Olanzapine and medication reduction 18 months on from PP

Hi all

Just asking for some advice really. My daughter is 18 months old now and although I am still a bit up and down with my mood and anxiety I feel the need to start reducing medication. Various reasons really, I don't like the way they make me feel and also the weight gain is ridiculous. I'm just wanting advice on whether anyone has successfully come off Olanzapine, whether you experienced any side affects and whether anyone still suffers with the anxiety and depression 18 months on. I keep seeing threads about people coming off medication early on and feeling better after 3 months or so. I so want to move on from all this but still struggle? Is this normal?

Lots of questions there I know but just looking for guidance and support.

Thanks Beth x

28 Replies

  • I don't have any experience of olanzepine but want to reassure you it is perfectly normal to still be struggling after 18 months. The depression that often hits after pp can be debilitating, plus the trauma you have been through, it's no wonder you're feeling anxious

  • The depression is or should I say has been awful I just find it hard to move on from the whole experience of the MBU and ECT but hoping time is a healer. Thanks so much for your reply x

  • Also congratulations on your pregnancy x

  • Hi Beth - totally normal! Have you spoken to your GP about it yet? Are you on a low dose now? (I was on just 5mg Olanzapine when I eventually came off it). From memory I was off it about 18 months after the initial PP, but it wasn't totally straightforward. I had one or two relapses which led me back to medication (although I am now on Quetiapine which I prefer).

    The weight gain is an absolute nightmare I agree!

    Sorry I don't have much actual practical advice - but do go and express your concerns to your GP and hopefully you can take it from there?

    Best of luck!

    Kat x

  • Thanks for your reply. I've only been off 2.5mg for a week but main side affects are nausea and headaches. I just hope it passes and am able to be partially medication free. I'm still on Venlafaxine but have reduced that also in a bid to shift some

    Weight and feel more alive. Medication makes me feel dreadful. X

  • Hi

    I have been on olazapine twice now. I had PP in 2013 after birth of my daughter, not on olazapine. Then I relapsed a year on out of the blue and was put on olazapine, I found it really helped and I felt better a lot quicker than the first time.

    I did pit on weight I know that also does not help how you feel. Don't rush coming off meds just take it one day at a time and see how you feel, you have done so well just make sore you are ready. I was reduced off it slowly I month at each reduction till I just havd harf a tablet every other day for a month then came off. I found getting back into A regular sleeping pattern the hardest but after about couple of weeks, It got better.

    I lost a bit of weight once off meds. Then I fell pregnant with my son 2015 stayed off mads until a month before due date then I went back on olazapine. As a precaution and I havd no PP I came off it about 7 months after agen slowly and was fine.

    I have now lost all my weight with running and swimming but go there in the end. You should lose the weight it will just take time.

    I found talking to people about my experience helped me, I didn't tell them everything as it takes a long time to fully open up. I also sore a psychologist Which really helped she did some Electric pols treatment with me which is where you have electric pulses going from one hand to the other alternately as i speak about my experience this helped my brain to process my experience and helped with the flashbacks. At the time I didn't think it would really help but now, I see it has as I feel a lot better now about my experience. There is nothing I can do about that time it was out of my control. I try and use my experience as a positive, I have two lovely children and I'm not in a much better place.

    Try and make time to do things that make you happy, I find walking with my daughter really helped. Or going on my bike.

    Good luck in time you will feel better. Love Jenny x

  • Thank you so much for your reply. I feel better mentally for being off Olanzapine but physically I feel dreadful. I have really bad night sweats, headaches and dizzy spells. Did you experience any of these? I've been on it 15 months or so. X

  • Hi

    No I did not get those side effects when coming off. But hopefully will get better. Talk to your docter about it.


  • I successfully came off 20mg olanzapine but moved on to flupenthixol instead. Flupenthixol for me doesn't have any of the side effects olanzapine had and I've managed to lose 2.5 stone whilst being on it. My daughter is 19 months and I'm still on medication. I didn't have many side effects when coming off olanzapine except insomnia, as it's a sedating medication and without it I found it difficult to sleep. I still suffer from depression and anxiety now, I think recovery is different for everyone but I don't think it's abnormal to still be struggling xx

  • Many thanks for your reply. It's comforting to know people are in the same situation. I don't want to switch to another medication as I want to try and just stick with the antidepressants for now with a view of being medication free in 6-12 months time. I'm not bipolar or schizophrenic I have been diagnosed over the past 18 months with PPP, GAD, PPD. So my mental health problems were/are birth related which I hope in time will fade. X

  • I am the same, I have been diagnosed with PP and PND but not bipolar or anything else except for my ongoing OCD. I'm also hoping to get medication free in the next year or so. Wishing you all the best with coming off the olanzapine, you're on a low dose now so you should be ok. Good luck xx

  • Thanks for your reply. The side affects seem to be fading now after just over a week. Took cocodamol for the headaches and am starting to feel much better. I'm more alert than I have been in a long time and am finding driving and getting out and about much easier and my motivation is better. Long may it continue x

  • That sounds great, I hope it does continue for you. I found driving a lot easier once I was off olanzapine too, I think it's because it's a sedating drug. Hopefully the side effects will continue to fade and things will continue to improve xx

  • I stop taken that medication myself in December and I feel ok my child is 27 months old

