Patients taking Zyprexa have reported increased adverse reactions to the drug, including agitation, sleep disturbances and akathisia (a condition that involves inner restlessness, agitation and emotional trauma). Akathisia has been linked to suicide and homicide and is a common adverse side effect of antipsychotic drugs. In fact, both sleep disturbances and akathisia are precursors to suicide.
Dr. David Healy, a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Wales, noted, "The studies in adults with Zyprexa that Lilly submitted to the FDA demonstrate, as far as I can establish, a higher death rate on Zyprexa than on any other antipsychotic ever recorded."
Lawsuits have been filed against Eli Lilly & Company, makers of Zyprexa, alleging that the antipsychotic has caused people to commit, or attempt to commit, suicide. One such case, known as Ebel vs. Eli Lilly & Company, was filed in Texas.
Court documents filed by the plaintiff in the case note that in clinical trials of Olanzapine (Zyprexa) for the treatment of schizophrenia, the incidence of akathisia was five per cent while on Zyprexa as opposed to one per cent in patients taking the placebo. Furthermore, the documents note, "The actual number and rate of completed suicides for patients in clinical trials on antipsychotic drugs, as submitted to the FDA, is higher on OLANZAPINE than on any of the other drugs in this class." Finally, the plaintiff argues that Lilly has refused to alert the public to non-fatal suicidal acts of patients on Zyprexa, failed to properly study the risk of suicidal acts on patients taking Zyprexa, and failed to warn doctors about the possible risks and how to reduce them for patients taking Zyprexa.
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Zyprexa is an atypical antipsychotic used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and acute bipolar mania. It has also come under fire since it was linked to an increased risk of diabetes.
Lilly has already dealt with claims about suicidality in patients taking its drugs after the FDA issued a statement that warned about the causal link between Prozac and other similar antidepressants and increased suicidality in children and adolescents.