Depression Home > Olanzapine and Fluoxetine

Olanzapine and fluoxetine is a medication that is used for the treatment of depression associated with bipolar disorder, as well as treatment-resistant depression. It helps control symptoms by blocking or lessening the effects of certain brain chemicals. The medication comes in capsule form and is generally taken once a day. Potential side effects of olanzapine and fluoxetine include diarrhea, drowsiness, and weight gain.

What Is Olanzapine and Fluoxetine?

Olanzapine and fluoxetine (Symbyax®) is a prescription medication approved for the following uses:


It is a combination of two different medications: olanzapine (Zyprexa®) and fluoxetine (Prozac®).


Who Makes Olanzapine and Fluoxetine?

Olanzapine and fluoxetine is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company.
(Click What Is Olanzapine and Fluoxetine Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

How Does Olanzapine and Fluoxetine Work?

Olanzapine and fluoxetine contains two different medications (olanzapine and fluoxetine). Olanzapine belongs to a group of medications called atypical (or second-generation) antipsychotic medications. It is not entirely known how olanzapine and fluoxetine works for the treatment bipolar disorder. However, it is known to block or lessen the effects of several chemicals in the brain. These chemicals (such as dopamine and serotonin) may be elevated in people with bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression).
Fluoxetine is part of a class of antidepressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs for short. SSRIs affect a specific chemical within the brain known as serotonin. Serotonin is one of several chemicals used to send messages from one nerve cell to another.
As a message travels down a nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release serotonin. The serotonin enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it. When enough serotonin reaches the second nerve cell, it activates receptors on the cell, and the message continues on its way. The first cell then quickly absorbs any serotonin that remains in the gap between the cells. This is called "reuptake."
Normally, this process works without any problems. However, when the levels of serotonin become unbalanced, it can cause a variety of conditions, including bipolar disorder. Fluoxetine helps to block the reuptake of serotonin so that more remains in the space between the brain's nerve cells. This gives the serotonin a better chance of activating the receptors on the next nerve cell.
Olanzapine and fluoxetine is not a cure for bipolar disorder or depression; it only helps to control symptoms (see Bipolar Disorder Symptoms).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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