A syndrome of potentially irreversible, involuntary, dyskinetic movements may develop in patients treated with antipsychotic drugs. Although the prevalence of the syndrome appears to be highest among the elderly, especially elderly women, it is impossible to rely upon prevalence estimates to predict, at the inception of antipsychotic treatment, which patients are likely to develop the syndrome. Whether antipsychotic drug products differ in their potential to cause tardive dyskinesia is unknown.
The risk of developing tardive dyskinesia and the likelihood that it will become irreversible are believed to increase as the duration of treatment and the total cumulative dose of antipsychotic drugs administered to the patient increase. However, the syndrome can develop, although much less commonly, after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses or may even arise after discontinuation of treatment.
There is no known treatment for established cases of tardive dyskinesia, although the syndrome may remit, partially or completely, if antipsychotic treatment is withdrawn. Antipsychotic treatment, itself, however, may suppress (or partially suppress) the signs and symptoms of the syndrome and thereby may possibly mask the underlying process. The effect that symptomatic suppression has upon the long-term course of the syndrome is unknown.
Given these considerations, olanzapine should be prescribed in a manner that is most likely to minimize the occurrence of tardive dyskinesia. Chronic antipsychotic treatment should generally be reserved for patients (1) who suffer from a chronic illness that is known to respond to antipsychotic drugs, and (2) for whom alternative, equally effective, but potentially less harmful treatments are not available or appropriate. In patients who do require chronic treatment, the smallest dose and the shortest duration of treatment producing a satisfactory clinical response should be sought. The need for continued treatment should be reassessed periodically.
If signs and symptoms of tardive dyskinesia appear in a patient on olanzapine, drug discontinuation should be considered. However, some patients may require treatment with olanzapine despite the presence of the syndrome.
For specific information about the warnings of lithium or valproate, refer to the Warnings section of the package inserts for these other products.
Olanzapine may induce orthostatic hypotension associated with dizziness, tachycardia, bradycardia and, in some patients, syncope, especially during the initial dose-titration period, probably reflecting its α1 -adrenergic antagonistic properties [see Patient Counseling Information (17.8)].
From an analysis of the vital sign data in an integrated database of 41 completed clinical studies in adult patients treated with oral olanzapine, orthostatic hypotension was recorded in ≥20% (1277/6030) of patients.
For oral olanzapine therapy, the risk of orthostatic hypotension and syncope may be minimized by initiating therapy with 5 mg QD [see Dosage and Administration (2)]. A more gradual titration to the target dose should be considered if hypotension occurs.
Syncope was reported in 0.6% (15/2500) of olanzapine-treated patients in phase 2 to 3 oral olanzapine studies. The risk for this sequence of hypotension, bradycardia, and sinus pause may be greater in nonpsychiatric patients compared to psychiatric patients who are possibly more adapted to certain effects of psychotropic drugs.
Olanzapine should be used with particular caution in patients with known cardiovascular disease (history of myocardial infarction or ischemia, heart failure, or conduction abnormalities), cerebrovascular disease, and conditions which would predispose patients to hypotension (dehydration, hypovolemia, and treatment with antihypertensive medications) where the occurrence of syncope, or hypotension and/or bradycardia might put the patient at increased medical risk.
Caution is necessary in patients who receive treatment with other drugs having effects that can induce hypotension, bradycardia, respiratory or central nervous system depression [see Drug Interactions (7)].
Olanzapine may cause somnolence, postural hypotension, motor and sensory instability, which may lead to falls and, consequently, fractures or other injuries. For patients with diseases, conditions, or medications that could exacerbate these effects, complete fall risk assessments when initiating antipsychotic treatment and recurrently for patients on long- term antipsychotic therapy.
Class Effect — In clinical trial and/or postmarketing experience, events of leukopenia/neutropenia have been reported temporally related to antipsychotic agents, including olanzapine. Agranulocytosis has also been reported.
