Bipolar Disorder Home > What Is Olanzapine Used For?
What is olanzapine used for? The prescription medication has been licensed to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Olanzapine can also help prevent relapses of schizophrenia. Off-label olanzapine uses can include the treatment of behavior problems in elderly people with dementia and the treatment of other behavior problems.
Olanzapine (Zyprexa®) is a prescription medicine that belongs to a class of drugs known as "atypical antipsychotics." It has been licensed to treat the following conditions:
When used in combination with fluoxetine (Prozac®), it is also approved for treating the following conditions:
- Bipolar depression
- Treatment-resistant depression (depression that has not responded to treatment with at least two different antidepressants).
The oral forms of olanzapine (regular tablets and Zydis® tablets) are approved for all four uses. The short-acting injectable form is approved only for treating acute agitation due to schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The long-acting injectable form (Zyprexa Relprevv™) is approved only for treating schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is one of the most confusing and disabling mental illnesses. Schizophrenia is a group of mental disorders that involve abnormal thinking. Although the causes of schizophrenia are not fully understood, it is currently thought genetics and environmental factors play an important role. Depending on the type of schizophrenia (see Types of Schizophrenia), symptoms may include the following:
- Thought disorders
- Disorders of movement
- Flat affect (immobile facial expression, monotonous voice)
- Lack of pleasure in everyday life
- A diminished ability to initiate and sustain planned activity
- Speaking infrequently, even when forced to interact
- Poor executive functioning (the ability to absorb and interpret information and make decisions based on that information)
- An inability to stay focused
- Problems with working memory (the ability to keep recently-learned information in mind and use it right away).
Although psychotherapy may be helpful in treating schizophrenia (see Psychosocial Therapy for Schizophrenics), medication is often essential to schizophrenia treatment. Olanzapine can help improve the symptoms of schizophrenia. It also helps to prevent schizophrenia relapses (worsening of schizophrenia). However, olanzapine is not a cure for schizophrenia.