NYMC Faculty Publications

An Evidence-Based Review of OLZ/SAM for Treatment of Adults with Schizophrenia or Bipolar I Disorder

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Journal Title

Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment

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Document Type

Review Article

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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Olanzapine effectively treats schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder (BD-I); however, its use is limited by the risk of significant weight gain and metabolic effects. OLZ/SAM, a combination of olanzapine and samidorphan, was recently approved in the United States for the treatment of adults with schizophrenia or BD-I. OLZ/SAM provides the efficacy of olanzapine while mitigating olanzapine-associated weight gain through opioid-receptor blockade. Here, we summarize OLZ/SAM clinical data characterizing pharmacokinetics, antipsychotic efficacy, weight mitigation efficacy, safety, and long-term treatment effects. In an acute exacerbation of schizophrenia, OLZ/SAM and olanzapine provided similar symptom improvements versus placebo at week 4. In stable outpatients with schizophrenia, OLZ/SAM treatment resulted in significantly less weight gain, reducing the risk for clinically significant weight gain and waist circumference increases of ≥5 cm by half, compared with olanzapine at week 24. Based on open-label extension studies, OLZ/SAM is safe and well tolerated for up to 3.5 years of treatment, while maintaining schizophrenia symptom control and stabilizing weight. The olanzapine component of OLZ/SAM was bioequivalent to branded olanzapine (Zyprexa); adjunctive OLZ/SAM had no clinically significant effects on lithium or valproate pharmacokinetics. Additionally, OLZ/SAM had no clinically relevant effect on electrocardiogram parameters in a dedicated thorough QT study. Overall, safety and tolerability findings from clinical studies with OLZ/SAM indicate a similar safety profile to that of olanzapine, with the exception of less weight gain. As OLZ/SAM contains the opioid antagonist samidorphan, it is contraindicated in patients using opioids and in those undergoing acute opioid withdrawal. Clinical trial results from more than 1600 subjects support the use of OLZ/SAM as a new treatment option for patients with schizophrenia or BD-I.