What is Symbyax?
USES: This medication is a combination of 2 drugs, olanzapine (an antipsychotic drug) and fluoxetine (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor-SSRI). It is used to treat a certain type of mental/mood disorder (depression associated with bipolar disorder). It is also used to treat depression that has not responded to other medications. This medication may help you sleep, improve your mood, improve your concentration, and decrease nervousness. It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances in the brain (neurotransmitters). Talk to the doctor about the risks and benefits of treatment (especially when used in teenagers). See also Precautions section.
How to take Symbyax
HOW TO USE: Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using olanzapine/fluoxetine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth, with or without food, usually once daily in the evening or as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time each day. It may take up to several weeks before the full benefit of this drug takes effect. It is important to continue taking this medication as prescribed even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is abruptly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased. If your condition persists or worsens, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
WARNING: Antidepressant medications are used to treat a variety of conditions, including depression and other mental/mood disorders. These medications can help prevent suicidal thoughts/attempts and provide other important benefits. However, studies have shown that a small number of people (especially people younger than 25) who take antidepressants for any condition may experience worsening depression, other mental/mood symptoms, or suicidal thoughts/attempts. Therefore, it is very important to talk with the doctor about the risks and benefits of antidepressant medication (especially for people younger than 25), even if treatment is not for a mental/mood condition. Tell the doctor right away if you notice worsening depression/other psychiatric conditions, unusual behavior changes (including possible suicidal thoughts/attempts), or other mental/mood changes (including new/worsening anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, irritability, hostile/angry feelings, impulsive actions, severe restlessness, very rapid speech). Be especially watchful for these symptoms when a new antidepressant is started or when the dose is changed. There may be a slightly increased risk of serious, possibly fatal side effects (such as stroke, heart failure, fast/irregular heartbeat, pneumonia) when this medication is used by older adults with dementia. This medication is not approved for the treatment of dementia-related behavior problems. Discuss the risks and benefits of this medication, as well as other effective and possibly safer treatments for dementia-related behavior problems, with the doctor.
What if I miss a dose of Symbyax?
MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Use your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Side Effects of Symbyax
SIDE EFFECTS: See also the Warning section. Dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, diarrhea, dry mouth, constipation, increased appetite, weight gain, or trouble sleeping may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Dizziness and lightheadedness can increase the risk of falling. Get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: unusual or severe mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, nervousness, trouble concentrating, rare thoughts of suicide), swelling hands/ankles/feet, restlessness, shaking (tremor), inability to keep still, decreased interest in sex, changes in sexual ability, trouble urinating, black stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, easy bruising/bleeding, muscle spasm, yellowing eyes/skin, severe stomach/abdominal pain, slow heartbeat, interrupted breathing during sleep. Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: severe headache, seizures, eye pain/swelling/redness, widened pupils, vision changes (such as seeing rainbows around lights at night, blurred vision). This drug may rarely make your blood sugar rise, which can cause or worsen diabetes. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of high blood sugar such as increased thirst/urination. If you already have diabetes, check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet when you start or stop this medication. This drug may also cause significant weight gain and a rise in your blood cholesterol (or triglyceride) levels, especially in teenagers. These effects, along with diabetes, may increase your risk for developing heart disease. Discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with your doctor. (See also Notes section.) This medication may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactions section). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms: fast heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, twitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation/restlessness. This medication may rarely cause a very serious condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Get medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms: fever, muscle stiffness/pain/tenderness/weakness, severe tiredness, severe confusion, sweating, fast/irregular heartbeat, dark urine, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine). Olanzapine may rarely cause a condition known as tardive dyskinesia. In some cases, this condition may be permanent. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any unusual/uncontrolled movements (especially of the face/lips/tongue). In rare cases, this medication may increase your blood level of a certain hormone (prolactin). For females, this rare increase in prolactin levels may result in unwanted breast milk, irregular/stopped menstrual periods, or difficulty becoming pregnant. For males, it may result in decreased sexual ability, inability to produce sperm, or enlarged breasts. If you develop any of these symptoms, tell your doctor right away. For males, in the very unlikely event you have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 or more hours, stop using this drug and seek immediate medical attention, or permanent problems could occur. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you
Interactions with Symbyax
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Fluoxetine (one of the drugs in this medication) can stay in your body for many weeks after your last dose and may interact with many other medications. If you have taken this medication in the previous 5 weeks, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medication. Some products that may interact with this drug include: fosamprenavir/ritonavir, metoprolol, "water pills" (diuretics such as furosemide), drugs that can cause bleeding/bruising (e.g., aspirin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, "blood thinners" such as heparin, warfarin), drugs for high blood pressure, medicines for Parkinson's disease (e.g., cabergoline). Taking MAO inhibitors with his medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, safinamide, selegiline, tranylcypromine) during treatment with this medication. Most MAO inhibitors should also not be taken for 2 weeks before and at least 5 weeks after treatment with this medication. Ask your doctor when to start or stop taking this medication. This medication can slow down the removal of other medications from your body, which may affect how they work. Examples of affected drugs include cimetidine, phenytoin, pimozide, vinblastine, antipsychotics (such as aripiprazole, clozapine, haloperidol, perphenazine, thioridazine), antiarrhythmics (such as propafenone, flecainide), tricyclic antidepressants (such as desipramine, imipramine), among others. Aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding when used with this medication (see above). If your doctor has directed you to take low-dose aspirin for heart attack or stroke prevention (usually at dosages of 81-325 milligrams a day), you should continue taking it unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin. Examples include street drugs such as MDMA/"ecstasy" St. John's wort, certain antidepressants (including other SSRIs such as citalopram/paroxetine, SNRIs such as duloxetine/venlafaxine), tryptophan, among others. The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity may be more likely when you start or increase the dose of these drugs. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine). Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely. Cigarette smoking may decrease blood levels of this medication. Tell your doctor if you smoke or if you have recently stopped smoking. This medication may interfere with certain medical/laboratory tests (including brain scan for Parkinson's disease), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking olanzapine/fluoxetine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to olanzapine or fluoxetine; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: personal or family history of suicide attempts, breast cancer, intestinal problems (e.g., paralytic ileus, chronic constipation), kidney disease, liver problems, low blood pressure, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, personal or family history of glaucoma (angle-closure type), prostate problems, seizures, stomach/intestinal ulcers, brain problems (e.g., dementia, stroke), severe loss of body water (dehydration), low white blood cell count, personal or family history of diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol/triglyceride levels, breathing trouble during sleep (sleep apnea). This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis). This medication can make it harder to control your body temperature. Avoid activities that might cause you to overheat (e.g., doing strenuous work, exercising in hot weather, or using hot tubs). Drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. Teenagers may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially weight gain, and also increased amounts of cholesterol, triglycerides and prolactin. See also Side Effects section for more details. Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially drowsiness, constipation, trouble urinating, confusion, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Older adults may also be more likely to develop low sodium in the blood, especially if they are taking "water pills" (diuretics). Drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, and lightheadedness can increase the risk of falling. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Babies born to mothers who have used this drug during the last 3 months of pregnancy may rarely develop symptoms including muscle stiffness or shakiness, drowsiness, feeding/breathing difficulties, or constant crying. If you notice any of these symptoms in your newborn especially during their first month, tell the doctor right away. Since untreated mental/mood problems (such as depression, bipolar disorder) can be a serious condition, do not stop taking this medication unless directed by your doctor. If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, immediately discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy. This drug passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Tell the doctor right away if your baby develops symptoms such as muscle stiffness or shakiness, unusual sleepiness, or difficulty feeding. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.