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    Information about Olanzapine

    Olanzapine uses

    Olanzapine is used in the treatment of schizophrenia and mania.

    How olanzapine works

    Olanzapine is an atypical antipsychotic. It works by affecting the levels of chemical messengers (dopamine and serotonin) to improve mood, thoughts and behavior.

    Common side effects of olanzapine

    Sleepiness, Weight gain, Increased prolactin level in blood, Orthostatic hypotension (sudden lowering of blood pressure on standing), Dizziness, Dryness in mouth, Constipation, Restlessness, Tremor, Muscle rigidity
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Swati Mishra
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Ashish Ranjan
    MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
    Last updated on:
    27 Dec 2019 | 01:08 PM (IST)
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    Read Our Editorial Policy

    Available Medicine for Olanzapine

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    Expert advice for Olanzapine

    • Olanzapine works well in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
    • It is less likely to cause heart and movement problems as compared to other similar medicines.
    • It may take 4 to 6 weeks to see full effects on thoughts and mood. Keep taking it as prescribed.
    • Use caution while driving or doing anything that requires concentration as Olanzapine can cause dizziness and sleepiness.
    • It may increase your weight, blood sugar and cholesterol. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and monitor your blood levels regularly.
    • To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, rise slowly if you have been sitting or lying down.
    • Do not stop taking Olanzapine without talking  to your doctor first as it may cause worsening of symptoms.

    Frequently asked questions for Olanzapine


    Q. Can Olanzapine be used for anxiety?

    The treatment of anxiety with Olanzapine is not an approved indication. Olanzapine has been studied for treatment of anxiety disorders but the results have not been very convincing. However, it can be used along with anxiolytics in anxiety disorders for better results.

    Q. Is Olanzapine a sleeping pill?

    No, Olanzapine is not a sleeping pill. It belongs to the atypical antipsychotic class of medicines. It is used to treat schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that causes disturbed or unusual thinking, loss of interest in life, and strong or inappropriate emotions. Olanzapine also helps with bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder). It is a disease that causes episodes of depression, mania, and other abnormal moods.

    Q. How long does it take for Olanzapine to kick in?

    Olanzapine may start showing initial improvement within 1-2 week of starting. However, for full benefits it may take about 4-6 weeks. You should continue taking it and consult your doctor in case you feel that Olanzapine is not helping you.

    Q. What is the most important information that I should know about Olanzapine?

    Olanzapine can cause serious side effects which include increased risk of death in elderly people who are confused, have memory loss and have lost touch with reality (dementia-related psychosis). It is important to know that it may increase blood sugar levels in diabetics and also in patients who never had diabetes. Furthermore, it may cause weight gain and high fat levels in the blood which is more common in teenagers.

    Q. Can Olanzapine be taken during pregnancy?

    Olanzapine should be avoided during pregnancy and should only be given if benefits outweigh the risk. Using Olanzapine during last 3 months of pregnancy may cause unwanted symptoms in the unborn baby. These symptoms include shaking, muscle stiffness and/or weakness, sleepiness, agitation, breathing problems, and difficulty in feeding.

    Q. Can I stop taking Olanzapine if I am better?

    You should not stop taking Olanzapine without consulting your doctor. This is because sudden discontinuation of the medicine may cause unpleasant side effects which include sweating, unable to sleep, tremor, anxiety or nausea, and vomiting. To avoid such effects, your doctor will reduce the dose gradually before stopping the treatment.

    Q. Does smoking or alcohol interfere with working of Olanzapine?

    Yes, smoking interferes with working of Olanzapine causing an increase in its metabolism. One should avoid alcohol while taking Olanzapine since it may cause more drowsiness. However, if you are a smoker then your doctor may increase your dose depending on your response to treatment.

    Content on this page was last updated on 27 December, 2019, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)