What is Zyprexa?
Zyprexa belongs to a class of drugs called atypical antipsychotics that work by helping restore the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. The medication is used to treat certain mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and may be prescribed in combination with other drugs to treat depression. Zyprexa can decrease hallucinations and help users think more clearly and positively about themselves, feel less agitated and take a more active part in everyday life.
Olanzapine Linked to Severe Skin Condition: FDA Warning
On May 10, 2016, FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication stating that labels of olanzapine-containing antipsychotics (Zyprexa, Zyprexa Zydis, Zyprexa Relprevv, Symbyax) will be updated with information about a possible risk of drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS). The agency has received at least 23 reports of DRESS — including one in which a patient died — associated with olanzapine since it was first approved in 1996.
What is DRESS?
DRESS is a potentially fatal skin reaction whose symptoms include rash, swollen lymph nodes and swollen face. The condition can result in injury to vital organs including the liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas or heart, and it has a mortality rate of up to 10%.
FDA is advising healthcare providers to explain the symptoms of DRESS to patients before prescribing any olanzapine-containing medication, and to instruct patients to seek immediate medical attention if they have symptoms such as a fever with rash and swollen lymph glands.
Zyprexa Side Effects
In addition to being linked to DRESS, Zyprexa may cause the following serious side effects in some users:
- Heart attack
- Torsades de Pointes (abnormal heart rhythm)
- Ventricular fibrillation (heart stops pumping blood)
- QT interval abnormalities (heart cells take a long time to recharge)
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Cardiac death
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hyperglycemia and other blood sugar disorders
- Necrotizing pancreatitis (condition in which cells in the pancreas die)
Other, less severe side effects of Zyprexa may include:
- Akathisia (an inability to sit still)
- Weight gain (more likely in teenagers)
- Increased appetite
- Memory problems
- Stomach pain
- Loss of bladder control
- Back pain
- Pain in your arms or legs
- Numbness or tingly feeling
- Breast swelling or discharge (in women or men)
- Missed menstrual periods
Zyprexa Settlement Information
In 2009, Eli Lilly pleaded guilty to a charge of illegally marketing Zyprexa “off-label” for the treatment of dementia, and agreed to pay $1.42 billion to settle lawsuits and end a criminal investigation. Specifically, Lilly said it would pay $800 million to settle civil suits, including $438 million to the federal government and $362 million to states. The company also agreed to pay $615 million to resolve the criminal probe, and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
“The company made hundreds of millions of dollars by trying to convince health care providers that Zyprexa was safe for unapproved uses,” said Laurie Magid, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, noting that Lilly was “responsible for putting thousands and thousands of patients at risk.”
Has a Class Action Been Filed?
In April 2004, a nationwide class action lawsuit was filed against Eli Lilly on behalf of Zyprexa users who developed type 2 diabetes. The suit, filed in New York District Court, named 3 people who were diagnosed with diabetes after taking Zyprexa.
In another class action settlement reached in June 2005, Lilly agreed to pay $690 million to settle product liability claims by 8,000 plaintiffs who alleged Zyprexa caused diabetic and hyperglycemic side effects. In January 2007, the company agreed to pay $500 million more to settle 18,000 additional Zyprexa lawsuits.
Do I Have a Zyprexa Lawsuit?
The Class Action Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Zyprexa lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you were injured by Zyprexa side effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.