May 23, 2017
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Zyprexa Relprevv

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Zyprexa Relprevv


Mechanism Of Action

The mechanism of action of olanzapine, as with other drugs having efficacy in schizophrenia, is unknown. However, it has been proposed that this drug’s efficacy in schizophrenia is mediated through a combination of dopamine and serotonin type 2 (5HT2) antagonism.


Olanzapine binds with high affinity to the following receptors: serotonin 5HT2A/2C, 5HT6 (Ki=4, 11, and 5 nM, respectively), dopamine D1-4 (Ki=11-31 nM), histamine H1 (Ki=7 nM), and adrenergic α1 receptors (Ki=19 nM). Olanzapine is an antagonist with moderate affinity binding for serotonin 5HT3 (Ki=57 nM) and muscarinic M1-5 (Ki=73, 96, 132, 32, and 48 nM, respectively). Olanzapine binds weakly to GABAA, BZD, and β-adrenergic receptors (Ki>10 μM).

Antagonism at receptors other than dopamine and 5HT2 may explain some of the other therapeutic and side effects of olanzapine. Olanzapine‘s antagonism of muscarinic M1-5 receptors may explain its anticholinergic-like effects. Olanzapine’s antagonism of histamine H1 receptors may explain the somnolence observed with this drug. Olanzapine’s antagonism of adrenergic α1 receptors may explain the orthostatic hypotension observed with this drug.


The fundamental pharmacokinetic properties of olanzapine are similar for ZYPREXA RELPREVV and orally administered olanzapine. Refer to the section below describing the pharmacokinetics of orally administered olanzapine for details.

Slow dissolution of ZYPREXA RELPREVV, a practically insoluble salt, after a deep intramuscular gluteal injection of a dose of ZYPREXA RELPREVV results in prolonged systemic olanzapine plasma concentrations that are sustained over a period of weeks to months. An injection every 2 or 4 weeks provides olanzapine plasma concentrations that are similar to those achieved by daily doses of oral olanzapine. The steady-state plasma concentrations for ZYPREXA RELPREVV for doses of 150 mg to 405 mg every 2 or 4 weeks are within the range of steady-state olanzapine plasma concentration known to have been associated with oral doses of 5 mg to 20 mg olanzapine once daily. The change to a slow release, rate-controlled absorption process is the only fundamental pharmacokinetic difference between the administration of ZYPREXA RELPREVV and orally administered olanzapine. The effective half-life for olanzapine after intramuscular ZYPREXA RELPREVV administration is approximately 30 days as compared to a half-life after oral administration of approximately 30 hours. Exposure to olanzapine may persist for a period of months after a ZYPREXA RELPREVV injection. The long persistence of systemic concentrations of olanzapine may be an important consideration for the long-term clinical management of the patient. Typical systemic olanzapine plasma concentrations reach a peak within the first week after injection and are at trough level immediately prior to the next injection. The olanzapine plasma concentration fluctuation between the peak and trough is comparable to the peak and trough fluctuations associated with once daily oral dosing.

Dose Proportionality And Oral Dose Correspondence

ZYPREXA RELPREVV provides a dose of 150, 210, 300, or 405 mg olanzapine. An injection of a larger dose produces a dose-proportional increase in the systemic exposure. The olanzapine exposure after doses of ZYPREXA RELPREVV corresponds to exposure for oral doses of olanzapine. A ZYPREXA RELPREVV dose of 300 mg olanzapine injected every two weeks delivers approximately 20 mg olanzapine per day and a ZYPREXA RELPREVV dose of 150 mg olanzapine injected every two weeks delivers approximately 10 mg per day. These ZYPREXA RELPREVV doses sustain steady-state olanzapine concentrations over long periods of treatment.

Pharmacokinetic Impact Of Switching To ZYPREXA RELPREVV From Oral Olanzapine

The switch from oral olanzapine to ZYPREXA RELPREVV changes the pharmacokinetics from an elimination-rate-controlled to an absorptionrate-controlled process. The switch to ZYPREXA RELPREVV may require treatment for a period of approximately 3 months to re-establish steady-state conditions. Initial treatment with ZYPREXA RELPREVV is recommended at a dose corresponding to the mg/day oral dose [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Plasma concentrations of olanzapine during the first injection interval may be lower than those maintained by a corresponding oral dose. Even though the concentrations are lower, the olanzapine concentrations remained within a therapeutically effective range and supplementation with orally administered olanzapine was generally not necessary in clinical trials.

