Symbyax is a drug that has two different parts. The first part, olanzapine, is in the class of medications called "atypical antipsychotics". It is used primarily to treat portions of schizophrenia like hearing voices, seeing things, sensing things that are not there, mistaken beliefs, or unusual suspiciousness. The second part of Symbyax is fluoxetine. Fluoxetine is an anti-depressant called a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRIs). In addition to being used to treat depression, it also combats obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, and panic disorder. Symbyax is used to treat adults that have depression with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a disorder that causes extreme mood swings.
Just like all other SSRI's, Symbyax should not be used if you have taken an MAOI at any point in the last 14 days. MAOIs are anti-depressants that, when used with an SSRI, can cause serious side effects. These side effects include high body temperature, coma, or seizures. In addition to the requirement of 14 days before taking Symbyax, an MAOI should not be taken within 5 weeks of stopping Symbyax.
The serious risks that can be experienced from taking Symbyax include, but are not limited to, the following list: an increase in the occurrence of suicidal thoughts or actions, increased chance of death in elderly persons, the life-threatening nervous system neuroleptic malignant sydrome (NMS), a movement problem called tardive dyskinesia, high blood sugar or diabetes, strokes, bleeding problems, mania, and sexual problems. The more common serious side effects of Symbyax include low blood pressure, increased heart beat, seizures, liver problems, increased body temperature, and difficulty swallowing. The most common side effects of Symbyax are sleepiness, dry mouth, dizziness, restlessness, diarrhea, weight gain, increased appetite, and tremors.
In July of 2006, the FDA issued a statement stating an occurrence of Serotonin Syndrome when Symbyax was used with triptan medicines. Also, an advisory was issued in regards to the occurrence of persistent pulmonary hypertension in infants. If the mother of a baby used Symbyax after the 20th week of her pregnancy, the baby had a 6 times as likely chance of having PPHN. PPHN causes a baby not to get enough oxygen to the body due to problems in the pulmonary artery. This can result in the baby becoming very sick and sometimes even dying.