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Can my elderly parent take olanzapine for dementia-related psychosis?

Olanzapine (Zyprexa) is in a class of medications called atypical antipsychotics. It is used to control symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions, hallucinations, unusual thinking and strange or unpredictable behavior and emotions. It is also used to control depression and mania in people with bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder).

However, olanzapine is not recommended for elderly people having psychotic symptoms as part of their dementia. Although their symptoms may improve, it can increase the risk of a cardiovascular event such as stroke, heart failure and sudden death.  A black box on the label warns about the risks of olanzapine in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.

Talk to your parent's doctor about alternative medications to treat symptoms of psychosis from causes other than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.