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What other medical problems may occur when using Zyprexa?

Medical problems that can occur while taking the antipsychotic medication Zyprexa (olanzapine) include:
  • neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Symptoms of this uncommon but deadly syndrome include extremely high fever, rigid muscles, rapid or irregular heartbeat, fluctuating pulse or blood pressure, heavy sweating, drowsiness and confusion that could progress to a stupor or coma. NMS is a medical emergency, so if you experience any of these symptoms, get help right away.
  • high blood sugar and diabetes. Zyprexa can increase blood sugar levels, which can cause or worsen diabetes. Before you start Zyprexa, your doctor will test your current levels and then monitor them regularly while you're on the drug. If you already have diabetes, your doctor will keep a close eye on your glucose control. If you experience symptoms of high blood sugar while on Zyprexa -- weakness, excessive hunger, thirst, a frequent need to urinate -- let your doctor know immediately.
  • increase in blood cholesterol. Some patients on Zyprexa experience increases in their blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides. The risk is greatest in teenagers. Before starting Zyprexa, you should have a lipid profile to determine your current cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and your levels should be checked periodically while you're on the drug.
  • weight gain. It's not uncommon to put on pounds while taking Zyprexa. Studies suggest that teens tend to gain more than adults. If you're taking Zyprexa, your weight should be regularly monitored.
  • tardive dyskinesia (TD). This condition is marked by uncontrollable muscle movements, most commonly in the face and tongue. The risk increases the longer you take an antipsychotic drug like Zyprexa, and the symptoms may not go away even after you go off the medication. However, don't quit taking Zyprexa because you're worried about TD: If you think you may have developed it, see your doctor.
  • orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure). You're most likely to experience this condition, in which you feel dizzy and faint whenever you sit up or stand up, when you first start taking Zyprexa. Drinking alcohol or taking certain other drugs such as diazepam (Valium) increases the risk. To lessen this problem, change position slowly and rest your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing. If you feel dizzy or faint, lie down until you feel better.

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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.