Olanzapine (Zyprexa)


Overview: Olanzapine, known by the brand name Zyprexa, is an antipsychotic of the Atypical class – the most frequently used class of antipsychotics. Olanzapine is used to treat Psychosis – including Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder among others. Olanzapine has helped many people control their symptoms, and is widely regarded as one of the most effective antipsychotics. Olanzapine is only available on prescription.


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Key Facts: It will take around four to six weeks for a patient to feel the full benefits of Olanzapine. However, anxiety should lessen rapidly upon consumption of the drug. There are some side effects to Olanzapine, as mentioned below. Olanzapine should be used without interruption – you shouldn’t suddenly stop taking the medicine. The medicine should help control your symptoms.


How do they work?: Antipsychotics cannot help cure mental health conditions, but they are usually effective in reducing and controlling some of the symptoms associated with these conditions. These symptoms can include delusions and hallucinations, disturbed thoughts, agitation, mania and violence. The medication works by blocking the action of dopamine. It is believed psychotic episodes are caused by the brain producing too much of the chemical dopamine. The medication also regulates levels of other chemicals that are responsible for regulating mood – such as noradrenaline and serotonin. It is recommended that Olanzapine is used in conjunction with therapy.


Dosage: The daily dose of Olanzapine can range from 5mg to 20mg. You should take Olanzapine at the same time each day, and swallow the tablet with a glass of water. You can take Olanzapine with or without food. There is no set duration of treatment for Olanzapine, with the course differing from patient to patient, dependent on circumstance and symptoms.


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Side Effects

With each box of Olanzapine, there will be an information leaflet enclosed. This will provide an exhaustive list of side effects. Side effects from Olanzapine can last any length of time from just a few days to permanent changes. It is natural to experience some side effects as your body gets used to the medication.


Common side effects of Olanzapine include weight gain, sleepiness, dizziness, increase in sugar in blood, constipation, tremor, fever and sexual dysfunction.


Serious side effects include suicidal thinking, chest pain, movement disorders, tardive dyskinesia, seizures, jaundice, blood clots. An overdose should be avoided. You should contact your doctor if any of these serious side effects take place.




You should always read the information leaflet that comes with your medication as it will include important information there. You should tell your doctor if you are taking any other medication. You shouldn’t use any other antipsychotic medication with Olanzapine. Do not use any antipsychotic with Tricyclic Antidepressants. Some medicines can interact unpredictably with Olanzapine – always ask your doctor for their advice. Particularly, medicines for Parkinson’s disease, some antibiotics and some mood stabilisers can interact poorly with Olanzapine.


Do not use Olanzapine if you suffer from glaucoma. Exert caution when using Olanzapine if you have Parkinson’s disease, prostate problems, liver or kidney problems, blood disorders, any heart problems, convulsions or diabetes.


Alcohol acts as a sedative, therefore it is recommended that anyone taking an antipsychotic doesn’t consume alcohol. Combining Olanzapine with recreational drugs is also not recommended.


Olanzapine  is not recommended in pregnancy or the breastfeeding stage. It is believed that Olanzapine can cause withdrawal symptoms in breastfed babies.


Other Atypical Antipsychotics: