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What should I know before using Zyprexa?

Zyprexa (olanzapine) is a medication that's prescribed for adults and teenagers ages 13 and older to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It's in a category of drugs called atypical antipsychotics that work by altering the activity of serotonin and norepinephrine, brain chemicals that affect emotions.

Zyprexa interacts with a number of other drugs. It should not be taken along with the antipsychotics chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, thioridazine, ziprasidone (Geodon) or the Tourette's syndrome medication pimozide (Orap). Make sure your doctor knows if you're taking any of these if he or she prescribes Zyprexa for you. Certain other drugs, including the antiseizure medication carbamazepine (Tegretol), drugs that treat Parkinson's disease, including levodopa (L-Dopa), antidepressants and antianxiety drugs, among many others, could affect your dosage of Zyprexa. This is only a partial list; tell your doctor about every drug you take, including over-the-counter products, natural remedies and supplements.

Zyprexa can cause excessive weight gain; it can also increase blood sugar levels as well as levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Your doctor will monitor you closely while you're on the drug.

If you're pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, be aware that Zyprexa has not been proved safe for a developing fetus and is not recommended during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. You shouldn't breastfeed if you're taking Zyprexa, because the drug is excreted in breast milk and could be harmful to a nursing baby.

You shouldn't drink alcohol while taking Zyprexa. It can worsen your side effects from the medication, including dizziness and drowsiness. Let your doctor know whether you drink alcohol and how much.

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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.