Can You Dissolve Olanzapine ODT In Liquid Instead Of On The Tongue?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses why olanzapine ODT should not be placed under the tongue and alternative administration options.

Question

I take medication at night that I have to put under my tongue and wait for it to dissolve. Are the meds able to be put in water and dissolve that way, so I can drink it instead? Or is dissolving under the tongue the only way? The medication is olanzapine.

Asked by Amy On Nov 20, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Nov 21, 2022
Last updated Nov 21, 2022

Key points

  • Olanzapine ODT (orally disintegrating tablet) is to be administered on top of the tongue (not underneath) and allowed to dissolve.
  • Placing olanzapine ODT under the tongue may cause irritation and the tablet will not completely dissolve. It is not intended for sublingual administration.
  • Olanzapine ODT can be placed in a liquid and allowed to dissolve before drinking. It is important to consume all of the drug when using this method, which may require repeating rinsing the cup with more liquid and drinking.

Answer

Olanzapine (generic for Zyprexa) comes in a variety of dosage forms, including a 'regular' tablet and an 'orally disintegrating tablet', (ODT). I will be talking only about the ODT version of olanzapine in this answer.

Olanzapine ODT is a disintegrating tablet, designed to quickly disintegrate when it comes into contact with a liquid (like the saliva in your mouth).

The tablets theoretically can be placed in liquid, allowed to dissolve, and then the liquid immediately consumed. However, based on how you worded your question, it is important to point out that olanzapine ODT should not go under the tongue. It should be placed right on top and allowed to disintegrate.

How To Take Olanzapine ODT

I'm guessing you're asking this question because you've had some problems taking olanzapine ODT (olanzapine disintegrating tablet). If you are placing it under the tongue, instead of on top, I can see you having some issues.

The tablets are not intended to be absorbed sublingually, so placing it under the tongue will likely be a little irritating as you'll have some tablet remnants stuck under your tongue that you are eventually just going to swallow. All of the contents of the tablet do not completely dissolve.

Olanzapine ODT should be placed on the tongue and allowed to dissolve. Per the prescribing information for the drug:

Leave the disintegrating tablet in the foil package until ready to administer. Do not push the tablet through the blister pack. Peel open the package with dry hands and place the tablet on the tongue. The tablet will dissolve rapidly and be swallowed in the saliva. The tablet may be administered with fluid if needed, but it is not necessary to do so.
Zyprexa Prescribing Information

Alternative Administration Option

As mentioned, another option is to place an olanzapine ODT in a small glass of water or other liquid, allow it to disintegrate, then consume the liquid.

This method of administration isn't ideal since it can sometimes be difficult to consume the entire dose. It's not uncommon that some drug remnants are left in the bottom of your cup (or stuck to the sides).

The avoid this, after you place the tablet in the liquid and consume it, you should place a little more liquid in the cup, mix it with any remaining drug remnants, and drink again. Continue doing this until all of the drug is consumed.

Final Words

I hope you found this helpful! Reach back out anytime.

References

  • Zyprexa Prescribing Information, Lilly
  • Administering an orally disintegrating tablet, LWW

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 11 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Feel free to send him an email at Hello@HelloPharmacist.com! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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