Possible risk factors for leukopenia/neutropenia include pre-existing low white blood cell count (WBC) and history of drug induced leukopenia/neutropenia. Patients with a history of a clinically significant low WBC or drug induced leukopenia/neutropenia should have their complete blood count (CBC) monitored frequently during the first few months of therapy and discontinuation of olanzapine tablets should be considered at the first sign of a clinically significant decline in WBC in the absence of other causative factors.
Patients with clinically significant neutropenia should be carefully monitored for fever or other symptoms or signs of infection and treated promptly if such symptoms or signs occur. Patients with severe neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count <1,000/mm3) should discontinue olanzapine tablets and have their WBC followed until recovery.
Esophageal dysmotility and aspiration have been associated with antipsychotic drug use. Aspiration pneumonia is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Olanzapine is not approved for the treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
During premarketing testing, seizures occurred in 0.9% (22/2500) of olanzapine-treated patients. There were confounding factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of seizures in many of these cases. Olanzapine should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures or with conditions that potentially lower the seizure threshold, e.g., Alzheimer’s dementia. Olanzapine is not approved for the treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Conditions that lower the seizure threshold may be more prevalent in a population of 65 years or older.
Somnolence was a commonly reported adverse reaction associated with olanzapine treatment, occurring at an incidence of 26% in olanzapine patients compared to 15% in placebo patients. This adverse reaction was also dose related. Somnolence led to discontinuation in 0.4% (9/2500) of patients in the premarketing database.
Since olanzapine has the potential to impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills, patients should be cautioned about operating hazardous machinery, including automobiles, until they are reasonably certain that olanzapine therapy does not affect them adversely [see Patient Counseling Information (17.9)].
Disruption of the body’s ability to reduce core body temperature has been attributed to antipsychotic agents. Appropriate care is advised when prescribing olanzapine for patients who will be experiencing conditions which may contribute to an elevation in core body temperature, e.g., exercising strenuously, exposure to extreme heat, receiving concomitant medication with anticholinergic activity, or being subject to dehydration [see Patient Counseling Information (17.10)].
Clinical experience with olanzapine in patients with certain concomitant systemic illnesses is limited [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
Olanzapine exhibits in vitro muscarinic receptor affinity. In premarketing clinical trials with olanzapine, olanzapine was associated with constipation, dry mouth, and tachycardia, all adverse reactions possibly related to cholinergic antagonism. Such adverse reactions were not often the basis for discontinuations from olanzapine, but olanzapine should be used with caution in patients with clinically significant prostatic hypertrophy, narrow angle glaucoma, or a history of paralytic ileus or related conditions.
In 5 placebo-controlled studies of olanzapine in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis (n=1184), the following treatment-emergent adverse reactions were reported in olanzapine-treated patients at an incidence of at least 2% and significantly greater than placebo-treated patients: falls, somnolence, peripheral edema, abnormal gait, urinary incontinence, lethargy, increased weight, asthenia, pyrexia, pneumonia, dry mouth and visual hallucinations. The rate of discontinuation due to adverse reactions was greater with olanzapine than placebo (13% vs 7%). Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with olanzapine are at an increased risk of death compared to placebo. Olanzapine is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis [see Boxed Warning, Warnings and Precautions (5.1), and Patient Counseling Information (17.2)].
Olanzapine has not been evaluated or used to any appreciable extent in patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction or unstable heart disease. Patients with these diagnoses were excluded from premarketing clinical studies. Because of the risk of orthostatic hypotension with olanzapine, caution should be observed in cardiac patients [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].
As with other drugs that antagonize dopamine D2 receptors, olanzapine elevates prolactin levels, and the elevation persists during chronic administration. Hyperprolactinemia may suppress hypothalamic GnRH, resulting in reduced pituitary gonadotropin secretion. This, in turn, may inhibit reproductive function by impairing gonadal steroidogenesis in both female and male patients. Galactorrhea, amenorrhea, gynecomastia, and impotence have been reported in patients receiving prolactin-elevating compounds. Long-standing hyperprolactinemia when associated with hypogonadism may lead to decreased bone density in both female and male subjects.
