Asenapine

Asenapine
(a-SEN-a-peen)

Saphris

Asenapine
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Asenapine is used to treat certain mental/mood disorders (such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder). Asenapine helps you to think more clearly, feel less nervous, and take part in everyday life. It may also help to decrease hallucinations (hearing/seeing things that are not there) and prevent severe mood swings. Asenapine is a psychiatric medication that belongs to the class of drugs called atypical antipsychotics. It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances in the brain (neurotransmitters).

This medication may also be used in combination with other medication to treat depression.

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Some products that may interact with this drug include: alpha blockers (such as prazosin), anticholinergic/antispasmodic drugs (such as atropine, dicyclomine, scopolamine).

Other medications can affect the removal of asenapine from your body, which may affect how asenapine works. One example is fluvoxamine, among others.

Asenapine can slow down the removal of other medications from your body, which may affect how they work. One example is paroxetine, among others.

Many drugs besides asenapine may affect the heart rhythm (QT prolongation), including amiodarone, dofetilide, pimozide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol, macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), among others.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine).

Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.

Also report the use of drugs that might increase seizure risk when combined with asenapine, such as theophylline, tramadol, or tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitriptyline), among others. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details.

Common side effects of Asenapine include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Numbness/tingling of the mouth
  • Sores, blisters, or pain under the tongue

If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.

This drug may cause muscle/nervous system problems (extrapyramidal symptoms-EPS). Your doctor may prescribe another medication to decrease these side effects. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following side effects: feelings of anxiety/agitation/jitteriness, drooling/trouble swallowing, restlessness/constant need to move, shaking (tremor), shuffling walk, stiff muscles, severe muscle spasms/cramping (such as twisting neck, arching back, eyes rolling up), mask-like expression of the face.

Infrequently, this medication may cause face/muscle twitching and uncontrollable movements (tardive dyskinesia). In some cases, this condition may be permanent. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any uncontrollable movements such as lip smacking, mouth puckering, tongue thrusting, chewing, or unusual arm/leg movements.

This drug may infrequently make your blood sugar level rise, which can cause or worsen diabetes. Weight gain from this drug may increase the risk of this side effect. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms of high blood sugar such as increased thirst and urination. If you already have diabetes, be sure to check your blood sugars regularly. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.

In rare cases, asenapine may increase your level of a certain substance made by the body (prolactin). For females, this increase in prolactin may result in unwanted breast milk, missed/stopped periods, or difficulty becoming pregnant. For males, it may result in decreased sexual ability, inability to produce sperm, or enlarged breasts. If you develop any of these symptoms, tell your doctor immediately.

Rarely, with similar drugs, males may have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 or more hours. If this occurs, stop using this drug and get medical help right away, or permanent problems could occur.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat).

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: severe dizziness, fainting, slow heartbeat, seizures.

This medication may rarely cause a very serious condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Get medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms: fever, muscle stiffness/pain/tenderness/weakness, severe tiredness, severe confusion, sweating, fast/irregular heartbeat, dark urine, change in the amount of urine.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.