What is Zyprexa used for? The prescription medication has been licensed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It can be used in adults and children age 10 and older. Off-label Zyprexa uses can include the treatment of behavior problems in elderly people with dementia and the treatment of other behavioral problems.
An Overview of Zyprexa UsesZyprexa® (olanzapine) is a prescription medicine known as an "atypical antipsychotic" that has been licensed to treat the following conditions:
When used in combination with fluoxetine (Prozac®), it is also approved for treating the following conditions:
- Bipolar depression
- Treatment-resistant depression (depression that has not responded to treatment with at least two different antidepressants).
The oral forms of Zyprexa (regular tablets and Zydis® tablets) are approved for all four uses. The short-acting injectable form is approved only for treating acute agitation due to schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The long-acting injectable form (Zyprexa Relprevv™) is approved only for treating schizophrenia.
What Is Schizophrenia?Schizophrenia is one of the most confusing and disabling mental illnesses. Schizophrenia is a group of mental disorders that involve abnormal thinking. Although the causes of schizophrenia are not fully understood, it is currently thought that genetics and environmental factors play an important role in developing the illness. Depending on the type of schizophrenia (see Types of Schizophrenia), symptoms may include the following:
- Thought disorders
- Disorders of movement
- Flat affect (immobile facial expression, monotonous voice)
- Lack of pleasure in everyday life
- A diminished ability to initiate and sustain planned activity
- Speaking infrequently, even when forced to interact
- Poor executive functioning (the ability to absorb and interpret information and make decisions based on that information)
- An inability to stay focused
- Problems with working memory (the ability to keep recently-learned information in mind and use it right away).
Although psychotherapy may be helpful for schizophrenia (see Psychosocial Therapy for Schizophrenics), medication is often essential to schizophrenia treatment. Zyprexa can help improve the symptoms of schizophrenia. It also helps to prevent schizophrenia relapses (worsening of schizophrenia); however, Zyprexa is not a cure for schizophrenia.