Q. I was misdiagnosed as having bipolar disorder several years ago and was placed on several mood-altering medications, to no avail. I then went to see another doctor who properly diagnosed me as having borderline personality disorder and was then placed on some antipsychotic medication (Zyprexa and also Prozac). Zyprexa did help me with my mood but I discovered that it made me feel very zombie-like with a very mellow demeanor.
I have a very out-going type of personality normally, but that has been drastically affected by the drug. The worst part about taking the meds was the weight gain, which was about 35-40 pounds. The gain was gradual but it has really made me feel like crap about my appearance when I was very very happy with the way my body looked before the meds. It’s very hard to lose it also.
A. Zyprexa (olanzapine) has a long list of side effects, and weight gain heads the list. It is quite serious because it can lead to diabetes and other metabolic problems. Next in line are the zombie-like symptoms of sleepiness and fatigue. Anyone who is put on olanzapine must be warned of both these adverse reactions because they are more than troublesome. They can lead to very serious complications. Here are some other potential problems to be alert for:
Zyprexa (Olanzepine) Side Effects:
• Weight gain that can be hard to control, blood sugar elevation, diabetes
• Sleepiness, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness
• Uncontrollable muscle movements or contractions, tremor
• Dry mouth
• Elevated cholesterol and other blood fats
• Digestive distress, stomach pain, heartburn, constipation
• Slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, excessive saliva
• Arthritis, back pain, joint discomfort
• Fever (this requires immediate medical attention!)
• Forgetfulness, amnesia
• Irregular heart rhythms
• Liver and pancreas damage
• Anemia, blood diseases
There is another potential problem we are starting to learn about. Now that Zyprexa has generic drug competition, people are starting to complain about the effectiveness of some generic substitutes:
“My son has schizophrenia. The generic of Zyprexa was released last October. After 3 months, his schizophrenia symptoms returned. He is much better now that he has been back on the brand name for two months; however, the yearly cost is $16,000 and the brand-name drug is not covered by either of my insurance policies and is not a part of any copay. I cannot afford the brand name and the generic is a sugar pill as far as I am concerned. Unfortunately, the robots at my insurance company would rather have a hospitalized schizophrenic on placebo than a functioning one at his home.”
“I recently filled a prescription for the new generic Zyprexa (olanzapine) and it does not work at all. I took name brand Zyprexa for years, and this new generic is simply not up to snuff. I took 20 mg of the generic and did not sleep a wink. We called the pharmacy and doctor, to no avail. They are acting like I am crazy to even question the generic.
“My Medicare plan only covers generic olanzapine, and the name brand is $1300 per month, which is prohibitively expensive for me. ‘Lilly Cares,’ a service which provides free medicine to those who cannot afford it, won’t help if you have Medicare, leaving ordering online my only viable option. In the meantime, I’ll probably have to switch back to Haldol [haloperidol].”
We would like to learn about other people’s experience with Zyprexa (olanzapine). Have you experienced side effects? Has the generic worked for you or have you noticed a difference compared to the brand name? Please comment below.