Zyprexa Side Effects

by on January 18, 2012


The side effects of Zyprexa are typically mild and may include nausea, drowsiness, constipation and weight gain. In rare cases, Zyprexa (olanzapine) is linked to more serious conditions associated with uncontrolled muscle movements. If you experience any side effects that seem unusual or are particularly uncomfortable, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Common Zyprexa Side Effects

The most common side effects of Zyprexa are usually mild and treatable. These include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Back pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of the hands or feet
  • Dry mouth
  • Thirst
  • Weight gain
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Insomnia

Of these side effects, drowsiness is by far the most common, occurring in as many as 48 percent of the patients taking this drug. For this reason, it’s important that you do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking olanzapine medications until you know how they will affect you. If these side effects disrupt your daily life, worsen or persist, you should contact your health care provider.

Serious Zyprexa Side Effects


Some patients are allergic to Zyprexa. If you experience any of the following side effects, you are probably having an allergic reaction. In the even of an allergic reaction, it is important to contact your healthcare provider immediately.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Swelling of the face or throat
  • Rash or hives
  • Itching

Other serious Zyprexa side effects that have been reported include the following:

  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Fast heart beat
  • Uneven heart beat
  • Stiff muscles
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements
  • Numbness or weakness, particularly on one side of the body
  • Confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Speech difficulties
  • Flu-like symptoms such as chills, body aches and fever
  • Excessive thirst of hunger
  • Fainting
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in thoughts or behavior
  • White spots on the lips or mouth
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Dizziness or restlessness
  • Chest pain

If you experience any of the above side effects, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately. These side effects may be signs of a more serious underlying condition such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) or post-injection delirium/sedation syndrome. Abnormal muscle movements can be a sign of permanent damage and these movements may become permanent if you do not stop taking the medication immediately.


Diabetes may be one of the side effects of Zyprexa , so it is important to be aware of the signs of this disease. Schizophrenic patients are naturally prone to diabetes and the potential weight gain associated with olanzapine use may further increase the chances of becoming diabetic. Zyprexa side effects that may indicate diabetes include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Increased hunger or thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased urination

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor to have your blood sugar checked. Diabetes can be managed, but high blood sugar is very dangerous and even fatal if left untreated.

Elderly Patients

Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis may experience extremely severe side effects when taking Zyprexa. It is believed that the treatment of these patients with anti-psychotic drugs increases the risk of death. The risk of death for these patients was 1.6 to 1.7 times greater when they were taking these types of medications than for those who were not. Official causes of death in these cases were most often cardiovascular or infectious.

The side effects of Zyprexa can be manageable for individuals who need this medication to treat bipolar disorder, depression or schizophrenia. Be mindful of any adverse effects you may be experiencing including those that could indicate diabetes or another serious condition. In most cases, patients are able to take Zyprexa safely and effectively.