Dealing with Olanzipine Side Effects - Action on Postpar...

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Dealing with Olanzipine Side Effects


How do you deal with side effects of Olanzipine? I find it hard because it makes me so drowsy that my motivation drops. I also find that it's hard to have conversations and my thoughts are slowed down. I take 15mg at the moment but this may be able to be reduced to 10mg by the end of the year. I am finding the side effects difficult. I just want to feel like myself again.

14 Replies

Hi vlk86

I’m sorry to hear you’re still struggling with side effects from olanzapine. I didn’t take that particular medication, I took quetiapine which can also cause the side effects you describe. It did improve for me over time, I mainly suffered from restless legs further down the line but early on the drowsiness was awful to cope with. I would then have times it would be a problem and I could barely string a sentence together, I remember having conversations with people where I was convinced they must have thought I was drunk. Everything felt very ‘dulled’, including me.

Did you try some of the suggestions from your previous post, and you can also look for other similar posts on the forum (you can search ‘olanzapine’) for more experiences and ideas? If the side effects feel really unmanageable you could discuss this with your doctor or a pharmacist perhaps? I know it’s really hard not feeling completely ourselves but you won’t feel this way forever, it’s good there’s a plan to reduce your dose. Hopefully in the meantime you can keep trying out different strategies and find some that work for you to make things more manageable.

Do look after yourself.

Best wishes,

Jenny x

vlk86 in reply to Jenny_at_APP

Thanks Jenny. Some of the responses from last time did help. I try to be kind to myself and take it slow in the mornings. I have also tried going for walks and drinking more water. I just wanted to post again because I have still been finding it very difficult at times so wanted to reach out for some more support. I'm counting down the days until it can be reduced.

Jenny_at_APPAdministrator in reply to vlk86

Hi vlk86,

It can be so horrible, I am sorry it’s so difficult at times and I’m sure you’ll find lots of support here :) Do discuss things with your doctor if you feel you need to, and being kind to yourself is really important :)

Take care xx

Morning lovely, I feel your pain I’ve been there it’s one of the hardest things in the world to go through. I was on 20mg of Olanzapine from 2016 I came off it early as didn’t like the side effects however this backfired on me I had the worst relapse you can imagine and was hospitalised for 2 months. I went back on it again and only came off it this Jan slowly and monitored. I feel amazing now back to my old/new self but it takes time, i invested in myself a lot this year to get back on track using things like talking therapies, sound healing, mediation, nutritional therapy, personal trainer etc.

It’s all about patience and acceptance of where you’re at right now. Imagine if you were on chemotherapy or had any other physical health condition you would have to ride it out till the treatment is complete and allow recovery to take it’s time. This is the same in my view your being treated for a condition it’s not nice but it’s not forever there is an end goal. When I was on Olanzapine I couldn’t do as much, I couldn’t see as many friends didn’t have the energy, Couldn't hold long conversations, my face looked sad, I put on 4 stone in weight, I couldn’t be bothered with anything but had too, I went to work just about coped but not striving, I was sleeping and functioning not fully living. When I came off the Olanzapine I felt like I had stepped out of a coma it was amazing.

Trust me it’s worth the wait you will get through this keep talking to your GP or mental health team about how you feel they will work with you keep expressing yourself as best you can. Try not to rush the process you will get there I loved it every time I was dropping down my meds with support. Keep the goal insight you will get there. Talk to me any time I’ve been there.

you are loved just the way you are, you will get through this it's hard but not forever. It will be worth the wait when you return fully back to yourself again. Keep going hun I'm cheering you on.

PikoruaVolunteer in reply to EstherLinton40

This resonates so much with my experience dearest Esther.

I was on traditional drugs and like a sleeping pill and being cared for full time by my partner when released from hospital. Even though I am grateful for the meds in order to battle PPP, I am certainly on a different path with my continuous mental health challenges of BP1.

More information need to be made available for therapeutic opportunities or alternative combinations.

Stay safe...x

This is a post I put on my fb page this week.

Esther’s Lockdown self-care plan for the last 6 months.

I work in the NHS as a front line worker I write care plans/goals all the time for Patients but at the start of Lockdown I decided to work on my own one to keep me mentally and physical healthy and out of the NHS system here’s what the last 6 months have looked like.

Daily/Weekly/Monthly Plan

-Good quality sleep (aiming for 8 hours, challenging with a little child!!) improving my sleep hygiene/environment.

-Nutritionist to get me back on track (slow, steady, realistic)

-Sound healing weekly to rest my mind and body completely

-Psychotherapist using voice and movement therapy (chew throw the fat!!)

