Asenapine is used to treat schizophrenia (an illness that causes changes in perception, thoughts and behaviour). It helps to relieve symptoms common in schizophrenia, such as distorted thinking and emotional instability.
It is also used on its own or together with other medicines to treat mood disturbance called bipolar disorder.
Take Asenapine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Take this medicine on an empty stomach. Avoid eating and drinking for at least 10 minutes after taking this medicine.
Try to take it at the same time each day.
Do not swallow, chew or crush the tablet; it must be placed under your tongue to be effective. Asenapine is absorbed into your body through the lining of your mouth.
This medicine must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed otherwise, as stopping it suddenly could worsen your condition.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not take this medicine if you ever had an allergic reaction (rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to Asenapine.
Alert your doctor if you have severe liver disease as this medicine may not be suitable for you.
Asenapine is not suitable for patients with mood disorders related to dementia (group of symptoms affecting thinking and social abilities).
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- current or history of seizure disorder
- suicidal thoughts
- low blood pressure or heart disease
- disorders affecting the blood vessels and blood supply to the brain
- dehydration or low blood volume
- Parkinson’s disease (a brain disease that affects movement)
- dementia with Lewy Bodies (protein deposits develop in nerve cells in the brain affecting thinking, memory and movement control)
- risk for fall e.g. poor balance
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Asenapine to an elderly person. Elderly people may be more sensitive to the side effects.
If you are going for an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medicine.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
For as long as you are taking this medicine, you may need to have regular blood tests to check your body’s response to the medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have blood tests.
Asenapine may affect the ability of your body to adjust to temperature changes in the environment. Avoid exposure to very cold or very hot environments. Avoid strenuous exercise and activities like going to the sauna. Drink more water to prevent dehydration.
Asenapine may cause drowsiness and may cause you to suddenly fall asleep during your daily activities such as eating and watching television. Do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects include any of the following: nausea, headache, dizziness, vomiting, stomach pain or discomfort, constipation, dry mouth, indigestion, weight gain, increased appetite, increased salivation, tiredness, difficulty swallowing, change in taste, muscle rigidity, involuntary movement of the tongue or face, accidental falls, anxiety, irritability and difficulty sleeping.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- fits or seizures
- fever, severe muscle stiffness, sweating, low level of consciousness
- inability to stay still or restlessness
- shaking, muscle rigidity, slowed movement, slurred speech
- symptoms of high sugar in the blood such as thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing and a fruity breath odour
If you develop rashes, breathlessness, swollen mouth or eyes, stop taking Asenapine and inform your doctor quickly. These could be signs of an allergic reaction.
Asenapine may cause your blood pressure to fall suddenly when you get up from a sitting or lying down position and you may feel giddy. To minimise this problem, stand up slowly.
This medicine may also cause the level of your white blood cells to drop. White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Alert your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines used for depression or mood disorders e.g. fluvoxamine, paroxetine, chlorpromazine
- antibiotics e.g. moxifloxacin, gatifloxacin
- medicines for heart disease e.g. quinidine, amiodarone
- medicines for Parkinson’s disease e.g. levodopa
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Asenapine.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol will worsen the dizziness and drowsiness caused by Asenapine.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Protect from light and moisture.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.