Tissue culture experiments indicate that approximately one-third of human breast cancers are prolactin dependent in vitro , a factor of potential importance if the prescription of these drugs is contemplated in a patient with previously detected breast cancer. As is common with compounds which increase prolactin release, an increase in mammary gland neoplasia was observed in the olanzapine carcinogenicity studies conducted in mice and rats [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.1)]. Neither clinical studies nor epidemiologic studies conducted to date have shown an association between chronic administration of this class of drugs and tumorigenesis in humans; the available evidence is considered too limited to be conclusive at this time.
In placebo-controlled olanzapine clinical studies (up to 12 weeks), changes from normal to high in prolactin concentrations were observed in 30% of adults treated with olanzapine as compared to 10.5% of adults treated with placebo. In a pooled analysis from clinical studies including 8136 adults treated with olanzapine, potentially associated clinical manifestations included menstrual-related events1 (2% [49/3240] of females), sexual function-related events2 (2% [150/8136] of females and males), and breast-related events3 (0.7% [23/3240] of females, 0.2% [9/4896] of males).
In placebo-controlled olanzapine monotherapy studies in adolescent patients (up to 6 weeks) with schizophrenia or bipolar I disorder (manic or mixed episodes), changes from normal to high in prolactin concentrations were observed in 47% of olanzapine-treated patients compared to 7% of placebo-treated patients. In a pooled analysis from clinical trials including 454 adolescents treated with olanzapine, potentially associated clinical manifestations included menstrual-related events1 (1% [2/168] of females), sexual function-related events2 (0.7% [3/454] of females and males), and breast-related events3 (2% [3/168] of females, 2% [7/286] of males) [see Use in Specific Populations (8.4)].
1 Based on a search of the following terms: amenorrhea, hypomenorrhea, menstruation delayed, and oligomenorrhea.
2 Based on a search of the following terms: anorgasmia, delayed ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, loss of libido, abnormal orgasm, and sexual dysfunction.3 Based on a search of the following terms: breast discharge, enlargement or swelling, galactorrhea, gynecomastia, and lactation disorder.
Dose group differences with respect to prolactin elevation have been observed. In a single 8-week randomized, double-blind, fixed-dose study comparing 10 (N=199), 20 (N=200) and 40 (N=200) mg/day of oral olanzapine in adult patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, incidence of prolactin elevation >24.2 ng/mL (female) or >18.77 ng/mL (male) at any time during the trial (10 mg/day: 31.2%; 20 mg/day: 42.7%; 40 mg/day: 61.1%) indicated significant differences between 10 vs 40 mg/day and 20 vs 40 mg/day.
When using olanzapine tablets and fluoxetine in combination, the prescriber should also refer to the Warnings and Precautions section of the package insert for Symbyax. When using olanzapine tablets in combination with lithium or valproate, the prescriber should refer to the Warnings and Precautions sections of the package inserts for lithium or valproate [see Drug Interactions (7)].
Fasting blood glucose testing and lipid profile at the beginning of, and periodically during, treatment is recommended [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5) and Patient Counseling Information (17.5, 17.6)].
When using olanzapine tablets and fluoxetine in combination, also refer to the Adverse Reactions section of the package insert for Symbyax.
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect or predict the rates observed in practice.
Clinical Trials in Adults
The information below for olanzapine is derived from a clinical trial database for olanzapine consisting of 10,504 adult patients with approximately 4765 patient-years of exposure to olanzapine plus 722 patients with exposure to intramuscular olanzapine for injection. This database includes: (1) 2500 patients who participated in multiple-dose oral olanzapine premarketing trials in schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease representing approximately 1122 patient-years of exposure as of February 14, 1995; (2) 182 patients who participated in oral olanzapine premarketing bipolar I disorder (manic or mixed episodes) trials representing approximately 66 patient-years of exposure; (3) 191 patients who participated in an oral olanzapine trial of patients having various psychiatric symptoms in association with Alzheimer’s disease representing approximately 29 patient-years of exposure; (4) 5788 additional patients from 88 oral olanzapine clinical trials as of December 31, 2001; (5) 1843 additional patients from 41 olanzapine clinical trials as of October 31, 2011; and (6) 722 patients who participated in intramuscular olanzapine for injection premarketing trials in agitated patients with schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder (manic or mixed episodes), or dementia. Also included below is information from the premarketing 6-week clinical study database for olanzapine in combination with lithium or valproate, consisting of 224 patients who participated in bipolar I disorder (manic or mixed episodes) trials with approximately 22 patient-years of exposure.
