Olanzapine alternative: Hi ladies, I... - Action on Postpar...

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Olanzapine alternative

NicJK profile image
NicJK

Hi ladies, I hope you are all keeping well. I have posted a bunch of times about my struggles with Olanzapine. Unfortunately the 5mg of Olanzapine I'm taking is making me feel low because of how it flattens my emotions. I often feel like an outsider with my own family because I don't have the emotional ability to laugh with them and join in with conversations. Have any of you been on an alternative medication that doesn't flatten your emotions? I have had discussions about this with my psychiatrist and he has offered for me to change medications but I'd like to hear from mums that have had first hand experience on meds. Thank you in advance

17 Replies

Good morning,

I share your terrible journey with Olazapine. It made me feel low, flat, emotionless & I ended up feeling really down & detached. I stayed on the Olazapine but was prescribed citralopam to help with anxiety and mood. It was such a relief when it kicked in.

I appreciate the Olazapine was really needed as it got me out of my psychosis very quickly but the side effects are strong.

As I started to reduce my Olazapine dose, it was like a cloud lifted. I gradually started to feel happy emotions again. I’m now on a very small dose 0.3mgs & planning to continue to reduce this to eventually be off it.

I hope you find a happy balance soon. xxx

NicJK profile image
NicJK in reply to Treat2019

Thank you so much for your response Treat2019. I'm sorry that you also experienced a horrible time with Olanzapine. I'm glad that Citralopam helped you! You're lucky that you're now on such a low dose of Olanzapine. And it is such a big relief that your happy emotions have returned! Just wondering, how are you reducing your Olanzapine? Do you cut and weigh your pill?

Treat2019 profile image
Treat2019 in reply to NicJK

Hi.

I’ve been on a long journey of reducing my Olazapine. I was initially on 12.5mg in the MBU & quickly dropped to 10mg. I took 10mg PM for a year. I then started to reduce down to 7.5mg, 5mg and then 2.5mg. This bit was totally straight forward & felt amazing to feel my emotions again. The trouble started trying to get off the 2.5mgs. Every time I dropped down I’d start waking up earlier & earlier, feeling more & more anxious until I couldn’t coupe & had to go back up. So I started using a pill cutter, dropped to 1/2, then 1/4 & now 1/8. It was pretty straight forward until I got to 1/8! I’ve never weighed them just used by judgement so it’s not an exact science. My psychiatrist has said that’s ok as I don’t need the dose I’m on, it’s just helping with my sleep.

I’ve tried to stop off the 1/8 & struggled again so next time they are going to order me liquid Olazapine which I can then measure in an even smaller dose. It’s crazy to think that I need to go even slower than I have been but taking it slowly has got me to this stage. I’m determined to get off it eventually.

I’m also trying to supplement my reduction with a course of acupuncture. I’ve had 3 sessions, it definitely makes me feel relaxed & I sleep well the night after the treatment. I had my best weeks sleep last week so sticking with it currently.

Are you trying to reduce down currently? If so I wish you lots of luck & happy to share any more details of what I did so far. Not an expert just yet as still have a bit to go.

Take care. xxx

So good to hear others experience so we can all learn. I had no idea about liquid Olanzapine but good to know. Similarly I had exactly the same reaction to coming off 2.5mg very low dose as yourself. I think it took 4 attempts in the end. But I have now been over a year meds free. I also ended up using a pill cutter etc to come off extra slowly so in the end was taking quarter of the pill. My consultant thinks perhaps I did have withdrawal symptoms given how difficult it was. I would have major anxiety and sleepless nights when I stopped. It was very scary. I think finding the right time too helps so you’re most relaxed and also for me mainly it was trusting and accepting I was ok and didn’t need the drugs to sleep anymore. Good luck with your own journey. xx

NicJK profile image
NicJK in reply to Treat2019

Wow you definitely have been on a very long journey with Olanzapine Treat2019. Thank you very much for explaining how you reached your very low dose. I have been doing lots of research on Olanzapine withdrawal and have joined Facebook groups, and it is very common for people to struggle coming off Olanzapine. Many people trim and weigh their pills and others have their pills compounded into capsules or liquid. You are actually lucky that you were able to drop straight down to 2.5mg from 5mg, as many can't even do that. I dropped to 4.750mg using a dissolvable tablet and water a while ago and my sleep got really messed up so I will need to go even slower down to 2.5mg which is a bit distressing for me because I can't wait to feel my emotions again.

Fantastic that acupuncture is helping you! I might also give that a go once I start tapering. It gives me such comfort in knowing I'm not alone in my experience with Olanzapine, so thanks again. Wishing you all the best and hoping that you have a smooth journey coming completely off olanzapine xoxo

Treat2019 profile image
Treat2019 in reply to NicJK

I’ve seen you post previously & also found it reassuring I’m not alone. My peer support worker has also supported me a lot.