  • Thank you for your reply. Did you not have any withdrawal problems? How long were you on Olanzapine for? X

  • I was on that tablet in the nite from March when I starting having postpartum psychosis in 2015 up until December 2016 no touch wood I be fine without it

  • The postpartum psychosis came on me two weeks after my daughter was born I had to be section and then we went to mother and baby uniting in Bournemouth because they close the one in cardiff thank god I got good parents they stay down Bournemouth for me to have company and I was still saying there was people watching me Un until second week I was allowed home March 31st when I had the crisis team calling to my house but they only was with me for two weeks because they see a different in me from when I first went ill but I was lucky because I still live with my parents then but we moved out in January this year we about 11 miles from them but they come over once a week to see us

  • Hi Beth , I had PP in Dec 2016 and I was on Olanzapine till March , in the end I felt like I was not feeling any better and I felt so so worn out on them I went to my GP who said to stop them . I just took sleeping tablets for a day or two and for three weeks I felt really poorly I was sick a lot and my appetite was gone the anxiety was horrific saying that I don't know if this was following the PP or coming off the olanzapine it's hard to know really .

    I have not had anything apart from some mild diazpan for the anxiety it was very hard coming off them and I spent ages reading things where people had tried to come off them but couldn't and scared myself really but so far I have not needed to go back on them or anything else .

    I really feel for you Beth have you had any councelling at all ? Try not to be too hard on yourself it takes along time to feel better and everyone's recovery is different x

  • Thanks so much for your reply. I too have read lots of articles online about withdrawal and I'm scaring myself with it. It's been a week and so far I have headaches, stomach cramps, brain zaps, dizziness and excessive sweating. I hope I can cope with this as I really don't want to go back to being on it again. I want to feel bright and healthy and have energy. Something Olanzapine dulled. X

  • Hi Beth ,

    Another thing I forgot to mention is that when I came off the Olanzapine my GP sent me for some blood tests which showed my iron and vitamin D levels were low maybe get these checked too if you haven't all ready . Hope your still feeling okay xxx

  • Thanks again for your reply. I read online that my iron may be low so I've started taking supplements. Magnesium, iron, B6 and a multivitamin. I'm actually feeling good at the moment. The withdraw seems to have faded and I'm feeling much more motivated. I'm tired at times though so am trying to get rest while I can. Just hope the good days continue x

  • Hi bethanylj, to share my experience here too; when I came off Olanzapine, I did notice increased headaches and this was something I went to my GP about. He suggested normal painkillers (Ibuprofen etc) and told me that they would monitor me, which really helped to reassure me. Side-effects can be really tough and I was still feeling really tired and worn out by meds/ the after-effects of PP... I think I got through the worst of it by reassuring myself that it was temporary and progress from where I had been. Not sure if this is much help, but you can get through this, you have come so far and can do this! Take care, xx

  • Thanks Hannah. So far so good x

  • Hi Beth,

    I successfully came off Olanzapine after six months. I too was feeling down about my weight gain, and my cholesterol levels had risen dramatically which was a huge concern, as I have always been fit and healthy. I wasn't on a very high dose to begin with (7.5mg) but reduced it to 5mg and experienced no side effects so stopped taking it altogether in November 2016. I struggled to sleep for the first week or so as I just couldn't switch off, and in hindsight, I was still quite anxious but this eased and as soon as I started to lose weight and feel healthier, I was so much happier and just seemed to bounce back. It sounds as if you are having positive days, so I hope these continue and you are successful too.

    Jess x

  • Many thanks for your reply Jess. I too am feeling anxious at the moment. I'm glad I have stopped taking it but anxious about becoming unwell again. I hope this fades as I'm constantly checking I feel ok and especially with these vivid dreams I keep having I feel a little unsettled. Were you like this? X

  • I had lots of really vivid dreams when I was ill but didn't have any once I was back home. Although my husband was very supportive throughout, once I was 'better', he didn't like talking about it so I worried about the things I said and did during my illness, and this occurred many at night. Are you back at work at all? I found just generally keeping myself active helped with my mood and sleep after stopping my medication x

  • I'm just constantly mentally checking, hard to explain really. I analyse the way I feel all the time because I'm so scared of becoming ill again. Also one of the girls I met on the ward has had a relapse and has just been sectioned which is also playing on my mind. That would be dreadful without my daughter. Saying that I was never sectioned during my PP. I'm not back at work yet but really want to be. I go to the gym and am ok when I'm busy, it's when I stop that I become anxious. Overthinking things I think :-( x

  • Hello bethanylj

    I hope you don't mind me replying on your thread after your supportive reply on the forum. I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you have had a rocky 20 months and you are suffering anxiety. It must be very difficult for you to cope with thoughts and feelings on your own. Have you been discharged from your care team?

    As we have 'spoken' here before I think you might know that my PP was years ago. Like you I struggled with similar thoughts and needed medical support and counselling to help me so I'm worried you are trying to cope on your own. It took me two years or more to find my place again so please don't give up hope as the genie really will return and be stronger than ever :)

    It's good to hear that you are feeling better than last year. I think after all you have been through with treatment you have a positive attitude to recovery and as you say, things will get better and better in years to come.

    Take very good care of yourself ..... we are all here to lean on.

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