What is it?

Olazax is a medicine containing the active substance olanzapine. It is available as yellow, round tablets (5, 7.5 10, 15 and 20 mg).
Olazax is a ?generic medicine?. This means that Olazax is similar to a ?reference medicine? already authorised in the European Union (EU) called Zyprexa. For more information on generic medicines, see the question-and-answer document here.

Table of Contents
What is it used for?
How is it used?
How does it work?
How has it been studied?
What benefits has it shown during the studies?
What is the risk associated?
Why has it been approved?

What is it used for?

Olazax is used to treat adults with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that has a number of symptoms, including disorganised thinking and speech, hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that are not there), suspiciousness and delusions (mistaken beliefs). Olazax is also effective in maintaining improvement in patients who have responded to an initial course of treatment.
Olazax is also used to treat moderate to severe manic episodes (extremely high mood) in adults. It can also be used to prevent the recurrence of these episodes (when symptoms come back) in adults with bipolar disorder (a mental illness with alternating periods of high mood and depression) who have responded to an initial course of treatment.
The medicine can only be obtained with a prescription.

How is it used?

The recommended starting dose of Olazax depends on the disease being treated: 10 mg per day is used in schizophrenia and in the prevention of manic episodes, and 15 mg per day in the treatment of manic episodes, unless it is used with other medicines, in which case the starting dose can be 10 mg per day. The dose is adjusted according to how well the patient responds to and tolerates the treatment. The usual dose range is between 5 and 20 mg per day. Patients over 65 years of age and patients who have problems with their liver or kidneys may need a lower starting dose of 5 mg per day.

How does it work?

The active substance in Olazax, olanzapine, is an antipsychotic medicine. It is known as an ?atypical? antipsychotic because it is different from the older antipsychotic medicines that have been available since the 1950s. Its exact mechanism of action is unknown, but it attaches to several different receptors on the surface of nerve cells in the brain. This disrupts signals transmitted between brain cells by ?neurotransmitters?, chemicals that allow nerve cells to communicate with each other. It is thought that olanzapine?s beneficial effect is due to it blocking receptors for the neurotransmitters 5-hydroxytrypamine (also called serotonin) and dopamine. Since these neurotransmitters are involved in schizophrenia and in bipolar disorder, olanzapine helps to normalise the activity of the brain, reducing the symptoms of these diseases.

How has it been studied?

Because Olazax is a generic medicine, studies have been limited to tests to determine that it is bioequivalent to the reference medicine, Zyprexa. Medicines are bioequivalent when they produce the same levels of the active substance in the body.

What benefits has it shown during the studies?

Because Olazax is a generic medicine and is bioequivalent to the reference medicine, its benefit and risk are taken as being the same as the reference medicine.

What is the risk associated?

Because Olazax is a generic medicine and is bioequivalent to the reference medicine, its benefit and risk are taken as being the same as the reference medicine.

Why has it been approved?

The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) concluded that, in accordance with EU requirements, Olazax has been shown to have comparable quality and to be bioequivalent to Zyprexa. Therefore, the CHMP?s view was that, as for Zyprexa, the benefit outweighs the identified risk. The Committee recommended that Olazax be given marketing authorisation.

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