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Well, I'm trying to do some reading up on Zyprexa, since I'm being put on it. Trying to stay positive. The weight gain has me concerned - at 320lbs I am definitely heavy enough on my own, and I already have hypothyroidism and metabolic issues, as well as digestive issues, and probably undiagnosed BED. But more concerning is the risk of developing insulin-resistance and then diabetes. I have bloodwork done regularly and my bloodsugar levels and all of that have never been an issue thus far. Funnily enough, I'm almost more worried that if I do end up with it, they'll blame me for it and not the medication, as if it really matters one way or the other.

I'm also getting frustrated over the fact that I've been on so many different things and none of them have ever helped at all, they either made things worse, had side effects that required I be taken off them, or they made no changes. It's hard to keep remaining optimistic that one day something will click.

So: Questions:

Did you gain weight on Zyprexa? If so, how much? Were you able to lose it? Did you develop diabetes? 
What was Zyprexa prescribed for/ how well did it work/ in what way(s) did it help?
How tired did it make you? Was there a lot of brain fogginess? Did that go away?

New medications are always intimidating.

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Hi Frolic.

 

I was on Zyprexa for around 3 years, 15mg bd. I gained a considerable amount of weight, went from 180-242lbs. I am losing the weight steadily, around 35lbs in four months.

 

I was prescribed it for control of mania and psychosis in bipolar and, apart from the odd few ups and downs, for the most part it worked quite successfully. My moods definitely becamse more stable and the psychosis was almost a thing of the past. However, with the weight gain, severe acne and total sexual dysfunction it was not a med I could continue with.

 

As for sleepiness, well 12-14 hours sleep a night wasn't uncommon with the occasional 1-3 hours nap during the day. Couldn't focus on anything/had very foggy thoughts for the first hour after getting up, did become clearer during the day though.

 

Hope that helps you make your decision. It is a highly effective drug, but there are many cons to taking it!

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I gained a TON of weight on it (although I was taking lithium and Depakote at the same time, so it was cumulative). I gained about 50 pounds in a year on that combination. However, it pulled me out of a serious suicidal episode very quickly, so I was kept on it for a long time to prevent me from offing myself. 

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Zyprexa was the first antipsychotic I ever tried about 6 years ago.

I gained a huge amount of weight (like 80lbs) in a fairly short period. However because it did keep my psychosis under control I was kept on it for awhile before trying something else.

My biggest complaint other than the weight gain was that it made my head feel like it was full of cotton. It's really hard to explain but I just felt so slowed down in my thinking.

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I felt kind of addled and out of it as well. But, yes, it kept me from suicide - I made an attempt not long after I switched meds. My pdoc told me that it's pretty much the best atypical for sucidality and that it tends to work faster than others. 

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Zyprexa works great for me but I couldn't take the weight gain.  If I was having psychotic symptoms that were uncontrolled I wouldn't hesitate to take it again, though.  I didn't lose the weight when I stopped but I haven't really tried very hard. It did make me sleepy, but I have that with other meds, too.  I would give it a shot and just keep an eye on your weight if that's what you are concerned about.  

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If you med list is accurate, you have not tried a medication from the atypical antipsychotic (AAP) class to which Zyprexa belongs. That means problems with other meds you've tried are not comparable.

 

Almost all other AAPs have a lower risk of diabetes. I would trial a few others before trying Zyprexa given your weight issues and concerns. In fact, I'd be adamant with my pdoc about trying other AAPs before Zyprexa unless you are manic or psychotic, in which I might do a short period with plan to switch to something else when symptoms improved.

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Hi. I will answer your questions about zyprexa. But first I am wondering, why doesn't your pdoc up your abilify (also an AAP and you are on a tiny amount - I have taken up to 40mg) and/or up your lamictal (200mg is usually the therapeutic dose that many BP folks aim for). Just questions you may want to pose to your pdoc before starting the zyprexa.

 

Anyways...

 

Did you gain weight on Zyprexa? .... Yes I did gain some weight. It was not nearly as bad as everyone else was telling me to be honest. My appetite was larger and thus I ate more. I wish I had been exercising while on it because I think that would have cut down on the weight gain for me. I also took all of it at bedtime so that helped some too. I was taking 20mg.

