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Olanzapine Alternatives

This entry was posted in Antipsychotic on by .
Medically Reviewed

Last Updated on August 4, 2021 by Diane Ridaeus

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Rarely can you find one medical professional, let alone a whole team, who has the expertise needed to find workable and effective olanzapine alternatives and for planning long-term treatment.

Olanzapine alternatives at Alternative to Meds Center are well worth considering, given olanzapine’s (Zyprexa’s) potential toxicity, which can cause dramatic side effects and rarely, even death.

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A prescription for antipsychotics, even if indicated during a time of unquestionable crisis, does not always mean that a person has no other options besides remaining medicated for life. Olanzapine users should not have to suffer drastic and harsh symptoms when olanzapine alternatives are available and less harmful. We have clinically proven ways to reduce, soften and eliminate adverse effects and symptoms so that they can fade away. Alternative to Meds Center has shown that there are many other techniques that result in feeling good, and once again engaged in life. We provide our clients with proven olanzapine alternatives to this end.

Olanzapine Alternatives vs Long-Term Antipsychotic Use?

In general, atypical antipsychotics are not recommended for long-term use once any initial crisis point has well passed.

For instance, once a psychotic episode has ceased, may be an opportunity to gently transition to less toxic treatment measures.

Olanzapine clinical trials were very short (3-4 weeks) even for the approved uses of the drug, whereas long-term use was not well explored in any of the pre-approval trials done on olanzapine (brand name Zyprexa).1

Risks of Extended Use of Antipsychotic Medications

Extended use of antipsychotic medications can increase the risk of diabetes, tremors, movement disorders like tardive dyskinesia, akathisia, heart disease, NMS (neuroleptic malignant syndrome) and many other side effects that can begin to significantly outweigh any perceived benefits of drug therapy.

These are good reasons to think about alternative treatments where olanzapine or similar drugs do not produce the desired results in treatment, and where side effects have made life difficult.

Antipsychotics and Off-Label Uses

olanzapine schizophreniaFor elderly dementia patients, olanzapine was once promoted “off label” for dementia-related behavior problems, but this practice has largely disappeared since too many deaths resulted. A $1.4 billion fine was imposed on the manufacturer, Eli Lilly, for their ad campaign that ran from 1999 to 2003, that targeted elderly rest homes. In addition to the fines, the FDA put a black box label on the packaging of olanzapine or brand name Zyprexa, warning of increased mortality when prescribed to elderly dementia patients.2,3

Off-label use of virtually all of the atypical antipsychotics has become all too common, and in fact, reportedly doubled from 1995 and 2008. Drugs like olanzapine, paliperidone, Clozaril, etc., are prescribed for many issues besides the FDA approved ones, i.e., to treat schizophrenia, bipolar mania, and psychosis. Off-label uses include the treatment of anxiety (due to the drug’s sedating effects), depression, insomnia, substance abuse, personality disorders, PTSD, eating disorders, and also OCD.4

Olanzapine Alternatives for Schizophrenia and Other Conditions

Whether or not one was prescribed for treatment of schizophrenia or for insomnia, the efficacy of using atypical antipsychotics for off-label use has not shown to be significant enough to discount alternative treatments which can be extremely effective for such a wide array of disorders and symptoms.

For anyone prescribed antipsychotics for schizophrenia, psychosis, mania, etc. there may have been a dire need to dampen the symptoms during a time of crisis. However, once the crisis has passed, it may be advantageous to consider alternative treatments that will produce better results and less harm for sustainable mental stability and wellness without heavy drugs.

Diet as an Alternative Therapy

One example of alternative treatments found effective for schizophrenic symptoms is upgrading one’s diet.

Studies have shown a dramatic reduction in auditory hallucinations, a dramatic reduction in delusions, and many other desirable outcomes from changing the diet alone.5,5,7

There are many other alternative therapies and strategies besides adding more drugs to one’s daily regimen.

Alternatives to olanzapine include:

  • Improved or modified diet. 
  • CBT for depression, anxiety.
  • Other forms of cognitive therapy for schizophrenia can be explored.*
  • Seek guidance from a qualified naturopath or other physicians for nutritional therapies that have proven helpful* for the reduction of symptoms of psychosis or schizophrenia.

*A study in the Lancet showed CT significantly reduced psychiatric symptoms and stated it was “a safe and acceptable alternative for people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders who have decided not to take antipsychotic drugs.”

Notes on Coming Off Antipsychotic Medication

However easy it may have been to begin taking medication, coming off a drug like olanzapine may not always be easy to do unless informed help and guidance is available, and in any case, should never be done abruptly.5

Always seek guidance and competent help for planning your gradual discontinuation of heavy pharmaceutical drugs such as olanzapine, or similar antipsychotics.

Alternative to Meds Center Offers Olanzapine Alternatives

Sedona drug rehabAt Alternative to Meds Center, we specialize in getting to the root causes of symptoms a person is troubled with and seeks to remedy these using scientific, effective, and safe methods. Along with safe tapering programs, protocols are used to eradicate the reasons for someone’s insomnia, or eating disorders, etc. In documenting our successes, we know how well our clients have responded to sound and natural (non-drug-based) protocols. Our facility is beautiful, relaxing, and welcoming and our clients appreciate the nurturing atmosphere and support provided.

Rather than being stuck on heavy medications for a lifetime, there are olanzapine alternatives that can be accessed at Alternative to Meds for relief and we encourage anyone interested in finding out more about our inpatient programs to contact us.

1. Gerber, Cathon “Overdose and death with Olanzapine” US National Library of Medicine, [INTERNET] 2000 Sep [cited 2020 Jan 13]

2. CBC Associated Press Release, “Eli Lilly pays $1.4bn US to settle some Zyprexa claims.” 2009 Jan 15 [INTERNET] [cited 2020 Jan 13]

3. FDA ZYPREXA (Olanzapine) label

4. JAMA article “Atypical antipsychotics appear to be effective for only a few off-label uses” 2011 Sep [cited 2020 Jan 13]

5.  Aucoin M, LaChance L, Clouthier SN, Cooley K. Dietary modification in the treatment of schizophrenia spectrum disorders: A systematic review. World J Psychiatry. 2020 Aug 19;10(8):187-201. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v10.i8.187. PMID: 32874956; PMCID: PMC7439299. [cited 2021 Aug 4]

6.  Aucoin M, LaChance L, Cooley K, Kidd S. Diet and Psychosis: A Scoping Review. Neuropsychobiology. 2020;79(1):20-42. doi: 10.1159/000493399. Epub 2018 Oct 25. PMID: 30359969. [cited 2021 Aug 4]

7.  Głąbska D, Guzek D, Groele B, Gutkowska K. Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Mental Health in Adults: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2020;12(1):115. Published 2020 Jan 1. doi:10.3390/nu12010115 [cited 2021 Aug 4]

Originally Published Feb 12, 2020 by Diane Ridaeus

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Olanzapine Alternatives
Medical Disclaimer:
Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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