olanzapine, Zyprexa, Zydis, Zyprexa Relprevv

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is olanzapine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Olanzapine is a drug that is used to treat schizophrenia and acute manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder. Olanzapine belongs to a drug class known as atypical antipsychotics. Other members of this class include clozapine (Clozaril), risperidone (Risperdal), aripiprazole (Abilify) and ziprasidone (Geodon). The exact mechanism of action of olanzapine is not known. It may work by blocking receptors for several neurotransmitters (chemicals that nerves use to communicate with each other) in the brain. It binds to alpha-1, dopamine, histamine H-1, muscarinic, and serotonin type 2 (5-HT2) receptors. Olanzapine was approved by the FDA in 1996.

What brand names are available for olanzapine?

Zyprexa, Zyprexa Zydis, Zyprexa Relprevv

Is olanzapine available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for olanzapine?

Yes

What are the side effects of olanzapine?

Common side effects seen with olanzapine are:

Several disorders of movement also may occur with olanzapine, for example, extrapyramidal effects (sudden, often jerky, involuntary motions of the head, neck, arms, body, or eyes). Tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movements of the mouth, tongue, jaw, or eyelids) also may occur in 1 in 100 patients receiving olanzapine. Some cases can be irreversible. The likelihood of developing tardive dyskinesia increases with prolonged treatment.

There may be an increased risk of elevated blood sugar levels and diabetes with olanzapine as well as the other antipsychotic medications in its class. Patients should be tested during treatment for elevated blood sugar. Additionally, persons with risk factors for diabetes, including obesity or a family history of diabetes, should have their fasting levels of blood sugar tested before starting treatment and periodically throughout treatment to detect the onset of diabetes. Any patient developing symptoms that suggest diabetes during treatment should be tested for diabetes.

Patients may develop severe sedation, coma, and or delirium after an injection of extended release olanzapine. Patients must be examined for 3 hours after receiving an injection.

Elderly patients with dementia related psychosis treated with antipsychotics are at an increased risk of death.

Olanzapine may increase prolactin levels. Increased prolactin levels may manifest as abnormal menstruation, sexual dysfunction, and breast enlargement.

Quick GuideSchizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment
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