 

If so, how much? .... Oh I'm not sure. Like I said I wasn't exercising which didn't help. Maybe around 40 lbs? I took it for about 3 years.

 

Were you able to lose it? ....  I've lost about 10 of the lbs I gained (I switched to seroquel instead).

 

Did you develop diabetes? .... No I did not. Diabetes runs in my family too, but I never got it.

 

What was Zyprexa prescribed for/ how well did it work/ in what way(s) did it help? .... Psychosis, mood, anxiety, sleep. It helped me immensely. I did go off of it because of the weight gain. But I would sure go back to it in a heartbeat for a short duration to get me through an episode.

How tired did it make you? .... It made me sleep through the night and tired after I took it. It's one of the few things that makes me sleep well.

 

Was there a lot of brain fogginess? Did that go away? ... I didn't have any brain fogginess. In fact, I felt more clear and level headed than I ever had felt before.

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Hi!

 

Zyprexa worked great for me. I had alternating depression and mania with psychosis, and after I took just one pill I felt relief. Things only got better from then on. I took it at night and did in fact experience morning sedation; it was hard to get up in the morning, but not everyone has this problem with Zyprexa. I did gain A LOT of weight, but I was also taking Depakote, which for many is a big weight gainer. My blood sugar levels rose, but I never did develop Diabetes. However, it was a very effective medication for me. Good luck!

Edited by dragonfly79
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Thanks for all the input. It's at least reassuring that nobody seems to have gotten diabetes. 

My pdoc told me he was hoping it would help with my anxiety, as that's been the most troubling thing recently. I don't have - and have never had - psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, things of that nature.

 

I do have some paranoid tendencies, but it's mostly social related, feeling as though people are watching me when I'm in public, judging/thinking poorly of me, talking about me. General mistrust of my friends, feeling as though they are avoiding me, or discluding me, or sometimes even being convinced that they're all in on some thing together. There was an isolated incident when I was frantically calling my friends and family while I was out of state, because I had this irrational fear that a prior abuser of mine was in my town, despite the fact that I wasn't anywhere near there, I hadn't seen or heard from this person in years, and the last I knew they were in Utah, while I was living in New Jersey. The thing about all of the paranoid type thinking though, is I realize 95% of the time how illogical it is. I can take a step back and recognize "Okay, this isn't actually happening, I'm just perceiving things poorly". Doesn't change the emotional response to it though.

My bipolar-arity has actually been the least of my concerns for the past month or so. I haven't had any extreme swings one way or the other, just some mild-moderate fluctuations. 


 

Hi. I will answer your questions about zyprexa. But first I am wondering, why doesn't your pdoc up your abilify (also an AAP and you are on a tiny amount - I have taken up to 40mg) and/or up your lamictal (200mg is usually the therapeutic dose that many BP folks aim for). Just questions you may want to pose to your pdoc before starting the zyprexa.

 

 

Just about every psychiatrist I've seen in the last seven or eight years has had me on Abilify in some way, shape, or form, despite the fact it's never done anything to help me. Must be something to do with the ridiculous cost of Abilify and financial kickbacks or something like that. I suspect that I'm currently being taken off of it - he wants me to halve the Abilify I was taking (15mg) and start the Zyprexa when I receive it, and then I have an appointment in two weeks. I'm trying to be a cooperative patient, because I'm starting to get the impression that he views me as uncooperative, and thus thinks I don't really want to get better. I certainly don't need that written down in my paperwork. 

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I don't like second guessing Dr.'s recommendations, but I would carefully question your doctor why he thinks Zyprexa would be a good fit for you. Especially given your weight right now and that it doesn't sound like an emergency. Assuming you do need an AAP, there are other atypical antipsychotics with better weight and metabolic side-effect profiles. Zyprexa's supposed to have just about the worst. I'm taking Latuda right now because it's supposed to be fairly weight neutral, for instance - although it's so new that a lot of insurances don't cover it. I can only take Zyprexa occasionally prn (as needed) because of the weight issue. But regardless there are a number of other options beyond Abilify.

