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Olanzapine (Zyprexa)

How does this medicine work?

Olanzapine (oh-lan-za-peen) is an antipsychotic medicine. It is used to treat psychological conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, and self-injurious behaviors. Olanzapine stabilizes the mood of the person taking it. It has fewer side effects than other antipsychotics.

How should I give it?

Olanzapine is given by mouth as a pill or as a disintegrating tablet. Give it at regular times to keep a steady level in the bloodstream. Give it exactly as prescribed.

___ For children who cannot swallow pills:

  • Crush it between 2 spoons or crush it inside a plastic bag or in folded paper.
  • Mix the powder with a very small amount (about 1 teaspoon) of soft food, such as applesauce, chocolate syrup, ice cream, jelly, or yogurt. Make sure your child takes all of the mixture.
  • If using disintegrating tablet form, use dry hands to take it from the foil. Place on your child's tongue and let it melt. Water is not needed.

Are there any precautions about food or other medicines?

You can give this medicine with or without food.

This medicine, alone or with other medicines, may cause drowsiness.

Tell your doctor or nurse practitioner right away if your child is taking lithium, carbamazepine (Tegretol®), or ciprofloxacin (Cipro®). Please check with the doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, herbs, or vitamins.

What should I do if a dose is missed?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it is less than 6 hours before the next dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and continue with the regular schedule. Never give a double dose. If your child misses two doses, call the clinic.

If your child vomits within 30 minutes after a dose, please call the clinic for instructions.

What are the side effects?


  • drowsy
  • very tired
  • trouble falling asleep
  • weight gain
  • sensitivity to sunlight


  • dizzy
  • constipated
  • runny nose
  • dry mouth
  • increased production of enzymes by the liver
  • shaky


  • muscle spasms

If your child has other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell the doctor or nurse practitioner.

When should I call the clinic?

Call the clinic if:

  • muscle stiffness
  • child seems to be moving constantly
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • severe muscle weakness, trouble standing
  • muscle spasms, twitching, or uncontrolled tongue or jaw movement

What else do I need to know?

To prevent sunburn, use sunscreen, a hat, and protective clothing when outdoors.

Use extreme caution in driving or operating heavy machinery.

Hot weather, alcohol, exercise, and fever will increase the dizzy feeling. To prevent dizziness, have your child sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning.

Blood tests will need to be done at times to check the liver function

This medicine may make your child sweat less and keep the body from cooling off. If your child's body gets too hot, heat stroke could occur. Be careful not to let your child get overheated in hot weather, during exercise, or if using a sauna or whirlpool.

You and your child should know the names of all the medicines he or she is taking. Share this information with anyone involved in your child's care.

Always make sure you have enough medicine on hand. Each time you refill your prescription, check to see how many refills are left. If no refills are left, the pharmacy will need 2 or 3 days to contact the clinic to renew the prescription.

Check the label and expiration date before giving each dose. Ask your pharmacist what to do with outdated or unused medicines. If there is no "take-back" program empty them into the trash.

Store all medicines in their original container and away from direct sunlight or heat. Do not store in humid places such as the bathroom. Keep them out of children's reach, locked up if possible.

If too much or the wrong kind of medicine is taken, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. If your child is unconscious or has a seizure, call 911.


This sheet is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the clinic or pharmacy.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Patient/Family Education
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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