Generic Name: Olanzapine

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Zyprexa is a medicine used to treat schizophrenia. This medication can also be used to treat bipolar disorder alone or in combination with lithium or valproate. In addition, Zyprexa is used in combination with fluoxetine to treat depression associated with bipolar disorder and depression that has not improved after taking two other medicines. Zyprexa is available in tablets and orally disintegrating tablets (tablets that dissolve in your mouth) called Zyprexa Zydis.

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

    How does this medication work?

    The symptoms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression are thought to be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Although it is unclear exactly how Zyprexa 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?


    Schizophrenia and Depression: Zyprexa has been shown to relieve symptoms of schizophrenia and depression as measured by symptom rating scales that are commonly used by healthcare providers to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine in people with such conditions.

    Bipolar Disorder: Zyprexa 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 Zyprexa 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.

    Zyprexa 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 (Adults)

    More common side effects may include: sudden fall in blood pressure, constipation, weight gain, dizziness, personality disorder, restlessness.

    Schizophrenia (Adolescents)

    More common side effects may include: drowsiness, weight gain, headache, increased appetite, dizziness, abdominal (stomach area) pain, pain in your arms or legs, fatigue, dry mouth.

    Bipolar Disorder (Adults)

    More common side effects may include: weakness, dry mouth, constipation, increased appetite, drowsiness, dizziness, shaking.

    Bipolar Disorder (Adolescents)

    More common side effects may include: drowsiness, weight gain, increased appetite, headache, fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, abdominal pain, pain in your arms or legs.

    Bipolar Disorder in Combination with Lithium or Valproate (Adults)

    More common side effects may include: dry mouth, weight gain, increased appetite, dizziness, back pain, constipation, speech disorder, increased saliva production, memory loss, tingling sensation on your skin.

    Depression in Combination with Fluoxetine (Adults)

    More common side effects may include: sedation, weight gain, increased appetite, dry mouth, fatigue, swelling, shaking, attention problems, blurred vision.

    Depression in Combination with Fluoxetine (Children and Adolescents)

    More common side effects may include: sedation, weight gain, increased appetite, shaking, increased triglyceride (a type of blood fat) levels.

    Less common side effects of Zyprexa 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.

    Increased cholesterol (fats in your blood) and triglycerides, and weight gain.

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

    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).

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Zyprexa 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 Zyprexa. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have diabetes; high cholesterol levels; high or low blood pressure; low white blood cell counts; seizures; high prolactin (a hormone that can affect lactation, menstruation, and fertility) levels; enlarged prostate; glaucoma (high pressure in the eye); paralytic ileus (impairment of the small intestine); Alzheimer's disease; thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself; heart or liver problems; a condition called phenylketonuria (an inability to process phenylalanine, a protein in your body); a history of strokes or "mini-strokes"; 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.


    Adults: The usual starting dose is 5-10 milligrams (mg) once a day.

    Adolescents 13-17 years: The usual starting dose is 2.5-5 mg once a day.

    Bipolar Disorder (Alone)

    Adults: The usual starting dose is 10 or 15 mg once a day.

    Adolescents 13-17 years: The recommended starting dose is 2.5 or 5 mg once a day.

    Bipolar Disorder (In Combination with Lithium or Valproate)

    Adults: The usual starting dose is 10 mg once a day.

    Depression (In Combination with Fluoxetine)

    Adults: The usual starting dose is 5 mg of Zyprexa given in combination with 20 mg of fluoxetine.

    Children and adolescents 10-17 years: The usual starting dose is 2.5 mg of Zyprexa given in combination with 20 mg of fluoxetine.

    Your healthcare provider may increase your or your child's dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

  • How should I take this medication?

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

    Take Zyprexa with or without food.

    Do not remove the Zyprexa Zydis tablets from the packaging until right before you take the medicine. Use dry hands when handling the tablets. To remove a tablet, open the packet and peel back the foil on the blister. Do not push the tablet through the foil. Place the tablet in your mouth, and let it dissolve.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Zyprexa.

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

    Do not get overheated or dehydrated while you are taking Zyprexa. 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 Zyprexa 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 Zyprexa with the following: alcohol, carbamazepine, certain blood pressure medicines, diazepam, dopamine, fluvoxamine, levodopa, lorazepam, omeprazole, or rifampin.

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

    The effects of Zyprexa during pregnancy are unknown. Zyprexa can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Zyprexa. 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 Zyprexa, 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. Protect from moisture and light.

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