The conditions and duration of treatment with olanzapine varied greatly and included (in overlapping categories) open-label and double-blind phases of studies, inpatients and outpatients, fixed-dose and dose-titration studies, and short-term or longer-term exposure. Adverse reactions were assessed by collecting adverse reactions, results of physical examinations, vital signs, weights, laboratory analytes, ECGs, chest x-rays, and results of ophthalmologic examinations.
Certain portions of the discussion below relating to objective or numeric safety parameters, namely, dose-dependent adverse reactions, vital sign changes, weight gain, laboratory changes, and ECG changes are derived from studies in patients with schizophrenia and have not been duplicated for bipolar I disorder (manic or mixed episodes) or agitation. However, this information is also generally applicable to bipolar I disorder (manic or mixed episodes) and agitation.
Adverse reactions during exposure were obtained by spontaneous report and recorded by clinical investigators using terminology of their own choosing. Consequently, it is not possible to provide a meaningful estimate of the proportion of individuals experiencing adverse reactions without first grouping similar types of reactions into a smaller number of standardized reaction categories. In the tables and tabulations that follow, MedDRA and COSTART Dictionary terminology has been used to classify reported adverse reactions.
The stated frequencies of adverse reactions represent the proportion of individuals who experienced, at least once, a treatment-emergent adverse reaction of the type listed. A reaction was considered treatment emergent if it occurred for the first time or worsened while receiving therapy following baseline evaluation. The reported reactions do not include those reaction terms that were so general as to be uninformative. Reactions listed elsewhere in labeling may not be repeated below. It is important to emphasize that, although the reactions occurred during treatment with olanzapine, they were not necessarily caused by it. The entire label should be read to gain a complete understanding of the safety profile of olanzapine.
The prescriber should be aware that the figures in the tables and tabulations cannot be used to predict the incidence of side effects in the course of usual medical practice where patient characteristics and other factors differ from those that prevailed in the clinical trials. Similarly, the cited frequencies cannot be compared with figures obtained from other clinical investigations involving different treatments, uses, and investigators. The cited figures, however, do provide the prescribing physician with some basis for estimating the relative contribution of drug and nondrug factors to the adverse reactions incidence in the population studied.
Incidence of Adverse Reactions in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled and Combination Trials
The following findings are based on premarketing trials of (1) oral olanzapine for schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder (manic or mixed episodes), a subsequent trial of patients having various psychiatric symptoms in association with Alzheimer’s disease, and premarketing combination trials.
Adverse Reactions Associated with Discontinuation of Treatment in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled Tria ls
Schizophrenia — Overall, there was no difference in the incidence of discontinuation due to adverse reactions (5% for oral olanzapine vs 6% for placebo). However, discontinuations due to increases in ALT were considered to be drug related (2% for oral olanzapine vs 0% for placebo).
Bipolar I Disorder (Manic or Mixed Episodes) Monotherapy — Overall, there was no difference in the incidence of discontinuation due to adverse reactions (2% for oral olanzapine vs 2% for placebo).
Adverse Reactions Associated with Discontinuation of Treatment in Short-Term Combination Trials
B ipolar I Disorder (Manic or Mixed Episodes), Olanzapine as Adjunct to Lithium or Valproate — In a study of patients who were already tolerating either lithium or valproate as monotherapy, discontinuation rates due to adverse reactions were 11% for the combination of oral olanzapine with lithium or valproate compared to 2% for patients who remained on lithium or valproate monotherapy. Discontinuations with the combination of oral olanzapine and lithium or valproate that occurred in more than 1 patient were: somnolence (3%), weight gain (1%), and peripheral edema (1%).
