Olanzapine

Olanzapine

Properties

This medicine contains olanzapine as active ingredient; a potent antipsychotic drug that blocks different chemical receptors in the brain. The exact way in which the medicine works is not known, but its antipsychotic effect may be produced by its effect on dopamine and serotonin receptors. Because antipsychotic drugs depress the action of dopamine and serotonin, they can disturb its balance with another chemical in the brain, acetylcholine. If that occurs, symptoms like those of parkinsonism can appear.

Prescribed for

This medicine is prescribed for:

•   Schizophrenia

•   Bipolar disorder

•   Depression or mania associated with bipolar disorder

Before using this medicine

Before you use this medicine check with your doctor, or pharmacist:

•    if you ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any psychoactive drug;

•    if you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant while using this medicine;

•   if you are breast-feeding an infant;

•   if you have liver or kidney disease;

•   if you have a heart problem;

•   if you have a history of seizures (convulsions, epilepsy).

Treatment

•    This medication is used for treatment of severe mental, nervous and emotional conditions. The drug is known to help the management of signs and symptoms of schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorders and resistant depression.

•    Usual dosage: The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Starting dose for adults is 5-10 mg a day. The daily dose may be increased gradually up to 20 mg a day if needed. Seniors should start with lower doses and increase gradually until maximum benefit is achieved. The medicine is not recommended for children.

•    If you forget to take a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as you remember. The tablets should be swallowed with liquid. The oral solution should be diluted in 3 to 4 ounces of liquid (water or orange juice).

•    Do not discontinue the use of this drug without consulting your doctor. Dosage may require a gradual reduction before stopping.

•    For safe and effective use of medicine: Follow your doctor’s instructions if this medicine was prescribed; follow the manufacturer’s   package directions if you are treating yourself.

Side Effects

Along with the needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Possible side effects include:

Drowsiness

Anxiety

High fever

Rapid heartbeat

Tremor

Profuse sweating

Confusion

Irritability

Dizziness

Constipation

Difficulty urinating

Involuntary movements

Digestive problems

Rash

Sexual dysfunction

Warnings and Cautions

•    The medicine has been associated with increased mortality in seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The specific causes of death related to atypical psychotic drugs were either due to a heart-related event or infection, mostly pneumonia.

•    Suicide is a danger with all psychotics and antidepressants. People taking this drug should be limited to a 30-day supply of medication at any time to reduce the chances of possible overdose.

•    A series set of side effects known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome has been associated with some antipsychotic drugs. The symptoms that constitute neuroleptic malignant syndrome include:

•   High fever

•   Muscle rigidity

•   Mental changes

•   Irregular pulse

•   Irregular blood pressure

•   Sweating

•   Abnormal heart rhythm.

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is potentially fatal and requires immediate medical attention.

•   The medicine can produce uncontrolled movements including:

•   Tremor

•   Spasm of neck muscles

•   Rolling back of the eyes

•   Convulsions

•   Difficulty swallowing

•   Symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease

These effects usually disappear after the drug has been discontinued. Face, tongue, and jaw symptoms may persist, especially in older  women.

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

•    This medication has been associated with obesity, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and diabetes. People with diabetes or risk factors for diabetes such as elevated blood glucose levels or a family history of diabetes should have their blood glucose levels monitored regularly and be vigilant for the symptoms of hyperglycemia including increased thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue.

•    Because these drugs can have permanent as well as temporary side effects, the minimum necessary dosage is used. This is found by starting with a low dose and increasing it until symptoms are controlled. Sudden withdrawal of antipsychotics after more than a few weeks can cause nausea, vomiting, sweating, headache and restlessness. For this reason the dose is reduced gradually when the drug treatment needs to be stopped.

Driving and Hazardous Work

Do not drive until you learn how the medicine affects you. Do not work around hazardous machinery. Do not climb ladders or work in high places. Danger increases if you drink alcohol or take medicines affecting alertness and reflexes.

Overdose

The following symptoms may be a sign of overdose:

Extreme drowsiness

Rapid heartbeat

Slurred speech

Excessive sweating

Call a doctor or hospital emergency room for instructions. If necessary start first aid immediately.

Interactions

The effect of this medicine may be reduced if it is taken together with carbamazepine. It may increase the effect of antihypertensives. Taken together with central nervous system depressants it may increase the sedative effect.

•   Be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you are currently taking.

Storage

Tablets and oral solution should be stored at room temperature; store away from heat and direct light. Keep out of reach of children, since this medicine may be dangerous in children.

KNOWLEDGE BASE
About Genomic Medicine UK

Genomic Medicine UK is the home of comprehensive genomic testing in London. Our consultant medical doctors work tirelessly to provide the highest standards of medical laboratory testing for personalised medical treatments, genomic risk assessments for common diseases and genomic risk assessment for cancers at an affordable cost for everybody. We use state-of-the-art modern technologies of next-generation sequencing and DNA chip microarray to provide all of our patients and partner doctors with a reliable, evidence-based, thorough and valuable medical service.

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