Olanzapine

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General Information

Olanzapine is indicated for the treatment of:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder

Schizophrenia is a long-lasting and severe mental illness that affects how a person behaves, thinks, and feels. Persons with this condition may look like they are out of touch with reality. Even though Schizophrenia is not common as other mental illnesses, the symptoms can be very disabling such as:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Disorganized speech and behavior

This condition does not mean multiple-personality or split personality. Most individuals with this illness are not dangerous or violent.

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that affects your moods. Wherein, it can swing an extreme to another. It is also known as manic depression. People with this condition may have episodes of:

  • Depression – feeling very low and lethargic
  • Mania – feeling very high and overactive

Not like simple mood swings, every extreme episode of bipolar disorder may last for more than a few weeks. Some people may not experience a ‘normal’ mood very often. This can be treated and people with bipolar disorder can lead full and productive lives.

Olanzapine can help lessen some symptoms such as hallucinations. This may as well help you think more clearly and positively about yourself. It will help you take a more active part in everyday life and feels less agitated.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription. This is in the class of drugs known as atypical antipsychotics. This helps restore the balance of certain natural substance in the brain. It is to help control your mood. This drug is supplied as tablets for oral use. Each tablet contains Olanzapine as an active ingredient. It is a yellow crystalline solid which is practically insoluble in water. This is available in the dosage forms of 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, and 20 mg.

How does Olanzapine work?

Olanzapine works in the brain, which affects the activity of various neurotransmitters. It is particularly dopamine and serotonin or also known as 5HT. Dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters known to be involved in regulating behavior, mood, perception, and thinking.

The psychotic illness appears to be caused by disturbances in the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. Schizophrenia is known to be associated with an overactivity of dopamine in the brain. This may be responsible for the delusions and hallucinations that are a feature of this disease.

This medication blocks the receptors in the brain that dopamine acts on. This prevents the excessive activity of dopamine. In this way, it helps to control symptoms of Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder.

The effect of Olanzapine in the Dopamine and serotonin receptors is reported to produce the positive effects of this drug such as a decreased:

  • Hallucinations  
  • Delusions
  • Disorganized speech, behavior, and thought

How to use Olanzapine?

The dosage will depend on your medical condition, age, and response to the treatment. This is to be taken exactly as it is prescribed for the best result. You should not take more or less or more often than it is given by your doctor. Your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose.

Olanzapine is to be taken by mouth. It is usually taken once a day. You may take each dose with or without food. Swallow the tablet as a whole with a full glass of water. Don’t forget to take the drug at the same time each day and in the same way each day. This drug may help control your symptoms, but it will not cure your condition. It can take 4 to 6 weeks for Olanzapine to show its full effect, but some people get good effects right from the first week. Some studies now, however, show a good effect for some people with the first week of taking. Even if you feel well, continue to take this prescription. Do not suddenly stop taking this without consulting your doctor.

What are the side effects of Olanzapine?

Common side effects:

  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Tiredness
  • Weight gain
  • Increased appetite
  • Lack of energy
  • Tremor or shakes
  • Stomach upset or pain
  • Memory problems
  • Back pain
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Pain in your arms or legs
  • Numbness or tingly feeling
  • Inability to sit still
  • Dry mouth
  • Brest swelling or discharge
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Changes in behavior that might be offensive to others

Call for medical assistance if there are any signs of an allergic reaction:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Hives or itching
  • Swelling of your face, tongue, throat, or mouth

Warnings and Precautions

  • This is not licensed for use in children less than 18 years of age. However, it may sometimes be prescribed by specialists to treat the conditions in children aged 12-18 years.
  • This drug may cause drowsiness. Don’t drive or do dangerous activities until you know how this affects you.
  • If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. Never mind the missed dose and follow your regular dosing schedule if it’s almost time for the next dose. Do not double the dose to make up for a missed one.
  • While you are taking this medication, be sure to drink plenty of water every day.
  • Do not take this drug again if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal.
  • Before taking a dose, let your doctor know if you have ever had liver problems, dementia, heart disease, or low white blood cell count.
  • This medication may make you sweat less, making you more likely to get heatstroke. Avoid doing things that may cause you to overheat such as hard work or exercise in hot weather.
  • Get medical help right away if you have a fever that does not go away or mental/mood changes.
  • During pregnancy, Olanzapine should only be used when clearly needed. If you are breastfeeding women, consult your doctor first before using this drug.
  • This may affect body temperature regulation and reproductive and sexual function. That it may not be suitable for some people such as those with glaucoma, prostate enlargement, or cardiovascular disease.