Zyprexa®, also known as olanzapine, is a prescription medicine used to help patients who suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other serious mental problems. The medicine helps patients experience less anxiety and fewer hallucinations. It also helps them to focus and avoid psychotic episodes.
This type of medicine is called an atypical anti-psychotic drug. It works by balancing chemicals within the brain so that symptoms of mental disorders are suppressed. When a doctor prescribes Zyprexa®, it usually takes up to four weeks before the patients feels the effects of the drug.
Zyprexa® is never used to treat symptoms linked to dementia in elderly patients. If a dementia patient takes Zyprexa®, he or she has a greater chance of heart failure, pneumonia, or death. The medicine is taken once day. Patients can decide if they want to take the medicine with or without food.
As with any medicine, side effects can occur when a patient takes Zyprexa®. Common side effects include dizziness, weight gain, fatigue, and drowsiness. Abdominal pain, dry mouth, and constipation may also occur. These mild side effects should not discourage patients from continuing with the medication. It's important patients communicate with doctors to find the proper dosage.
Some patients may experience serious side effects that require them to immediately notify the doctor. For example, some patients who take Zyprexa® may experience rapid heartbeat, seizures, and numbness in the hands and feet. They may suffer from walking difficulties, swelling, and other abnormal reactions. Rare side effects such as chest pain, headaches, vision difficulties, and weakness on one side of the body are signs that the patient should immediately go to the hospital.
Before taking Zyprexa®, it's important that patients tell their doctors information about their medical and family history. For example, patients who have a history of diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, or liver disease may need to receive a smaller dosage of the medication. Other medical issues such as an enlarged prostate or a history of breast cancer will also determine whether the doctor will prescribe it to a patient.
Pregnant women and those who plan to become pregnant should not take Zyprexa®. This is because it is not known if the drug harms unborn children. Children younger than 18 are not prescribed this drug as it is not known whether the drug harms children. Since patients who take this medicine have disorders that cause suicidal thoughts, patients should notify their doctors if they think about harming themselves.