Zyprexa (olanzapine)

Zyprexa (olanzapine)
Brand name: Zyprexa® and Zyprexa® Zydis®
Active ingredient name: Olanzapine
Type of drug: Atypical antipsychotic
Available in Canada from: Eli Lilly Canada Inc.
Form: Oral tablets, orally disintegrating tablets
Generic: Yes: Apo-Olanzapine, Apo-Olanzapine ODT (Apotex Inc.); Ava-Olanzapine (Avanstra Inc.); CO Olanzapine, CO Olanzapine ODT (Cobalt Pharmaceuticals Co.); Mylan-Olanzapine (Mylan Pharmaceuticals ULC); Olanzapine, Olanzapine ODT (Pro Doc Ltée); Olanzapine, Olanzapine ODT (Meliapharm Inc.); Olanzapine (Sanis Health Inc.); PHL-Olanzapine, PHL-Olanzapine ODT (Pharmel Inc.); PMS-Olanzapine, PMS-Olanzapine ODT (Pharmascience Inc.); Riva-Olanzapine, Riva-Olanzapine ODT (Laboratoire Riva Inc.); Sandoz Olanzapine, Sandoz Olanzapine ODT (Sandoz Canada Inc.); Teva-Olanzapine, Teva-Olanzapine ODT (Teva Canada Ltd.)
Listed on Ontario formulary: Yes

Note:Zyprexa® is also available as an injection—Zyprexa® IntraMuscular. [Zyprexa IM

What is Zyprexa used for?
Zyprexa is used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and related psychotic illnesses in adults. It may also be used to treat bipolar disorder. Zyprexa is sometimes used to treat other conditions. Talk to your doctor to understand what you are using Zyprexa for.
How should I take Zyprexa?
Zyprexa can be taken with or without food.  It can be taken once daily.
How much Zyprexa should I take?
Zyprexa is available in 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10, 15, and 20 mg tablets. Zyprexa Zydis orally disintegrating tablets are available in 5, 10, 15, and 20 mg doses.The usual dose range for Zyprexa is 5-20 mg daily.  Your doctor may prescribe doses greater than 20 mg based on your clinical situation.  Talk to your doctor about your specific dose.

What are the common side effects seen with Zyprexa? 
The most common side effects of Zyprexa include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Weight gain (can be significant)
  • Increased appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
  • Hyperlipidemia (increase in cholesterol and/or triglycerides)

What are rare, but potentially serious side effects seen with Zyprexa?

  • Decreased white blood cell count (agranulocytosis)
  • Cerebrovascular event (stroke)
  • Anaphylactic reaction (severe allergy)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis
  • 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. Zyprexa Intramsucular 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 medications interact with Zyprexa?
Tell all your doctors, pharmacists, and dentist that you are taking Zyprexa. You should also tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications, including those obtained without a prescription and herbal and vitamin products. When the levels of a medication are increased or decreased in your bloodstream, this can affect the medication’s efficacy and safety.

The following drugs might increase the levels of Zyprexa in the bloodstream

  • Fluvoxamine (antidepressant),
  • Ketoconazole (antifungal)
  • Ciprofloxacin (antibiotic)

The following drugs might decrease the levels of Zyprexa in the bloodstream

  • Omeprazole (proton pump inhibitor)
  • Cigarettes

Smoking cigarettes interacts with Zyprexa, by decreasing the levels in the blood. If you smoke regularly inform your healthcare provider and indicate approximately how many cigarettes you smoke per day. If you decide to quit and/or reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke it is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist, as your Zyprexa dose may need to be adjusted.

Other types of medications that may interact with Zyprexa:

  • Certain medications for  allergies (e.g., Benadryl [diphenhydramine])
  • Certain medications for sleep (e.g., lorazepam, zopiclone)
  • Certain medications for pain (e.g., fentanyl)

Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while taking Zyprexa.