Zyprexa® (olanzapine) is a prescription medication that is used for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It can also be taken together with fluoxetine to treat bipolar depression and treatment-resistant depression. The drug is not an antidepressant; Zyprexa belongs to a group of medications known as atypical (or second-generation) antipsychotics.
It is not entirely known how Zyprexa works for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. However, it is known that it blocks or lessens the effects of several chemicals in the brain. These brain chemicals (such as dopamine and serotonin) may be elevated in people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
In previous clinical studies of this drug for the treatment of schizophrenia, people taking it experienced improvements in their schizophrenia symptoms (including hallucinations and suspiciousness), compared to those not taking it. Longer studies also showed that Zyprexa can help people from needing to be hospitalized and can help symptoms from returning.
Previous clinical studies have also shown the drug to be effective for bipolar disorder treatment. In these studies, the medication was effective when used alone or with other bipolar disorder medications.
(Click Zyprexa for more information about Zyprexa's uses, to learn about the potential side effects associated with this medicine, and for suggestions on when and how to take this drug.)