UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Olanzapine - Know the Adverse Effects

Keywords: anticholinergic, olanzapineA (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/24/2008 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Updated: 2/24/2020)
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 Olanzapine (Zyprexa)

This is an atypical antipsychotic that gained popularity because it caused less sedation and fewer extrapyramidal effects. However, there are many other adverse effects that need to be emphasized. Some of these may contribute to a patient's condition in the ED:

  • Hyperglycemia: has been reported to even cause hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic coma as well as DKA in patients that were not diabetic prior to initiation of olanzapine.
  • Anticholinergic: one of the most anticholinergic antipsychotics, watch for polypharmacy. Perhaps the patients urinary retention and mild confusion is due to the many anticholinergic medications the patient is taking.
  • Serotonin Syndrome: again a problem with polypharmacy and in overdose.