Schizophrenia Home > Zyprexa Relprevv Uses

Zyprexa Relprevv is a long-acting prescription medication approved to treat schizophrenia in adults. Although the drug can help control the symptoms of this condition, it is not a cure. This atypical antipsychotic works by balancing certain chemicals in the brain. There are also unapproved (off-label) uses for Zyprexa Relprevv, such as treating bipolar disorder.

What Is Zyprexa Relprevv Used For?

Zyprexa® Relprevv™ (olanzapine extended-release injection) is a long-acting prescription medication given by injection. It is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia. It belongs to a group of medicines known as atypical antipsychotics.
Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic mental illness that impairs a person's ability to interpret reality and think normally. It is an extremely disabling condition that often requires lifelong treatment.
The symptoms of schizophrenia typically emerge in the teenage years or early adulthood, although in rare cases can begin earlier or later. Some of the common symptoms of schizophrenia include but are not limited to:
  • Hallucinations (usually seeing or hearing things that are not real, but can involve any of the senses)
  • Delusions (false beliefs not based in reality)
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts
  • Abnormal body movements, such as agitated movements or not moving at all
  • Loss of pleasure and interest in everyday activities
  • An inability to express emotion
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of motivation
  • Abnormal thought process, which can make it difficult to stay focused, remember things, or make sense of information.
(Click Symptoms of Schizophrenia to learn more, including how symptoms are usually categorized into three groups -- positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms.)
No one knows what causes schizophrenia. Scientists do know that schizophrenia runs in families, and several genes are believed to be involved in increasing a person's risk for developing the condition. However, genes can't completely explain who will get schizophrenia and who will not. Environmental factors are also believed to a play a role (see Causes of Schizophrenia).
What is known is that people with schizophrenia have a disruption in certain naturally occurring brain chemicals, including dopamine and glutamate. Medications used to treat schizophrenia help restore the balance of brain chemicals, which can help relieve symptoms of the condition. There is no cure for schizophrenia, so even if treatment is successful, stopping a medication can cause symptoms to return.
Most people with schizophrenia will need lifelong treatment. In addition to medications, psychosocial treatment can help a person learn to manage their condition and lead a productive life (see Schizophrenia Treatment for more information on medicines and psychosocial interventions). Many people with schizophrenia also need to be hospitalized at some point during their illness, especially when symptoms are severe or they are in a period of crisis.
Zyprexa Relprevv is one of many medications prescribed to treat schizophrenia. It offers the advantage of being long-acting, so it only needs to be given once every two to four weeks. This can be beneficial for people who find it difficult to remember to take their medications, or who do not like taking medications.
A disadvantage is that it must be given by a trained healthcare provider, in a specially registered healthcare setting. So, a person must go to a clinic, hospital, or other healthcare facility to receive their dose.
There are several alternatives to Zyprexa Relprevv. In general, antipsychotic medications are divided into two groups -- conventional antipsychotics (also called typical antipsychotics), which are the older types, and atypical (or second-generation) antipsychotics, which are the newer medicines. Zyprexa Relprevv contains the active ingredient olanzapine. It is considered an atypical antipsychotic medication.
Other atypical antipsychotic medications include:
(Click Zyprexa Alternatives to learn more about other treatment options for schizophrenia.)
It is worthwhile to note that olanzapine is also the active ingredient in other medications, including:
  • A regular pill form, marketed as Zyprexa®
  • An orally disintegrating tablet (a tablet that dissolves in the mouth), marketed under the name Zyprexa Zydis®
  • A short-acting injection, also marketed as Zyprexa
  • A combination product that contains olanzapine and fluoxetine (Symbyax®).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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