in your mouth within a few seconds. You can also place the tablet directly into a full glass of water, milk, coffee, orange juice or apple juice. Stir and drink all of the contents immediately.


    In case of drug overdose, contact a health care practitioner, hospital emergency department or regional Poison Control Centre immediately, even if there are no symptoms.

    Show the health care practitioner your bottle of tablets. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. The most common signs if you have taken too much ZYPREXA are drowsiness and slurred speech.

    Missed dose:

    Take your prescribed dose at the same time each day. If you miss a dose of ZYPREXA by a few hours, take the dose when you remember. If most of the day has passed, wait until your next scheduled dose and try not to miss any more. Do not take 2 doses at once.

    Other related products

    The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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