Commonly Observed Adverse Reactions in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled Trials
The most commonly observed adverse reactions associated with the use of oral olanzapine (incidence of 5% or greater) and not observed at an equivalent incidence among placebo-treated patients (olanzapine incidence at least twice that for placebo) were:
|Adverse Reaction||Percentage of Patients Reporting Event|
|Olanzapine (N=248)||Placebo (N=118)|
a Personality disorder is the COSTART term for designating nonaggressive objectionable behavior.
|Adverse Reaction||Percentage of Patients Reporting Event|
|Olanzapine (N=125)||Placebo (N=129)|
Adverse Reactions Occurring at an Incidence of 2% or More among Oral Olanzapine-Treated Patients in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled Trials
Table 11 enumerates the incidence, rounded to the nearest percent, of treatment-emergent adverse reactions that occurred in 2% or more of patients treated with oral olanzapine (doses ≥2.5 mg/day) and with incidence greater than placebo who participated in the acute phase of placebo-controlled trials.
|Body System/Adverse Reaction||Percentage of Patients Reporting Event|
|Olanzapine (N=532)||Placebo (N=294)|
|Body as a Whole|
|Hemic and Lymphatic System|
|Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders|
|Extremity pain (other than joint)||5||3|
|Urinary tract infection||2||1|
Dose Dependency of Adverse Reactions A dose group difference has been observed for fatigue, dizziness, weight gain and prolactin elevation. In a single 8-week randomized, double-blind, fixed-dose study comparing 10 (N=199), 20 (N=200) and 40 (N=200) mg/day of oral olanzapine in adult patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, incidence of fatigue (10 mg/day: 1.5%; 20 mg/day: 2.1%; 40 mg/day: 6.6%) was observed with significant differences between 10 vs 40 and 20 vs 40 mg/day. The incidence of dizziness (10 mg/day: 2.6%; 20 mg/day: 1.6%; 40 mg/day: 6.6%) was observed with significant differences between 20 vs 40 mg. Dose group differences were also noted for weight gain and prolactin elevation [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5, 5.15)].
The following table addresses dose relatedness for other adverse reactions using data from a schizophrenia trial involving fixed dosage ranges of oral olanzapine. It enumerates the percentage of patients with treatment-emergent adverse reactions for the 3 fixed-dose range groups and placebo. The data were analyzed using the Cochran-Armitage test, excluding the placebo group, and the table includes only those adverse reactions for which there was a trend.
|Percentage of Patients Reporting Event|
|Adverse Reaction||Placebo(N=68)||Olanzapine 5 ± 2.5 mg/day (N=65)||Olanzapine 10 ± 2.5 mg/day (N=64)||Olanzapine 15 ± 2.5 mg/day (N=69)|
Commonly Observed Adverse Reactions in Short-Term Trials of Oral Olanzapine as Adjunct to Lithium or Valproate
In the bipolar I disorder (manic or mixed episodes) adjunct placebo-controlled trials, the most commonly observed adverse reactions associated with the combination of olanzapine and lithium or valproate (incidence of ≥5% and at least twice placebo) were:
|Adverse Reaction||Percentage of Patients Reporting Event|
|Olanzapine with lithium or valproate (N=229)||Placebo with lithium or valproate (N=115)|
Adverse Reactions Occurring at an Incidence of 2% or More among Oral Olanzapine-Treated Patients in Short-Term Trials of Olanzapine as Adjunct to Lithium or Valproate
Table 14 enumerates the incidence, rounded to the nearest percent, of treatment-emergent adverse reactions that occurred in 2% or more of patients treated with the combination of olanzapine (doses ≥5 mg/day) and lithium or valproate and with incidence greater than lithium or valproate alone who participated in the acute phase of placebo-controlled combination trials.
|Body System/Adverse Reaction||Percentage of Patients Reporting Event|
|Olanzapine with lithium or valproate(N=229)||Placebo with lithium or valproate(N=115)|
|Body as a Whole|
|Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders|
|Skin and Appendages|
a Denominator used was for females only (olanzapine, N=128; placebo, N=51).
For specific information about the adverse reactions observed with lithium or valproate, refer to the Adverse Reactions section of the package inserts for these other products.
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