What is Zyprexa?

Zyprexa or olanzapine is in the class of atypical antipsychotic medications for the treatment of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Zyprexa was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 and is made by Eli Lilly and Company.

Zyprexa FDA Alert

The FDA issued an alert in April 2005 for older patients who are treated with atypical antipsychotic medications like Zyprexa for dementia. These patients have a higher chance of dying than those who did not take such medications. The FDA also said that the use of such antipsychotic drugs for treatment of dementia is not approved, and instructed manufacturers to indicate this information on their product’s labels.

Health Risks of Zyprexa

Antipsychotic medications such as Zyprexa may cause serious health problems like:

  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), a life-threatening nervous system problem, which can cause high fever, stiff muscles, sweating, fast or irregular heartbeat, change in blood pressure, and confusion. NMS can also affect your kidneys and is a medical emergency. Call your healthcare professional right away if you experience these symptoms.
  • Tardive Dyskinesia (TD), a movement problem. Call your healthcare professional right away if you get muscle movements that cannot be stopped.
  • High blood sugar and diabetes. Patients with diabetes or who have a higher chance for diabetes should have their blood sugar checked often.
  • Strokes have occurred in older patients treated for mental illness from dementia. Zyprexa is not approved for this use.

Other serious side effects from Zyprexa use may include:

  • Increase or decrease in body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure seen as dizziness
  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (seen as fever and bruising)
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Persistent erection
  • Possible fainting
  • Difficulty swallowing

The most common side effects from Zyprexa use include:

  • Vision changes
  • Weight gain
  • Saliva increase
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to control urination
  • Uncontrolled movements
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rash

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Professional?

Let your doctor know if any of the following apply to you before taking Zyprexa:

  • Are trying to become pregnant, are already pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • Have a brain tumor
  • Have a condition called phenylketonuria
  • Have or had heart problems
  • Have or had liver disease
  • Drink alcohol
  • Have or have had seizures
  • Have Reye’s syndrome
  • Have or had diabetes or increased blood sugar
  • Have an obstruction of your intestines

Interactions with Other Drugs and Foods

Consult with your doctor before taking Zyprexa if you are taking any other prescription or non-prescription medications, vitamins, or herbals supplements.

Your doctor may adjust the dosage of your medication or more closely observe you if you are taking any of the following:

  • Fluoxetine and paroxetine
  • Blood pressure medicines
  • Rifampin
  • Levodopa and medicines called dopamine agonists
  • Carbamazepine
  • Clozapine
  • Phenytoin
  • Phenobarbital

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Zyprexa.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Taking Zyprexa?

The sudden drop in blood pressure that may occur when you take Zyprexa may cause dizziness and, at times, fainting. This is especially so if you are taking Zyprexa for the first time or if the dosage has been increased.

Zyprexa also affects thinking, judgment or motor skills that’s why it is important to take precautions before operating machinery and vehicles if Zyprexa affects you in this way.

Zyprexa may also affect the regulation of body temperature so it is important to take necessary steps to avoid dehydration or overheating while taking this drug.

Zyprexa – Get Legal Help

Even if most medicines are expected to have side effects, it is the duty of the manufacturer of these medicines to inform the medical community and the public of known risks associated with the drugs they produce. Failure to give adequate warning to the public and the medical community of the dangers of the drug makes the manufacturer liable under product liability for any injury that may be caused by their product.

If you or your loved one has suffered any of the dangerous symptoms or unusual reaction after taking Zyprexa, go to your doctor or the hospital as soon as possible. You may also consider consulting with an experienced attorney in order to get more information regarding your rights and possible remedies for the injuries you suffered because of the use of Zyprexa.

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