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Non-medical use of olanzapine by people on methadone treatment

  • Philip David James (a1), Ali Shaik Fida (a2), Pavel Konovalov (a3) and Bobby P. Smyth (a4) (a5)
Abstract
Aims and method

We examined non-medical use (NMU) of olanzapine among adults on methadone treatment. Information was collected on patient demographics and NMU of olanzapine. The Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) was administered to assess risk among current users of olanzapine.

Results

Ninety-two clients participated and 30% reported lifetime history of NMU of olanzapine. Nine people reported doses of 30 mg or higher on a typical day of use, with three typically using 100 mg. The most common reasons for use were to relieve anxiety and to aid sleep, but a quarter used it to ‘get stoned’. Eleven participants (12%) reported NMU of olanzapine in the preceding month. Eight completed the ASSIST with four scoring in the high-risk zone.

Clinical implications

Self-medication is the dominant motivator for NMU of olanzapine, but hedonic motivations also occur. A small minority show features of dependency. All doctors should be aware of the potential NMU of olanzapine, especially among patients with history of addiction.

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Copyright
This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence to Philip James (philip.james@hse.ie)
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

B.P.S. reports personal fees from Lilly Pharmaceuticals, Shire Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Limited, outside the submitted work.

Footnotes
References
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Non-medical use of olanzapine by people on methadone treatment

  • Philip David James (a1), Ali Shaik Fida (a2), Pavel Konovalov (a3) and Bobby P. Smyth (a4) (a5)
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