 

I wouldn't worry about being uncooperative. If asking your doctor to explain his reasoning makes him think you're uncooperative, then he's got the problem, not you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just updating to say I've been taking it for a week thus far. So far I've been really tired, but I'm use to that with meds. I've been sleeping anywhere from 10-14 hours a night now, and have woken up with a terribly dry mouth, and the taste of dead stuff (that's the only way I know to describe it). I think that might be starting to go away already though. The first two days I had a constant headache. That went away on the third day, thankfully. I haven't noticed any real change in appetite though, so that's good. Today my nose has been really dried out and bloody. I'm not sure if that's medicine related though, could be some weird changes in the atmosphere or something, not sure. 

As far as treating symptoms...
I don't really feel too anxious, so that's encouraging. But at the same time, I'm worried that it's because I've been staying in my comfort zone and not really doing anything that tends to cause the really bad anxiety.

The normal over-thinking and worrying seems to have eased up a bit though, so that's good.

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Did you gain weight on Zyprexa? If so, how much? Were you able to lose it? Did you develop diabetes? 

I did gain weight. I'm not sure how much exactly. I was 16 and never weighed myself. I'd say about 10kg (22lbs). I did lose it, probably a side effect of abusing speed. I didn't develop diabetes.
What was Zyprexa prescribed for/ how well did it work/ in what way(s) did it help?

It was prescribed for social phobia, which it didn't help. I think it did make me calmer and less depressed over all, although somewhat flat, apathetic and zombie-like.
How tired did it make you? Was there a lot of brain fogginess? Did that go away? 

I was somewhat sedated all the time and had mild fogginess. It didn't go away but I only took Zyprexa for like a month or two. I was on 5mg.

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If you med list is accurate, you have not tried a medication from the atypical antipsychotic (AAP) class to which Zyprexa belongs. That means problems with other meds you've tried are not comparable.

 

Almost all other AAPs have a lower risk of diabetes. I would trial a few others before trying Zyprexa given your weight issues and concerns. In fact, I'd be adamant with my pdoc about trying other AAPs before Zyprexa unless you are manic or psychotic, in which I might do a short period with plan to switch to something else when symptoms improved.

Agreed.

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You should ask about taking Metformin along with any AAP, IMO. I will never take another antipsychotic (either AAP or one of the older antipsychotics) without having Metformin added at the same time. It won't stop the weight gain but it helped me keep it managable.

 

What I did was to get a userid on medscape.com (it's free) and then I did a search on metformin and atypical antipsychotic. You'll get a bunch of hits. Read some of them and print out the ones you think are best to take to your pdoc. When I did this, I told him to read them and we'd talk about at my next appointment, which was the following week. The next week, he gave me an Rx for Metformin. 

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Hi

 

I took zyprexa for schizophrenia (now I am on clozaril).  I've been on tons of medicines but zyprexa worked the best for me.  It really helped me function and such.  There were a few problems with it.  At first when you take it you'll be tired a lot.  Once you get used to it and assuming you take it at night you'll just be tired at night.  I was on 30mg at night for a while and would sleep 12-15 hours a night but once I was up I would be fine.  Also Zyprexa caused me to gain around 50-60 lbs which I lost when I was on lower doses.  If you take it you may want to take metaformin (talk to your doctor) to lower your appetite which I take.

 

I think it's one of the better antipsychotics (from personal experience), just watch out for the side effects.

 

Good Luck

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Havent taken it, just wanted to say it must be a really good AAP if people keep taking it despite huge weight gain and apparently nosebleeds, dysgeusia and xerostomia.

I first tried zyprexa way back in 2002. It literally worked overnight. It works damn quickly.

I did have to go off it coz of the weight gain otherwise its superb for voices, paranoia and especially derealization.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've gained 40 pounds while on Zyprexa. I've tried to switch meds but I'm afraid of some of the alternatives. I tried switching to Remeron just recently and I believe it caused me to have violent thoughts and I don't believe it was due to Zyprexa withdrawal.

Edited by feltmountain
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