My psychiatrist doesn’t believe in withdrawal effects which isn’t that great in terms of support but like you I’ve read so much about it, we are not alone.

It’s such a battle getting off this! I’m sorry your not at a stage where you can feel your emotions- I remember finding this incredibly difficult. You will get there. It’s definitely worth an ask to discuss other medications. I was initially reluctant to add something else for fear of not getting off this too. But it really helped & I came off the Citalopram steadily with absolutely no issues.

I might see if my pharmacist can get the dissolvable tablets too. Did you dissolve it yourself? The liquid they’ve suggested for the next stage has a really short shelf life so is going to pose an issue collecting it around work.

I’d really rate the acupuncture, even if It gives me just one good nights sleep a week it’s a massive help.

I really wish you lots of luck too. Feel free to message me again. It’s good to support each other with something so difficult. Lots of love. xxx

NicJK profile image
NicJK in reply to Treat2019

Thanks so much Treat2019. Please feel free to message me too! I agree that it’s great to support eachother.

In terms of the dissolvable tablets- they are called orodispersible tablets and your psychiatrist or doctor can definitely prescribe them. They just need to write “ODT” next to olanzapine on your script. They only come in a 5mg strength so you would need to cut it in half and then you can dissolve it in water and work out how much water to remove to make your desired mg. It is much more cost effective than having liquid compounded. Also, any pharmacy that does compounding to liquid should also be able to compound into capsules, so you could ask them if they can help you to reduce that way. But that option is very pricey.

If you have any more questions please feel free to ask. All the best to you xox

Olanzapine is a miracle drug for psychosis and bipolar mania but imo not good as a maintenance drug , there are many alternatives pharmaceutical or natural

AlexandraJay profile image
AlexandraJayVolunteer in reply to lillyofthevalley37

Hi there,

What are the natur alternatives? Interested to know more.

Best wishes :)

I'm on aripiprazole. It's am antipsychotic but is not sedating like olanzapine or quetiapine. My team felt that, as a single mum I wouldn't be able to take those and still care for kids overnight. It has it's drawbacks, like they all do, for me that was horrible restless legs that needed a prescription for another drug to settle, but otherwise it's a good drug for me (I'm on lithium too as I have bipolar). Good luck finding a good alternative.

Did you put on weight with aripiprazole pls?

Aripiprazole is about about best option for avoiding weight gain. Not gonna lie, I have put on some weight (size 8 to size 14) since I went on it, but I also know my diet isn't the best and I don't exercise enough, so it's not totally clear that it's the aripiprazole.

EmiMum profile image
EmiMumVolunteer

Hi NicJK

How are you doing? I am sorry to hear about how the side effects of olanzapine are affecting you at the moment. I don't have experience with other anti-psychotic medication apart from olanzapine, so I am sorry I can't be more helpful. Medication is a bit of a minefield, isn't it? Our body's chemistry can be so different, that is by far a one size fits all, it is trial and error to an extent.

I do remember feeling flatter while on 5 mg of olanzapine, less so when I was able to drop to 2.5 mg, but it is always a matter of trade off between feeling well and managing the side effects. Still, it is important to discuss with your psychiatrist how you are feeling, he/she will be well placed to advise if you need to take a complementary medication for the side effects or if a switch could be a better approach. As with everything, if you are planning a change in medication, do be conscientious of doing it a good time for you, when the stressors are at a minimum and you are feeling OK.

Best of luck in finding a good medication and dose that suits you, take good care

NicJK profile image
NicJK in reply to EmiMum

Hi EmiMum, so lovely to hear from you! Thank you for your great advice and support. I hope you are doing well :)

EmiMum profile image
EmiMumVolunteer in reply to NicJK

Hi NicJK,

All well at this end, thanks for asking. Sending you love and support from a distance.

AlexandraJay profile image
AlexandraJayVolunteer

Hi NicJK,

I have been on 5mg Olanzipine for 1 year this month and I am now in the process of switching to Quetuapine. My reasons for wanting to switch was weight gain and feeling very tired all of the time. I will keep you posted about changing to Quetiapine and how I find it.

Sending love and best wishes

NicJK profile image
NicJK in reply to AlexandraJay

Hi AlexandraJay, oh wow! I have also considered changing to Quetiapine because I’ve heard that people feel less numb on it as it hits less dopamine receptors than Olanzapine. Do you also feel emotionally numb on Olanzapine? I’m very much looking forward to hearing how you go. Thanks so much xx

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