Olanzapine
DESCRIPTION

Olanzapine is an atypical antipsychotic drug in the form of white, round tablets. It may also come as orally disintegrating tablets.

How It Works

The medication works by restoring the balance or altering the activity of certain natural substances in your brain.

Uses

Olanzapine is normally used to treat adults and teenagers experiencing certain mental/mood conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, please note that olanzapine is only used to control the symptoms associated with these conditions, but not to cure it.

Dosage

Olanzapine should normally be taken orally once daily around the same time every day. It can be taken with or without food. Take the medication exactly as per the advice of your doctor and read the prescription label for detailed information. Your doctor may start you’re on a low dose and gradually increase it if necessary. Kindly note that it may take a few weeks or longer to see the effect of the medication. Never alter the dose or the dosage frequency. It is also unsafe to double dose in the case that you have missed a dose. Once you feel better, continue to take olanzapine unless advised otherwise by your doctor.

Side Effects

You may experience some side effects when taking olanzapine. If one or more of the following becomes particularly acute and rather tenacious, consult your doctor:

Drowsiness
Dizziness
Restlessness
Unusual behavior
Depression
Difficulty falling/staying asleep
Weakness
Difficulty walking
Constipation
Weight gain
Dry mouth
Arms, legs, back, or joints pain
Breast enlargement/discharge
Late/missed menstrual periods
Decreased sexual ability

There are side effects that could be a sign of a complication or a more serious condition. If you find yourself experiencing any of the following, get immediate medical assistance:

Seizures
Changes in vision
Swelling of any part of the limbs
Unusual and uncontrollable movements of your face/body
Sore throat, fever, chills, and other signs of infection
Very stiff muscles
Excess sweating
Fast/irregular heartbeat
Rash that may occur with fever/swollen glands/swelling of the face
Skin redness/peeling
Hives
Difficulty breathing/swallowing

Be aware that your blood sugar can increase; if you experience extreme thirst/dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, breath that smells fruity, frequent urination, extreme hunger, blurred vision, weakness, or decreased consciousness, contact your doctor immediately as this may be signs of a more life-threatening condition. Should you take olanzapine for schizophrenia, you have an increased chance of developing diabetes.

Also know that olanzapine may increase the level of fats in your blood, with teenagers being more vulnerable. They will also have a higher tendency of gaining weight, developing liver problems, and experiencing side effects like sleepiness, and breast enlargement/discharge. Regardless of your age, make it a point to discuss with your doctor the possible risks of taking this medication.

Precautions

When taking olanzapine, make sure to bring the following to your doctor’s attention:

If you are allergic to olanzapine, or any other medications for that matter.
The list of prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking or planning to, including vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products.
If you have a history of using street drugs or overused prescription medications.
All medical conditions, regardless of the severity, you have ever had or currently suffering from.
If you are having any signs of dehydration at the time of the first appointment or whether you start experiencing the signs during the treatment.
If you have ever had experienced severe side effects from other medication for mental illness and was advised to stop.
Whether you are pregnant or plan to be, breastfeeding, or conceive while taking the medication.
When you are scheduled for any type of surgery.
If you use tobacco products as these may decrease the effectiveness of olanzapine.
If your diet includes consuming grapefruit.
If you plan to participate in a vigorous activity or be exposed to extreme heat as olanzapine can cause your body to cool down more slowly when it gets hot.

It is important to note that olanzapine has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of older adults with dementia because it increases the chances of having a stroke, mini-stroke, or death during treatment. So, talk to your doctor who prescribed olanzapine to you or someone you care who has dementia before taking it.

Self-Care

Ensure that you are sufficiently hydrated during the treatment.
Do not drive or operate heavy machinery as this medication may make you drowsy.
Do not drink alcohol while on olanzapine as this can add to the drowsiness.
You might experience fast/slow heartbeat, dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting if you get up too quickly from the bed; if so, then get up slowly and rest your feet on the floor for a little while before standing up.

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