Zyprexa is an anti-psychotic medication that was approved in 1996 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of schizophrenia. Zyprexa is a member of a class of drugs commonly referred to as second generation anti-psychotics (SGAs) or atypical anti-psychotics. When Zyprexa was approved in 1996, there were 2 other such SGA medications already available on the market. Consequently, Zyprexa is considered a me-too drug, joining a class of existing medications prescribed for the treatment of common disorders.
The second generation anti-psychotics were developed as an alternative to the so-called first generation anti-psychotics (FGAs). The SGAs were designed to be more effective in the treatment of anti-psychotics disorders with fewer of the side effects generally associated with the use of FGAs.
Zyprexa is the most commonly prescribed of the six SGAs currently available. The generic name of Zyprexa is olanzapine. Zyprexa has been prescribed to more than 14 million people in 84 countries since its approval in 1996.
In September 2003, The FDA ordered Eli Lilly to revise the label of Zyprexa by adding a Zyprexa side effect warning that hyperglycemia, in some cases extreme and associated with ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar coma or death, has been reported in patients treated with atypical anti-psychotics. Among the more serious outcomes resulting from hyperglycemic abnormalities are diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, diabetic coma and, in some cases death.