The antipsychotic combination drug sold under the brand name Symbyax is made up of olanzapine and fluoxetine—two drugs that have been linked to myriad side effects ranging from diabetes to birth defects. If you have taken Symbyax and you believe it caused you or your child to suffer negative side effects, you need a sympathetic advocate who will represent only your interests—and who will make the process of obtaining compensation for your injuries as painless as possible. The Rottenstein Law Group knows this, and we want you to believe it. We might be the Symbyax law firm you are looking for.
What Is Symbyax and What Is It Prescribed For?
Symbyax is the brand name for the drug that combines olanzapine and fluoxetine. Made and sold by American pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, this prescription medication is used to treat bi-polar disorder induced depression and treatment-resistant depression. First approved in late 2003, Symbyax is sold in five oral dosage combinations ranging from 3mg/25mg of olanzapine/fluoxetine, respectively, to 12mg/50mg.
Olanzapine (sold separately as Zyprexa) is an “atypical antipsychotic” indicated for treating bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Atypical antipsychotic drugs are believed to block dopamine receptors in the brain, but unlike earlier antipsychotic drugs, they don’t cause involuntary body movements that can persist after ceasing use.
Fluoxetine is better known in its stand-alone form: Prozac, a member of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) class of antidepressants. SSRIs prevent receptors in the human brain from absorbing serotonin that has already been released. Serotonin helps maintain feelings of well-being in people, so preventing its re-absorption alleviates negative feelings. Unlike other drugs, such as buproprion (Wellbutrin), SSRIs minimally affect noradrenaline and dopamine, which regulate stress levels. SSRIs take several weeks to affect users. Studies show that olanzapine and fluoxetine work more effectively together than individually.
Symbyax Side Effects
Both olanzapine and fluoxetine cause side effects in users.
Like other atypical antipsychotic drugs, olanzapine (also known as Zyprexa) causes metabolic side effects, particularly hyperglycemia (excess sugar) and diabetes. The drug causes the body to metabolize fat instead of carbohydrates, leading to insulin resistance to the excess carbohydrates. At the same time olanzapine promotes fat accumulation.
In June 2005, Eli Lilly settled 8,000 Zyprexa lawsuit claims alleging diabetes or other side effects. Those settlements cost the company a total of nearly $700 million, an amount that resulted in each patient receiving approximately $50,000 after lawyer fees and costs, according to The New York Times. Eli Lilly settled another 18,000 such claims in 2007 for a confidential amount.
Zyprexa is also among the atypical (second generation) antipsychotic medications that the FDA has determined put dementia patients at an increased risk of death compared to placebo. In trials, the causes of death were varied, but most of them appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature.
Olanzapine causes a host of other side effects, including birth defects.
In early 2011, the FDA required drug companies to change the “pregnancy” section on the label of antipsychotics including Symbyax to inform doctors and women who were about to become pregnant that olanzapine causes withdrawal symptoms in infants in the form of abnormal muscle movements (called extrapyramidal signs (EPS)).
Possible side effects of Fluoxetine, marketed as Prozac, include increased thoughts of suicide and birth defects in children born to mothers using it.
Since 2007, the labels of antidepressants including Prozac have stated that the drugs significantly increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors in users younger than 25. However, a study, which included people using fluoxetine, published in the February 6, 2012 edition of the medical journal, Archives of General Psychology, contradicted earlier findings that connected SSRI use to increased suicidal activity in youths. Although, the researchers did not detect a decrease in suicidal thoughts and behaviors compared to adults and geriatric patients.
Fluoxetine also may cause some users to suffer rashes, hives, and the potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, which is characterized by changes in mental status, pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and muscle control. Fluoxetine is also associated with nausea, diarrhea, headache, insomnia, and anxiety.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the children of women who take Prozac during their pregnancy are at an increased risk of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), a condition that prevents a baby’s circulatory function from adapting to the outside world properly.
Despite the numerous side effects that olanzapine and fluoxetine cause together (hyperglycemia, diabetes, strokes, birth defects, thoughts of suicide), the FDA has not ordered a Symbyax recall.
RLG’s Lawyers Will Make Things Easier
The process of demanding compensation for the harm you’ve suffered can be complicated, even if it doesn’t seem fair that you should have to go through even more trouble to be made whole again. The lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group do everything they can to streamline the process, and they will file a Symbyax lawsuit on your behalf if necessary.
If you believe you have experienced adverse side effects as a result of taking Symbyax, submit this simple secure form for a free and confidential evaluation of your eligibility to file a Symbyax lawsuit.