Olanzapine is extensively distributed throughout the body, with a volume of distribution of approximately 1000 L. It is 93% bound to plasma proteins over the concentration range of 7 to 1100 ng/mL, binding primarily to albumin and α1-acid glycoprotein.

Metabolism And Elimination

Following a single oral dose of 14C labeled olanzapine, 7% of the dose of olanzapine was recovered in the urine as unchanged drug, indicating that olanzapine is highly metabolized. Approximately 57% and 30% of the dose was recovered in the urine and feces, respectively. In the plasma, olanzapine accounted for only 12% of the AUC for total radioactivity, indicating significant exposure to metabolites. After multiple dosing, the major circulating metabolites were the 10-N-glucuronide, present at steady state at 44% of the concentration of olanzapine, and 4L-N-desmethyl olanzapine, present at steady state at 31% of the concentration of olanzapine. Both metabolites lack pharmacological activity at the concentrations observed.

Direct glucuronidation and cytochrome P450 (CYP) mediated oxidation are the primary metabolic pathways for olanzapine. In vitro studies suggest that CYPs 1A2 and 2D6, and the flavin-containing monooxygenase system are involved in olanzapine oxidation. CYP2D6 mediated oxidation appears to be a minor metabolic pathway in vivo, because the clearance of olanzapine is not reduced in subjects who are deficient in this enzyme.

Intramuscular Formulations

There are two formulations of ZYPREXA which are available for intramuscular injection. One form (ZYPREXA RELPREVV) is described in this package insert. The other formulation (ZYPREXA IntraMuscular) is a solution of olanzapine. When ZYPREXA IntraMuscular is injected intramuscularly, olanzapine (as the free base) is rapidly absorbed and peak plasma concentrations occur within 15 to 45 minutes. With the exception of higher maximum plasma concentrations, the pharmacokinetics of olanzapine after ZYPREXA IntraMuscular are similar to those for orally administered olanzapine. Refer to the package insert for ZYPREXA IntraMuscular for additional information.

Specific Populations

In general, the decision to use ZYPREXA RELPREVV in specific populations should be thoughtfully considered. For patients who have never taken oral olanzapine, tolerability should be established with oral olanzapine prior to initiating treatment with ZYPREXA RELPREVV. The recommended starting dose is ZYPREXA RELPREVV 150 mg/4 wks, in patients who are debilitated, who have a predisposition to hypotensive reactions, who otherwise exhibit a combination of factors that may result in slower metabolism of olanzapine (e.g., nonsmoking female patients >65 years of age), or who may be more pharmacodynamically sensitive to olanzapine. W hen indicated, dose escalation should be performed with caution in these patients [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Precautions noted below need to be carefully weighed.

Renal Impairment

Because olanzapine is highly metabolized before excretion and only 7% of the drug is excreted unchanged, renal dysfunction alone is unlikely to have a major impact on the pharmacokinetics of olanzapine. The pharmacokinetic characteristics of orally administered olanzapine were similar in patients with severe renal impairment and normal subjects, indicating that dosage adjustment based upon the degree of renal impairment is not required. In addition, olanzapine is not removed by dialysis. The effect of renal impairment on metabolite elimination has not been studied.

Hepatic Impairment

Although the presence of hepatic impairment may be expected to reduce the clearance of olanzapine, a study of the effect of impaired liver function in subjects (n=6) with clinically significant (Childs Pugh Classification A and B) cirrhosis revealed little effect on the pharmacokinetics of orally administered olanzapine.


In a study involving 24 healthy subjects, the mean elimination half-life of orally administered olanzapine was about 1.5 times greater in elderly (≥65 years) than in nonelderly subjects (<65 years). Caution should be used in dosing the elderly, especially if there are other factors that might additively influence drug metabolism and/or pharmacodynamic sensitivity [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].


