Saphris

Generic Name: Asenapine

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Saphris is a medicine used to treat schizophrenia. Saphris is also used to treat bipolar disorder alone or in combination with lithium or valproate.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    The symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are thought to be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Although it is unclear exactly how Saphris works, it seems to help balance the chemicals in the brain, thereby helping to improve your symptoms.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What:

    Schizophrenia: Saphris has been shown to relieve symptoms of schizophrenia as measured by a symptom rating scale that is commonly used by healthcare providers to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine in people with this condition.

    Bipolar Disorder: Saphris may effectively work for the short-term to treat two types of bipolar disorder episodes: mania (highs) and mixed (highs and lows).

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Saphris exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

    How do I know it is working?

    Your healthcare provider may ask you questions from time to time to assess how well your symptoms are controlled.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Saphris is not approved to treat mental problems caused by dementia (an illness involving loss of memory and judgment, and confusion) in the elderly. It can be life-threatening when used in elderly people with mental problems caused by dementia.

    Schizophrenia

    More common side effects may include: restlessness, decreased sensitivity to touch in your mouth, drowsiness.

    Bipolar Disorder (Alone)

    More common side effects may include: drowsiness, dizziness, involuntary movements, weight gain.

    Bipolar Disorder (In Combination with Lithium or Valproate)

    More common side effects may include: drowsiness, decreased sensitivity to touch in your mouth.

    Less common side effects of Saphris may include:

    Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) (a life-threatening brain disorder) with symptoms such as high fever, excessive sweating, muscle rigidity, confusion, changes in your breathing, fast or irregular heartbeat, or changes in your blood pressure.

    High blood sugar with symptoms such as excessive thirst, an increase in urination, increased appetite, weakness, confusion, fruity smelling breath, or feeling sick to your stomach.

    Tardive dyskinesia, defined as abnormal muscle movements, including tremor, shuffling, and uncontrolled, involuntary movements.

    Serious allergic reactions with symptoms such as itching, and swelling of your face, tongue, or throat that may cause trouble breathing.

    Sudden fall in blood pressure with symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting when rising too quickly from a sitting or lying position.

    Low white blood cell counts with symptoms of an infection (such as fever, sore throat, rash, or chills).

    Saphris may cause weight gain.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Saphris if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Saphris. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have diabetes; high or low blood pressure; low white blood cell counts; seizures; high prolactin (a hormone that can affect lactation, menstruation, and fertility) levels; heart or liver problems; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Schizophrenia

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 5 milligrams (mg) twice a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

    Bipolar Mania (Alone)

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 10 mg twice a day. Your healthcare provider may adjust your dose based on your tolerability.

    Bipolar Mania (In Combination with Lithium or Valproate)

    Adults: The recommend starting dose is 5 mg twice a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Saphris exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Saphris without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Do not remove the Saphris tablet from the packaging until right before you take the medicine. Use dry hands when handling the tablets.

    To remove a tablet, firmly press and hold the thumb button, then pull out the tablet pack. Peel back the colored tab and gently remove a tablet. Do not cut or tear the pack or push the tablet through the pack.

    Place the tablet under your tongue, and let it dissolve completely. Do not swallow, crush, or chew Saphris tablets.

    Do not eat or drink for 10 minutes after taking Saphris.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Saphris.

    Do not drive, operate machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Saphris affects you.

    Do not get overheated or dehydrated while you are taking Saphris. Drink plenty of water and do not over-exercise. Stay out of the sun, and do not wear too much or heavy clothing. In hot weather, stay in a cool place if possible.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Saphris is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Saphris with the following: alcohol, amiodarone, certain blood pressure medicines, chlorpromazine, fluvoxamine, gatifloxacin, moxifloxacin, paroxetine, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol, thioridazine, or ziprasidone.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Saphris during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Saphris. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Saphris, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.