What is olanzapine?

Zyprexa, the brand name of olanzapine, is in a family of drugs called “atypical antipsychotics.” It is also sometimes used to help treat delusions associated with other mental conditions such as bipolar disorder. These are the only conditions approved of by the FDA for this drug.

Function
Zyprexa works as both a sedative and a mood stabilizer by acting on chemistry within the brain. This can help a patient suffering from GAD to get needed rest. Ideally, Zyprexa is to be used in combination with talk therapy. It cannot cure anxiety all by itself. By being sedated and having the moods stay steady, the patient has a better chance to pay attention to the talk therapy and try out any suggestions.

Dosage
Olanzapine is available in pill form and also can be used as an intramuscular injection. However, injections are usually only given in a hospital setting.
The medicine is available as either a regular or orally disintegrating tablet, according to the Mayo Clinic. Adult schizophrenic patients usually start off at about 5 to 10 mg per day and usually do not exceed 20 mg per day. Those with bipolar disorder will usually need 5 to 15 mg per day, though as much as 20 mg may be needed to treat manic episodes. Olanzapine should not be taken with food.

Effects
People may experience one or more of the following side effects: blurred vision, other changes in vision, bloating of the arms, hands, feet, lower legs or face, clumsiness, problems talking and difficulty swallowing. It will also greatly increase your appetite. This combination of not wanting to move but wanting to eat causes you to gain weight. The most common side effect is significant weight gain, even over 20 pounds in 3 months.

Expert Insight
Zyprexa can often greatly help people suffering from anxiety. It can help them relax, rediscover some joys in life and to regain a sense of humor. In your doctor’s mind, the need to help your mental health will often take precedence over the possibility of weight gain from Zyprexa. Always tell your doctor any strange symptoms you suddenly develop when taking Zyprexa. The use of a cane or support when standing up is greatly recommended, or else you may get dizzy.

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