Olanzapine 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 to treat a dysfunctional mood condition called bipolar disorder.
Take Olanzapine 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.
This medicine may be taken with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Olanzapine is available as a coated tablet, an orodispersible (orally disintegrating) tablet or as wafers.
If you have been given the coated tablet, swallow it whole with a glass of water.
If you have been given the orodispersible tablet, remove it from the foil only just before you take it. Place it directly in your mouth. It will dissolve quickly. Swallow it once it has dissolved in your mouth. You can also dissolve it in a glass of water, juice (orange or apple), milk or coffee just before you want to take it. Drink it immediately once the tablet has dissolved completely. The orodispersible tablet is easily broken. Handle it gently. Do not touch the tablet with wet hands.
If you have been given the wafer, remove it from the foil only just before you take it. Place it directly on the tongue. Allow it to dissolve and swallow it with your saliva. The wafer is easily broken. Handle it gently. Do not touch the wafer with wet hands.
Olanzapine 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.
Olanzapine is not suitable for patients with dementia-related psychosis.
Alert your doctor if you have glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye) as this medicine may not be suitable for you.
Inform your doctor if you have:
- an enlarged prostate or difficulty urinating
- epilepsy (fits) or a history of fits
- Parkinson's disease
- heart, liver or kidney disease
- bowel blockage or bowel paralysis (paralytic ileus) which causes severe constipation
- myasthenia gravis (a condition that causes muscle weakness)
- diabetes or have a history of diabetes
- high levels of cholesterol in the blood
- blood disorders
- thyroid disease
- risk factors for blood clot
- suicidal thoughts
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Olanzapine may affect the way your body adjusts to temperature changes in the environment. Avoid exposure to very cold or very hot environments.
The orodispersible tablet contains phenylalanine and may not be suitable for you if you suffer from phenylketonuria.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly. He may need to do routine blood tests such as fasting blood glucose and lipid profile, before and periodically during your treatment with Olanzapine.
Olanzapine may cause dizziness and may also make you suddenly fall asleep during your daily activities. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert. Dizziness may be worse when you get up from a sitting or lying down position, especially if you are taking Olanzapine for the first time or if your dose is still being adjusted. This is normal and should disappear gradually as you get used to the medicine. It will help if you get up slowly from a sitting or lying down position.
Some common side effects with Olanzapine include increased appetite, weight gain, dry mouth, constipation, indigestion, stomach discomfort, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, weakness and water retention.
Other side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- feeling of restlessness or involuntary, repetitive body movement
- muscle stiffness, high fever, excessive sweating, altered mental status
- yellowing of the eyes or skin
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:
- medicine for anxiety e.g. diazepam, alprazolam
- medicines for cold and allergy e.g. antihistamines
- medicines for depression or mood disorders e.g. fluvoxamine, imipramine, lithium
- medicines for epilepsy (fits) e.g. carbamazepine, valproic acid
- medicine for Parkinson's disease e.g. levodopa
- certain antibiotics e.g. ciprofloxacin, rifampicin
- medicines for irregular heartbeat e.g. quinidine, procainamide
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Olanzapine.
If you are taking activated carbon or activated charcoal pills, do not take them at the same time that you take Olanzapine. If you must take carbon or charcoal pills, take them at least 2 hours before or after Olanzapine.
Always notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicine, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol will worsen the dizziness and drowsiness caused by Olanzapine.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.