Zyprexa (Olanzapine) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Zyprexa
Zyprexa or Olanzapine belongs to the group of atypical antipsychotic medications or AAPs. Also known as second generation antipsychotics, these drugs are approved for use in the treatment of psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, manic depression and bipolar disorder. Zyprexa is indicated for use in adolescents and adults above 13 years of age. Olanzapine, the active ingredient in this drug, works by opposing the action of serotonin and dopamine transmissions in the brain. Zyprexa promotes better functional capacity, higher efficacy, and an improved quality of life for patients suffering from psychotic disorders.
Side Effects for Zyprexa
Zyprexa can lead to heart failure, pneumonia and other fatal conditions in older adults suffering from dementia or related conditions and is therefore not recommended in such cases. The drug is also known to cause sudden weight gain and an increase in cholesterol levels. Therefore, Zyprexa users must get regular blood tests and check-ups done. Olanzapine is known to create dizziness and blurred vision, and can also impair reflexes temporarily. Therefore, one must avoid changing positions quickly or driving long distances while on this medication. It is possible to become dehydrated or overheated while taking Zyprexa. Drink lots of fluids and avoid hot weather or strenuous exercises. Users can develop metabolic disorders leading to hyperglycemia and pancreatitis. Consult your health practitioner immediately if you feel very thirsty, tired or dizzy while on this treatment.
Zyprexa is a prescription drug that contains Olanzapine, an antipsychotic medication. You must consult your doctor before you buy Zyprexa. Inform your doctor if you have a history of heart problems or liver disease. Diabetics must also use this drug only under their doctor’s supervision, and never on their own accord. Patients with a history of low white blood cell count must clearly make a mention about their medical condition to their health practitioner. Taking antipsychotic medications during the first trimester of pregnancy can cause fetal defects and problems in the newborn. Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or are planning to conceive.
Zyprexa is available in Zyprexa 2.5mg, Zyprexa 5mg, Zyprexa 7.5mg, Zyprexa 10mg, Zyprexa 15mg and Zyprexa 20mg strengths. The initial dosage for adults suffering from schizophrenia is Zyprexa 5mg or Zyprexa 10mg once daily. Age and medical condition are some of the factors that determine the dosage you are prescribed. In many cases, doctors initially prescribe a low dosage of 2.5mg daily and then slowly increase it to Zyprexa 15mg daily if needed. It is important to take the medicine exactly as prescribed. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember; however, if it is time for your next dose, skip the missed one and take the next dose as per the schedule. The maximum recommended dose for treatment of bipolar disorder and manic depression is Zyprexa 20mg.
Zyprexa can interact with a number of medications and cause serious side effects. Drugs such as Carbamazepine, which is used to treat bipolar disorder, can lower the amount of Zyprexa in the blood, thereby reducing its efficacy. Antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin and Ofloxacin can raise the amount of Zyprexa in the blood, leading to serious problems. Olanzapine users must also avoid alcohol as it can increase drowsiness and impair reflexes. Inform your doctor about any medications that you are taking before taking Zyprexa so that he/she can adjust the dosage accordingly.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.