Saphris (asenapine)

Saphris (asenapine)
Brand name: Saphris®
Active ingredient name: Asenapine
Type of drug: Atypical antipsychotic
Available in Canada from: Lundbeck Canada Inc.
Form: Oral tablets
Generic: No
Listed on Ontario formulary: Yes
What is Saphris used for?
Saphris is used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia in adults. It is also used to treat adults with bipolar disorder. Saphris is sometimes used to treat other conditions. Talk to your doctor to understand why you are taking Saphris.
How should I take Saphris?
Saphris is a sublingual tablet that must dissolve under your tongue. Place the tablet under your tongue and let it dissolve completely. Do not swallow, crush or chew. Do not eat or drink for at least 10 minutes after taking this medication. This drug is most often taken two times per day. 
How much Saphris should I take?
Saphris is available in 5 and 10 mg sublingual tablets in Canada. 
Adults: The dose range for Saphris is 5-10 mg twice daily. The maximum daily dose is 20 mg.  Your doctor may prescribe doses that are higher than 20 mg based on your individual situation.
What are the common side effects seen with Saphris? 

The most common side effects of Saphris include:
  • Drowsiness
  • Restlessness (akathisia)
  • Headache
  • Abnormal movements (extrapyramidal side effects)
  • Nausea, vomiting, upset stomach
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Weight gain
What are rare, but potentially serious side effects seen with Saphris?
  • A decrease in white blood cell count (agranulocytosis)
  • Cerebrovascular event (stroke)
  • Anaphylactic reaction (severe allergy)
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS)
Elderly individuals with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic medication are at an increased risk of death compared to individuals not receiving antipsychotics. Most deaths appear to be either cardiovascular or infectious. Saphris is not approved for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis. Some individuals with dementia may however be treated with this medication. Discuss the potential risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor for this indication.
What drugs interact with Saphris?
Tell all your doctors, pharmacists, and dentist that you are taking Saphris. You should also tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications, including those obtained without a prescription. At this time there appears to be only a handful of clinically important drug interactions with Saphris.
The following medications and types of medications may interact with Saphris
  • Certain medications for allergies (e.g., Benadryl [diphenhydramine])
  • Certain medications for sleep (e.g., lorazepam, zopiclone)
  • Certain medications for pain (e.g., fentanyl)
  • Fluvoxamine (may increase levels of Saphris) 
Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while taking Saphris.