Olanzapine long-acting injection (ZypAdhera)

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Olanzapine long-acting injection will be given to you by your doctor or nurse every 2-4 weeks.

The injection may cause you to feel sleepy or dizzy for a few hours afterwards.

If you miss an appointment for an injection, make another appointment as soon as possible.

Olanzapine may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight than normal. Use a sunscreen to protect your skin.

Type of medicineAtypical antipsychotic
Used forEasing the symptoms of schizophrenia and other similar mental health problems in adults
Also calledZypAdhera®
Available asLong-acting depot injection

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that causes disordered ideas, beliefs and experiences. Olanzapine is used to relieve the symptoms of schizophrenia and other similar mental health problems. Such symptoms include hearing, seeing, or sensing things that are not real, having mistaken beliefs, and feeling unusually suspicious.

Olanzapine works on the balance of chemical substances in your brain.

Long-acting or 'depot' injections are used once your symptoms have been eased by taking tablets. The injection slowly releases olanzapine into your body and is given every 2-4 weeks. The main advantage of a depot injection is that you do not have to remember to take tablets every day.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start having olanzapine injections, it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have a heart condition or blood vessel disease.
  • If you have liver, kidney, or prostate problems.
  • If you have breathing problems.
  • If you have any of the following: diabetes, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, depression, glaucoma (raised pressure in your eye), or myasthenia gravis (this is a condition causing muscle weakness).
  • If you have a blood or bone marrow disorder.
  • If you are constipated or think you may have a blockage in your bowel.
  • If you have ever had jaundice (yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes).
  • If you have a condition called phaeochromocytoma (a tumour on your adrenal gland).
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • Before you start this treatment, ask to read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about olanzapine and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from having it.
  • Olanzapine injection will be given to you in a hospital outpatient clinic by a doctor or nurse. If you haven't received an injection like olanzapine before, a small dose is usually given as a test before you have a normal dose. This is to see how well you tolerate the injection. The injection is given into a muscle of your buttock (bottom). As a routine, you will be asked to stay in the hospital department where you can be observed for at least three hours after each injection. This is because it can make you feel tired or dizzy after it is given. You will be advised not to drive or use tools or machines for the remainder of the day.
  • You may be asked to continue taking your tablets for a short while after you have had your first injection. This is because it can take a few weeks before you feel the full effect from the injection.
  • Your treatment will require careful monitoring to make sure that you get the best possible benefit from olanzapine. Keep your regular doctor's appointments so that you get your injections on time, and your progress can be checked. If you miss an appointment for an injection, contact the hospital to arrange for another appointment as soon as possible.
  • Olanzapine may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight than normal. Use a sunscreen that protects against UVA light and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, especially in strong sunlight or until you know how your skin reacts. Do not use sunbeds.
  • If you are having any dental treatment or an operation, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you have had an olanzapine injection. This is important because it may interfere with any anaesthetic you receive.
  • If you buy or take any 'over-the-counter' medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with olanzapine.
  • If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice about drinking while you are on olanzapine. Alcohol can increase the chance that you experience side-effects and may not be recommended for you.
  • If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently, as olanzapine may affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will advise you about this.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common olanzapine side-effects
What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sleepy, dizzy, light-headed, or tiredSit or lie down until the feeling passes. Do not drive or use tools or machines
Pain at the site of the injectionThis should not last long. If the area becomes red, swollen or 'lumpy', let your doctor know
Dry mouthTry chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets
ConstipationDrink plenty of water, and eat a well-balanced diet containing plenty of fruit, vegetables, and fibre
Increased appetite and weight, unusual movements, rash, feeling hot, reduced interest in sex, and erectile dysfunctionDiscuss these with your doctor if any become troublesome

Important: your doctor will discuss with you the possibility of unwanted side-effects that you must let your doctor know about without delay. Contact your doctor straightaway if you experience any of the following:

  • 'Flu-like' symptoms including muscle stiffness, a high temperature, confusion, a fast heartbeat and sweating. These may be signs of a rare but serious condition known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome.
  • Any abnormal face or body movements, or any involuntary muscle movements. These are called extrapyramidal symptoms.
  • A feeling of restlessness (such as not being able to sit or stand still). This is called akathisia.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you suspect that you have had an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
13377 (v2)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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