General information about Zyprexa
Zyprexa is a prescription drug which belongs to a family of drugs known as atypical antipsychotics. It is used for treatment of diseases of the brain such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In some cases, it is used in conjunction with fluoxetine to treat bipolar depression. The exact working of this drug is unknown. However, it is believed to regulate chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for mood swings, thus controlling the symptoms of the diseases.
Precautions/side effects of Zyprexa
The drug should not be used for treating dementia. It is known to cause heart failure, stroke as well as pneumonia in elderly patients with dementia. The drug contains traces of phenylalanine. Thus, patients with phenylketonuria should take this drug after informing the doctor. Apart from that, patients with kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, seizures, cancer, low count of white blood cells, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels should take this drug only informing the physician accordingly.
Zyprexa is also known to react with certain medications such as medications used for treating high blood pressure like ACE inhibitors, diazepam, rifampin, medicines used for treating Parkinson’s disease such as levodopa, ropinirole etc or omeprazole. Patients on any of these drugs should inform the physician before taking Zyprexa.
Zyprexa is a Category C pregnancy drug. Taking this drug in the least trimester of pregnancy may lead to breathing problems, feeding problems, seizures or other complications. Thus, pregnant women as well as women who are breastfeeding should refrain from taking this drug. However, if a woman gets pregnant while on this drug, the drug should not be discontinued without consultation with the doctor. Abrupt discontinuation of the drug can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms.
Zyprexa is also known to have certain side effects such as unusual weight gain, pain the abdomen, numbness in the arms or legs, irregular menstrual periods, pain in the back etc. However, in certain cases, it may lead to severe side effects such as difficulty in swallowing, fever, chills, jaundice, inflammation of the hands or legs, dry mouth or increased blood sugar. If any of these symptoms show up after taking the drug, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Important safety information
- It is important to stay hydrated while on this drug to avoid overheating and dehydration of the body. The drug as a tendency to make the body sensitive to cold or hot temperature. Thus, excessive exercise as well as direct exposure to extreme temperatures should be avoided while on this drug.
- Zyprexa can cause drowsiness. Thus, tasks which require attention such as driving or working on industrial machinery should be avoided immediately after taking the drug.
- It is important to go for regular blood tests while on this drug to monitor blood sugar levels. The drug can increase blood sugar levels abruptly leading to complications.
- Zyprexa can result in high cholesterol levels or abnormal weight gain in teenagers. Thus, regular blood tests are important while taking Zyprexa.
- Alcohol consumption should be kept to the bare minimum while taking Zyprexa as it can lead to dehydration.
Dosage of Zyprexa
Zyprexa is available in tablets of strength 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg and 20 mg. The usual prescribed dose of the drug is 5-10 mg once daily. However, the exact dose of the drug may differ depending on the diagnosis and response of the patient. The drug can be taken with or without food. However, it should not be swallowed as a whole.
The drug should be kept in the mouth and allowed to dissolve slowly. The overdose of the drug should be prevented at all costs. If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as possible. However, it should not be clubbed with the next dose. Overdose of the drug can cause serious complications such as difficulty in speaking, confusion, abnormal heart rate, breathlessness etc. which require immediate medical attention.
Storage of Zyprexa
Zyprexa should be stored in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. It should be stored out of reach of children and pets at all times. Zyprexa should be kept at room temperature and should not be allowed to freeze.