Earlier this week the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved generic versions of two key drugs used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Zyprexa (olanzapine tablets) and Zyprexa Zydus (olanzapine orally disintegrating tablets) are the schizophrenia drugs now available in generic that are used widely across the US to help patients manage symptoms of schizophrenia, including hallucinations, delusions, racing thoughts and hearing voices. Patients with bipolar disorder may experience wildly fluctuating energy levels and the ability to complete tasks as well as shifts in mood or motivation.
Generic drugs can be a boon for patients struggling to manage rising prescription costs, and the medications are held to the same stringent standards as their proprietary counterparts. The generic forms of popular medications have the same levels of stability, effectiveness and product purity found in name brand drugs but at a far lower cost much of the time.
Keith Webber, PhD is the deputy director of the Office of Pharmaceutical Science at the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, and he commented on the now-expanded access to schizophrenia drugs:
“The approval of generic olanzapine offers greater access to a widely used treatment for mental illnesses. Having affordable treatment options is good for patients with long-term illnesses that must be carefully managed.”
Olanzapine is not approved for treating schizophrenia-like symptoms in the elderly suffering from dementia, and can raise the risk of death in such populations. The schizophrenia drug is not approved for this use. Weight gain and risks related to blood sugar and cholesterol are also linked to usage of the medication.