Zyprexa and Diabetes
A number of side effects can occur during treatment with Zyprexa, and diabetes is one of them. In clinical studies, up to 1 percent of people taking this drug developed diabetes. Therefore, it is important that anyone taking Zyprexa be aware of the symptoms of diabetes, such as increased hunger, blurred vision, and fatigue.
Does Zyprexa Cause Diabetes?
Zyprexa® (olanzapine) is a prescription medication used to treat schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. While many Zyprexa side effects are merely annoying or bothersome, there are a few reactions to this drug that should be taken seriously. One of these is diabetes. Newer "atypical" antipsychotic medications (such as Zyprexa) seem to increase the risk of diabetes. Zyprexa may also worsen preexisting diabetes.
What Does the Research Say?
In clinical studies conducted before Zyprexa was approved, between 1 in every 100 and 1 in every 1,000 people taking Zyprexa developed diabetes. Since the medicine's approval, there have been several cases of extremely high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), which have led to coma or even death.
It is not entirely clear if Zyprexa is the cause of these cases of diabetes, however. People with schizophrenia, regardless of what medication they are taking, may be at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Also, diabetes is on the rise in the general population. These factors combined make it unclear whether there is a relationship between Zyprexa and diabetes. However, studies suggest that people taking it may be at a higher risk of developing this condition.
Why Might Zyprexa Cause Diabetes?
It is not entirely clear why Zyprexa might lead to diabetes. Weight gain is a significant risk factor for diabetes (see Diabetes Risk Factors), and weight gain is a common side effect of Zyprexa (see Zyprexa and Weight Gain). This medication may also have direct effects on blood sugar, through unknown mechanisms. It also might make the condition more obvious in people with previously undiagnosed diabetes.