- Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is olanzapine?

Olanzapine is a psychiatric drug that belongs to the atypical antipsychotics class of drugs. It is sold under the brand name Zyprexa. It is ingested orally or taken through an intramuscular injection. It is used for new disease onset or one that needs treatment over a long time for the treatment of schizophrenia. It was first patented in 1971 as a general psychiatric medication. It is often used in conjunction with other medication therapies.

What are the uses of olanzapine?

Olanzapine is a psychiatric medication used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that causes hallucinations, distorted thinking, loss of interest in life, and intense or inappropriate emotions. Olanzapine is also used to treat bipolar disorder, a psychiatric disorder characterized by prolonged periods of alternating mania and depression. The medication is usually prescribed to people who are 13 years and older. The drug is effective by bringing about changes in brain activity.

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What are the side effects of olanzapine?

Olanzapine may cause some side effects such as depression, weakness, walking difficulties, dizziness, behavioral changes, and difficulty falling asleep. Side effects in women include breast enlargement, discharge from the breasts, irregular periods, and problems in sexual ability. Serious side effects such as vision changes, seizures, swelling of limbs, fever, and chills must be reported to the doctor immediately. Patients are advised to ascertain all risks before starting this medication.

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1. Can olanzapine cause anxiety?

Olanzapine may cause anxiety, especially when a person discontinues or withdraws from the drug. It is essential to be in touch with the doctor while stopping the medication. Potential withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, agitation, psychosis, diarrhea, sleep disturbances, nausea, sweating, and restlessness. Ideally, your doctor will gradually reduce the dosage of the drug to mitigate symptoms of drug withdrawal.

2. How long does olanzapine stay in your system?

Olanzapine typically stays in the human body for an average of 7 days before it completely disappears. With regular dosage, concentration levels of olanzapine maintain steady levels in the human blood. Health care providers usually advise not to abruptly stop the medicine. Take your doctor’s advice on the benefits and risks of drug withdrawal before discontinuing the medication.

3. Is olanzapine a sleeping pill?

Olanzapine is not a sleeping pill and should not be prescribed for sleep disturbances. The medicine is a potent antipsychotic drug that is used for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Most patients report difficulties in withdrawing from the drug as it is highly addictive and habit-forming. It can impact sleep after discontinuation.

4. Is olanzapine a mood stabilizer?

Olanzapine is not a mood stabilizer. It is an antipsychotic medication. Used in conjunction with mood stabilizers, olanzapine enhances efficacy, especially during manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder. Combined with other drugs such as fluoxetine, it has high efficacy in treating bipolar disorders and schizophrenia.

5. How long does it take for olanzapine to work?

Many psychiatric drugs show an improvement in symptoms when taken consistently for a few weeks. In the case of Olanzapine, a person might start to feel better 4–6 weeks after starting the medication. Many patients report feeling comfortable within the first week. It is essential to be in touch with your doctor to monitor symptoms effectively.

6. What happens if a normal person takes olanzapine?

Olanzapine is prescribed for people who have chronic schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In ordinary people, intake of olanzapine increases weight by at least 2–3 kgs over six weeks. Other side effects include dry mouth, tremors, restlessness, and muscle contractions. Blood sugar spikes may also be seen.

7. Is olanzapine safe?

Olanzapine can be considered for long-term use. However, there are a host of other equally potent antipsychotic drugs. Lithium is still considered one of the best long-term medicines for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Sometimes, the drug can cause a rare skin rash or reaction and swell up the lymph nodes. However, this is very uncommon.

8. What does olanzapine do to the brain?

Olanzapine’s efficacy is dependent on its impact on brain activity. It blocks some dopamine receptors in the brain. This minimizes the hyperactivity that is associated with dopamine. It also has a positive effect on the neurotransmitter serotonin, thus reducing symptoms in the patient. Overall, patients find their symptoms easing with a regular dosage of olanzapine.

9. What happens if you overdose on olanzapine?

There is a high risk of abuse and overdose associated with olanzapine. Some of the common side effects of drug overdose include blurred vision, low blood pressure, respiratory depression, and a depressed, nervous system. An overdose can also result in a very high fever. Fatal outcomes are expected in drug dosages as low as 450 mg. Hence, the drug dosage has to be strictly monitored.

10. Does everyone gain weight on olanzapine?

Olanzapine can lead to weight gain. Many patients report a weight gain of at least 3–4 kgs over 4–6 weeks. This can also be attributed to an improvement in symptoms. For instance, patients with bipolar disorders may suffer from poor appetite during their depressive episodes. Taking this drug can alter appetite, leading to weight gain.

Contact our medical experts at Yashoda Hospitals to know more about the necessary precautions, uses, dosages, and side effects of olanzapine.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.