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Saphris (asenapine) is an antipsychotic medication. It works by changing the actions of chemicals in the brain.
Saphris sublingual tablets are used to treat schizophrenia in adults, and bipolar I disorder in adults and children who are at least 10 years old.
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).
Saphris may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Take this medication as directed by your doctor, usually 2 times a day. Gently remove the medication from the packaging with dry hands by peeling back the tab. Do not push the tablet through the packaging. Place your dose of this medication under the tongue and allow it to dissolve completely in your saliva. Do not chew, crush, split, or swallow the tablet whole. Do not eat or drink anything for 10 minutes after taking this medication.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day. It may take several weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.
It is very important to continue taking this medication exactly as prescribed, even if you are feeling better and thinking more clearly. Do not increase your dose or take this drug more often than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Before taking asenapine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver problems, heart problems (such as past heart attack, angina, abnormal heart rhythm), stroke, diabetes (including family history), obesity, low blood pressure, seizures, low white blood cell count, loss of too much body water (dehydration), breast cancer, drug/alcohol/substance abuse, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, trouble swallowing, breathing trouble during sleep (sleep apnea).
Asenapine may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using asenapine, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death).
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using asenapine safely.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This medication may make you sweat less, making you more likely to get heat stroke. Avoid doing things that may cause you to overheat, such as hard work or exercise in hot weather, or using hot tubs. When the weather is hot, drink a lot of fluids and dress lightly. If you overheat, quickly look for a place to cool down and rest. Get medical help right away if you have a fever that does not go away, mental/mood changes, headache, or dizziness.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, and QT prolongation (see above). Drowsiness, dizziness, and lightheadedness can increase the risk of falling.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Babies born to mothers who have used this drug during the last 3 months of pregnancy may rarely develop symptoms including muscle stiffness or shakiness, drowsiness, feeding/breathing difficulties, or constant crying. If you notice any of these symptoms in your newborn especially during their first month, tell the doctor right away.
Since untreated mental/mood problems (such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression) can be a serious condition, do not stop taking this medication unless directed by your doctor. If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, immediately discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy.
It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Saphris: hives; fast heartbeats, feeling light-headed; wheezing, difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Saphris can cause serious neurologic problems. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have: very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, feeling light-headed, tremors, twitching, or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs.
High doses or long-term use of Saphris can cause a serious movement disorder that may not be reversible. Symptoms of this disorder include uncontrollable muscle movements of your lips, tongue, eyes, face, arms, or legs. The longer you take Saphris, the more likely you are to develop a serious movement disorder. The risk of this side effect is higher in women and older adults.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
Common Saphris side effects may include:
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.
How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Leave the tablet in the sealed blister pack until you are ready to take it. With dry hands, open the blister and gently remove the tablet. If the tablet breaks or crumbles, throw it away and take a new tablet out of the blister pack. Place the tablet in the mouth under the tongue and allow it to dissolve, and then swallow. The tablet will dissolve quickly. Do not cut, crush, or chew this medicine. Do not eat or drink for 10 minutes after taking a dose. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 10 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. It may be several weeks before you see the full effects of this medicine. Tell your doctor or healthcare professional if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse. Tell your doctor or healthcare professional if you feel out of control, very discouraged or think you might harm yourself or others.
Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine. You may need to gradually reduce the dose. Ask your doctor or health care professional for advice.
You may get dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol can increase dizziness and drowsiness. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
This medicine may increase blood sugar. Ask your healthcare provider if changes in diet or medicines are needed if you have diabetes.
Your mouth may get dry. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy, and drinking plenty of water will help.
This medicine can reduce the response of your body to heat or cold. Dress warm in cold weather and stay hydrated in hot weather. If possible, avoid extreme temperatures like saunas, hot tubs, very hot or cold showers, or activities that can cause dehydration such as vigorous exercise.