Schizophrenia Home > Zyprexa Relprevv and Pregnancy

In animal studies, Zyprexa Relprevv (olanzapine extended-release injection) caused miscarriages and decreased fetal weights. As a result, the FDA has classified it as a pregnancy Category C medication. If you are taking Zyprexa Relprevv and pregnancy occurs, your healthcare provider will compare the benefits and risks of taking this drug before making a recommendation in your particular situation.

Can Pregnant Women Use Zyprexa Relprevv?

Zyprexa® Relprevv™ (olanzapine extended-release injection) is a prescription long-acting antipsychotic medication that is given as an injection. Based on the results of animal studies, this medication may not be safe for use during pregnancy.

What Is Pregnancy Category C?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Zyprexa Relprevv is classified as a pregnancy Category C medication.
Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant women but do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. Also, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
When given to pregnant rats and rabbits, Zyprexa Relprevv did not appear to increase the risk for birth defects. However, it did cause other problems in high doses, including an increased risk for miscarriage in both the rabbits and rats and decreased fetal weights in the rabbits. Zyprexa Relprevv has not been adequately studied in pregnant women.
However, it is important to note that animals do not always respond to medicines in the same way that humans do. Therefore, a pregnancy Category C medicine may be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to her unborn child.
All antipsychotic medicines, including Zyprexa Relprevv, may increase the risk for withdrawal symptoms and movement-related symptoms (called extrapyramidal symptoms) in newborns when used in the third trimester of pregnancy (the last three months). Symptoms that have been reported in newborns whose mothers took antipsychotics late in pregnancy include:
  • Agitation
  • Increased or decreased muscle tone
  • Tremors
  • Sedation
  • Serious breathing problems
  • Problems feeding.
In some cases, the symptoms resolved on their own. In other cases, however, the newborns required prolonged hospitalization or care in an intensive-care unit (ICU). 
Your healthcare provider may still recommend treatment with Zyprexa Relprevv despite these potential risks. This is because your symptoms may return if you stop treatment with this drug. Untreated schizophrenia can be dangerous to both a pregnant woman and her unborn baby, as it may increase the risk for problems such as premature delivery, low birth weight, and miscarriage. Do not stop treatment with Zyprexa Relprevv without first talking to your healthcare provider.
It is important to point out that, like many antipsychotic medicines, Zyprexa Relprevv can increase blood glucose levels (blood sugar levels), which can increase the risk for diabetes. Because high blood sugar and uncontrolled diabetes can be harmful to both the mother and the unborn child during pregnancy, your healthcare provider may choose to monitor your blood sugar closely if you are treated with Zyprexa Relprevv during pregnancy.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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