- Schizophrenia Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Schizophrenia Quiz
- Physical Symptoms of Depression Slideshow
- What is olanzapine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for olanzapine?
- Is olanzapine available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for olanzapine?
- What are the side effects of olanzapine?
- What is the dosage for olanzapine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with olanzapine?
- Is olanzapine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about olanzapine?
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 are the side effects of olanzapine?
Common side effects seen with olanzapine are:
- an inability to sit still (akathisia),
- dry mouth,
- orthostatic hypotension,
- tremor, and
- weight gain.
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.
What is the dosage for olanzapine?
The usual oral dose of olanzapine for treating schizophrenia is 10-20 mg once daily. Therapy is initiated with 5-10 mg/day, and the dose may be increased by 5 mg a day at weekly intervals. The maximum dose is 20 mg daily. The recommended dose of extended release injection is 150-405 mg every 2 or 4 weeks.
Treatment of bipolar disorder usually is initiated with oral doses of 10-15 mg once daily. The dose may be increased by 5 mg daily at 24 hour intervals. The maximum dose is 20 mg daily.
The usual dose for treating agitation due to schizophrenia or bipolar disorder is 10 mg administered by intramuscular injection (immediate release). Additional 10 mg doses may be administered, but the efficacy of total doses greater than 30 mg daily have not been adequately evaluated.
The recommended treatment for resistant depression is 5-20 mg of olanzapine combined with 20-50 mg of fluoxetine once daily in the evening while the recommended treatment for depression associated with bipolar disorder is 5-12.5 mg olanzapine combined with 20-50 mg fluoxetine once daily in the evening.
Which drugs or supplements interact with olanzapine?
: Carbamazepine (Tegretol) can reduce blood concentrations of olanzapine, possibly necessitating higher doses of olanzapine. Other drugs that may also reduce blood levels of olanzapine are omeprazole (Prilosec) and rifampin.
Smoking may reduce blood concentrations of olanzapine.
Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac), erythromycin, and fluvoxamine (Luvox) may have the opposite effect, that is, they may increase blood levels of olanzapine, and the dose of olanzapine may need to be reduced.
Olanzapine can cause orthostatic hypotension, a drop in blood pressure upon standing up that may cause dizziness or even fainting. Taking olanzapine with either diazepam (Valium), other related benzodiazepines or alcohol can exaggerate the orthostatic hypotension caused by olanzapine.
Is olanzapine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies of olanzapine in pregnant women. Olanzapine should only be administered to pregnant women if the benefits justify the unknown risks.
Olanzapine is excreted into breast milk. Therefore, it is recommended that olanzapine not be used by nursing mothers.
What else should I know about olanzapine?
What preparations of olanzapine are available?
Tablets: 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10, 15, 20 mg. Tablets (orally disintegrating): 5, 10, 15, 20 mg. Injection (immediate release): 10 mg vial. Suspension for Injection (extended release): 210, 300, and 405 mg (powder).
How should I keep olanzapine stored?
Tablets should be kept at room temperature, 20 C - 25 C (68 F - 77 F). Suspension is stored at room temperature not to exceed 30 C (86 F).
Quick GuideSchizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment
Olanzapine (Zyprexa, Zydis, Zyprexa Relprevv) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia associated with bipolar disorder and some types of depression. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Bipolar Disorder (Mania) Quiz: Test Your Emotional Wellness IQ
Who is at risk for developing bipolar disorder? Are you? Take this Bipolar Disorder Quiz to learn more about bipolar disorder, if...
Schizophrenia Quiz: What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a complex psychiatric disorder. Learn more about the challenges of mental illness with the Schizophrenia Quiz....
Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment
What is schizophrenia? Learn about schizophrenia symptoms, signs, and treatment. Read about schizophrenia types such as paranoid...
Related Disease Conditions
Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by markedly reduced appetite or total aversion to food. Anorexia is a serious...
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one...
Schizophrenia is a disabling brain disorder that may cause hallucinations and delusions and affect a person's ability to...
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include...
Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental illness characterized by depression, mania, and severe mood swings. Treatment...
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to suffer repeated obsessions and compulsions....
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs within a year after delivery. It is thought that rapid hormone changes...
Mental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under...
Depression in Children
Childhood depression can interfere with social activities, interests, schoolwork and family life. Symptoms and signs include...
Depression in the Elderly
Depression in the elderly is very common. That doesn't mean, though, it's normal. Treatment may involve antidepressants,...
Brief Psychotic Disorder
Brief psychotic disorder is a short-term mental illness that features psychotic symptoms. There are three forms of brief...
Psychotic disorders are a group of serious illnesses that affect the mind. Different types of psychotic disorders include...
Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens
Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, is a disorder that causes unusual and extreme mood changes. Symptoms of bipolar...
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by odd behaviors, feelings, perceptions, and ways of relating to others that...
Bipolar Disorder vs. Schizophrenia
Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are mental illnesses that share some risk factors and treatments. Symptoms of bipolar disorder...
Morgellons disease is a rare condition causing delusions the sufferer has parasites under his or her skin. The disease has a...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Altered Mental Status
- Panic Attack
- Bipolar Disorder
- Catatonia (Catatonic Behavior)
- Loss of Speech
- Poor Hygiene
- Unusual Behavior
- Inability to Regulate Emotions
- Abnormal Facial Expressions
- Lack of Facial Expressions
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Schizophrenia FAQs
- Bipolar Disorder Mania FAQs
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Do Antipsychotic Meds for Kids Raise Diabetes Risk?
- Antipsychotic Meds Pose Little Danger to Fetus, Study Finds
- Lithium Beats Newer Meds for Bipolar Disorder, Study Finds
- Antipsychotic Drugs Tied to Risk of Early Death in Parkinson's Patients
- Too Few Psychiatric Patients Screened for Diabetes: Study
- Beware Safety Risks Posed by 'Off-Label' Drug Use
- Are Too Many Young Americans Getting Antipsychotics for ADHD?
- Study Finds Need for Improved Schizophrenia Care
- Certain Antipsychotic Meds Tied to Kidney Problems in Elderly
- Antipsychotic Meds Not That Helpful for Depression: Study
- Long-Term Use of Some Antipsychotics Not Warranted in Older Adults: Study
- Older Antipsychotics May Work as Well as Newer Ones: Review
- More Kids Taking Antipsychotics for ADHD: Study
- Many Primary Care Docs Don't Know Long-Term Effects of Chemo: Survey
- Prescription Meds Can Put on Unwanted Pounds
- Dementia: Some Antipsychotic Drugs Riskier Than Others
- Antipsychotics in Pregnancy Risky for Newborns
Mental Health Resources
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.