For both oral ZYPREXA and ZYPREXA RELPREVV higher average plasma concentrations of olanzapine were observed in women than in men. There were, however, no apparent differences between men and women in effectiveness or adverse effects. Dosage modifications based on gender should not be needed.

Smoking Status

For both oral ZYPREXA and ZYPREXA RELPREVV, studies have demonstrated that the clearance of olanzapine is higher in smokers than in nonsmokers, although dosage modifications are not routinely recommended.


In vivo studies of orally administered olanzapine have shown that exposures are similar among Japanese, Chinese and Caucasians, especially after normalization for body weight differences. Dosage modifications for race are, therefore, not recommended.

Combined Effects

The combined effects of age, smoking, and gender could lead to substantial pharmacokinetic differences in populations. The clearance in young smoking males, for example, may be 3 times higher than that in elderly nonsmoking females. Dosing modification may be necessary in patients who exhibit a combination of factors that may result in slower metabolism of olanzapine [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Animal Toxicology And/Or Pharmacology

In animal studies with olanzapine, the principal hematologic findings were reversible peripheral cytopenias in individual dogs dosed at 10 mg/kg (17 times the maximum recommended human daily oral dose on a mg/m2 basis), dose-related decreases in lymphocytes and neutrophils in mice, and lymphopenia in rats. A few dogs treated with 10 mg/kg developed reversible neutropenia and/or reversible hemolytic anemia between 1 and 10 months of treatment. Dose-related decreases in lymphocytes and neutrophils were seen in mice given doses of 10 mg/kg (equal to 2 times the maximum recommended human daily oral dose on a mg/m2 basis) in studies of 3 months’ duration. Nonspecific lymphopenia, consistent with decreased body weight gain, occurred in rats receiving 22.5 mg/kg (11 times the maximum recommended human daily oral dose on a mg/m2 basis) for 3 months or 16 mg/kg (8 times the maximum recommended human daily oral dose on a mg/m2 basis) for 6 or 12 months. No evidence of bone marrow cytotoxicity was found in any of the species examined. Bone marrows were normocellular or hypercellular, indicating that the reductions in circulating blood cells were probably due to peripheral (non-marrow) factors.

Clinical Studies


The short-term effectiveness of ZYPREXA RELPREVV was established in an 8-week, placebo-controlled trial in adult patients (n=404) who were experiencing psychotic symptoms and met DSM-IV or DSM-IV-TR criteria for schizophrenia. Patients were randomized to receive injections of ZYPREXA RELPREVV 210 mg every 2 weeks, ZYPREXA RELPREVV 405 mg every 4 weeks, ZYPREXA RELPREVV 300 mg every 2 weeks, or placebo every 2 weeks. Patients were discontinued from their previous antipsychotics and underwent a 2-7 day washout period. No oral antipsychotic supplementation was allowed throughout the trial. The primary efficacy measure was change from baseline to endpoint in total Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) score (mean baseline total PANSS score 101). Total PANSS scores showed statistically significant improvement from baseline to endpoint with each dose of ZYPREXA RELPREVV (210 mg every 2 weeks, 405 mg every 4 weeks, and 300 mg every 2 weeks) as compared to placebo. The effectiveness of ZYPREXA RELPREVV in the treatment of schizophrenia is further supported by the established effectiveness of the oral formulation of olanzapine.

A longer-term trial enrolled patients with schizophrenia (n=1065) who had remained stable for 4 to 8 weeks on open-label treatment with oral olanzapine (mean baseline total PANSS score 56) and were then randomized to continue their current oral olanzapine dose (10, 15, or 20 mg/day); or to ZYPREXA RELPREVV 150 mg every 2 weeks (405 mg every 4 weeks, 300 mg every 2 weeks, or 45 mg every 4 weeks). No oral antipsychotic supplementation was allowed throughout the trial. The primary efficacy measure was time to exacerbation of symptoms of schizophrenia defined in terms of increases in Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) positive symptoms or hospitalization. ZYPREXA RELPREVV doses of 150 mg every 2 weeks, 405 mg every 4 weeks, and 300 mg every 2 weeks were each statistically significantly superior to low dose ZYPREXA RELPREVV (45 mg every 4 weeks).

Last reviewed on RxList: 3/21/2017
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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