-More time in nature bliss

-Daily meditation guided – 10 mins AM 10mins PM

-Yoga – dipped in and out of

-Listening to inspirational people

-Cycling daily to and from nursery this is so special time with my daughter

-Dip in the river. Feel reconnected to self, wake up the body and mind, more letting go

-Personal trainer. Feels good on all levels

-Keeping clear boundaries between work and private life

-Quality time with my daughter (creative, cooking, running online parties for kids)

-5 Rhythms dancing on a Friday night - letting go, do what I love, express through movement

-Not doing any over time at work, having a proper lunch break!!

-PA for 2 hours a month to support with my Dyslexic challenges (takes off the stress)

-Coaching – reconnecting to my life Vision. Getting back to my ways2wellbeing work. Do what I love.

-Building on healthy routines and structure including planning weekly shopping (so much more productive, less stressful, going without my daughter, better meal planning).

-Doing what I love, dancing, singing, having fun weekly parties in my kitchen on zoom, time with family and friends.

-Time on my own. Dedicating a self-care day per week.

-Cleaner (never underestimate the power of having someone help you out at home. It can save a marriage!!!) this only started again towards the end of lockdown.

Does this seem too much? Not when you compare it to being an inpatient in a hospital the list is just as long. I won’t write it here but trust me it’s long the people that are involved.

End result of last 6 months – I feel amazing. I love where I am at. I wrote this post to raise awareness and to promote my wellbeing event but cant say anything here not appropriate. You will get there hun it's hard and painful but well worth it in the end.

Love Esther xx

Please note it's near to impossible to do all this on Olazapine be kind may b try one thing a week that's gentle. I love sound healing you dont have to do anything but lye down and listen to music love it. Please note Im Still on meds lithium but I'm ok with that for now.

PikoruaVolunteer in reply to EstherLinton40

All in stepping stones and in your own time. Look after yourself. x

PikoruaVolunteer in reply to EstherLinton40

Hello dearest EstherLinton...that sounds very inspirational! I will write to you in the chat room, soon. Got to get my son ready. Happy day.

Hi vlk86,

How is it going today? I am sorry to hear that the side effects are so difficult.

Esther's post is full of hopeful great advice. Its important to remember this is a passing phase. You have internalised quite well this is down to the medication, and as soon as the dose starts reducing you will feel more like yourself.

Many mums on this forum have experienced the same as you and we have made a full recovery. Still it doesn't take the sting out when you are in the midst of it, and I am sorry for that.

Comparing it to a physical illness like Esther says also helped me to accept my condition. Our brain is after all another organ in our body which depends on a careful balance of chemicals to work well. Same as someone with diabetes needs to compensate for an inbalance on their pancreas by taking insulin. Thankfully, postpartum psychosis is temporary and you will only need to take olanzapine for small period of time when you put it on the perspective of the many years you will enjoy being a mother to your gorgeous baby.

I stopped taking olanzapine on December 2019 and I can say that I enjoy motherhood fully at the moment. I feel like the period when I was still not a 100% myself has had no lasting impact whatsoever on the bond I have with my daughter.

Take good care my dear, hang in there, it gets much better and write here whenever you feel like.

Thanks for your support ladies. Unfortunately as I have now been diagnosed as bipolar I will likely have to take some olanzipine long term, but hopefully not at such a high doze. I did come off it completely but relapsed about a year later.

HazelloVolunteer in reply to vlk86

Hi vlk86,

I just wanted to say i can totally relate to what you're saying about being on olanzapine, having been on the same medication 3x. I found it very hard to be patient, both with myself and with involved professionals who wanted me to stay on longer term. Now that time has gone by i see that it was for the best to be on olanzapine for a while but it's hard when you're in the thick of it.

Personally, i always wondered if actually some of the low motivation was a symptom of depression rather than a side effect. I struggled with feeling depressed and anxious for about 2.5 years after my episode of PP.

I found it helpful to try to avoid comparing myself to "well" me but to instead try to tell myself the progress i had made from when i was at my most unwell. Things will get better with time and i hope that you are able to find ways to be kind to yourself in this phase. I'm still learning to be kind to myself...

Best wishes xx

PikoruaVolunteer in reply to Hazello

Thinking of you, too. Hazello x


Hello vlk86,

I am sorry about your struggles with the meds and relapse when coming off Olanzapine. Luckily there are quite a few ladies/mums, who have had similar experience and can share their experience and support with Olanzapine.

Weaning off is quite a difficult journey in itself. When recovering from PPP I needed a psychiatrist and my partner and I was in constant communication with health visitor and care coordinator. I was on 3 different/traditional drugs and the side effects were horrible. But yes, I recovered and weaned off successfully after a bit over one year.

Like you I have been diagnosed with BP1 in 2018. You will be able to talk to mums with BP1 on this site. It takes a while to digest, - in my case I needed to understand my case study and family background, but also reading up about research and facts with regards to the relationship between PPP and BP1. In addition I found BipolarUK very useful, especially at the moment with additional challenges, because of the Pandemic.

Always happy to talk further about BP1 and my coping strategies in "chat". Take it steady and stay safe.


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