Studies have shown that older adults with dementia (a brain disorder that affects the ability to remember, think clearly, communicate, and perform daily activities and that may cause changes in mood and personality) who take antipsychotics (medications for mental illness) such as olanzapine have an increased chance of death during treatment. Older adults with dementia may also have a greater chance of having a stroke or mini-stroke during treatment.
Olanzapine is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of behavior disorders in older adults with dementia. Talk to the doctor who prescribed this medication if you, a family member, or someone you care for has dementia and is taking olanzapine. For more information visit the FDA website: Web Site
Olanzapine is used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia (a mental illness that causes disturbed or unusual thinking, loss of interest in life, and strong or inappropriate emotions) in adults and teenagers 13 years of age and older. It is also used to treat bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder; a disease that causes episodes of depression, episodes of mania, and other abnormal moods) in adults and teenagers 13 years of age and older. Olanzapine is in a class of medications called atypical antipsychotics. It works by changing the activity of certain natural substances in the brain.
Olanzapine comes as a tablet and an orally disintegrating tablet (tablet that dissolves quickly in the mouth) to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. Take olanzapine at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take olanzapine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Do not try to push the orally disintegrating tablet through the foil. Instead, use dry hands to peel back the foil packaging. Immediately take out the tablet and place it in your mouth. The tablet will quickly dissolve and can be swallowed with or without liquid.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of olanzapine and gradually increase your dose.
Olanzapine may help control your symptoms, but it will not cure your condition. It may take several weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of olanzapine. Continue to take olanzapine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking olanzapine without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will probably want to decrease your dose gradually.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking olanzapine,
Talk to your doctor about eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.
Be sure to drink plenty of water every day while you are taking this medication.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Olanzapine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section or the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:
Olanzapine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Taking olanzapine may cause the level of fats in your blood to increase. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking olanzapine.
Teenagers who take olanzapine are more likely than adults who take olanzapine to gain weight, have increased levels of fat in their blood, develop liver problems, and experience side effects such as sleepiness, breast enlargement, and discharge from the breasts. Talk to your child's doctor about the risks of treating your child with olanzapine. Your child's doctor may choose to first prescribe a different medication that does not have these risks.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Always store the orally disintegrating tablets in their sealed package, and use them immediately after opening the package.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to olanzapine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: June 15, 2017.