Bipolar disorder treatment Symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine HCl) is indicated for the treatment of depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder. Symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine HCl) is a combincation of two drugs, olanzapine (Zyprexa) and fluoxetine (Prozac). Unlike with unipolar depression, there are no established guidelines for the length of time patients with bipolar disorder experiencing a major depressive episode should be treated with agents containing antidepressant drugs.
The effectiveness of Symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine HCl) for maintaining antidepressant response in this patient population beyond 8 weeks has not been established in controlled clinical studies. Physicians who elect to use Symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine HCl) for extended periods should periodically reevaluate the benefits and long-term risks of the drug for the individual patient.
Although its exact mechanism of action is unknown, Symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine HCl) is believed to be
effective because it synergistically leverages the power of olanzapine and the antidepressant
effect of fluoxetine. It is theorized that the combination produces an enhanced antidepressant
effect on bipolar depression by increasing the levels of the three major neurotransmitters
(chemical messengers) involved in depression - serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Bipolar disorder is a complex mental illness characterized by debilitating mood swings ranging from episodes of deep depression marked by feelings of extreme guilt, sadness, anxiety and, at times, suicidal thoughts to episodes of mania (abnormal euphoria, elation and irritability), interspersed with periods of normal mood.
Patients with bipolar disorder spend more than three times longer in the depressive phase than in the manic phase of the disorder and take longer to recover from it. Additionally, the depressive phase of bipolar disorder is associated with higher rates of morbidity and mortality. It is estimated that one in four people with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide at least once, and the relative risk of suicide among patients with bipolar depression has been shown to be nearly 35 times greater than for patients in the manic phase of bipolar disorder.
The most common Symbyax side effects reported in patients in clinical trials was drowsiness. Other common Symbyax side effects noticed in clinical trials were weight gain, increased appetite, feeling weak, swelling, tremor, sore throat, and difficulty concentrating. A more detailed list of Symbyax side effects will follow at a later date.
Symbyax bipolar disorder treatment should not be administered until at least two weeks have passed since discontinuing an
MAO inhibitor, and an MAO inhibitor is contraindicated for at least five weeks after
discontinuation with Prozac. Thioridazine should not be administered with Symbyax or within a
minimum of 5 weeks after discontinuing Symbyax. Symbyax should be discontinued
immediately if Symbyax side effects like rash or other possibly allergic phenomena appear for which an alternative
explanation cannot be identified. Due to the cyclical nature of bipolar disorder, patients should be monitored for the signs of Symbyax side effects like mania and hypomania during treatment with Symbyax.
FDA Approved Bipolar Depression Medications