Asenapine is prescribed for alleviating the symptoms of schizophrenia, a mental illness characterized by disrupted or unusual thinking, diminished interest in life, and intense or inappropriate emotional responses.It can additionally be employed either as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other medications to manage or prevent episodes of mania, which involves frenzied and abnormally heightened mood. This medication belongs to the atypical antipsychotic class and operates by modifying the activity of specific natural substances within the brain.
Uses and Dosage
Asenapine is available as a sublingual tablet designed to dissolve beneath the tongue. Typically, it is taken twice daily, and it’s important to maintain a consistent schedule by taking it at approximately the same times each day.
Take asenapine exactly as prescribed—avoid increasing or decreasing the dosage or taking it more frequently than directed by your doctor.
Do not remove the asenapine sublingual tablets from their packaging until just before you plan to use them. Ensure your hands are dry when handling the tablets. When you’re ready to take a tablet, follow the package instructions to extract it from the case without pushing it through the tablet pack or breaking it. Once the tablet is removed, place it under your tongue and allow it to dissolve. Do not swallow, cut, chew, or crush the tablet. Refrain from eating or drinking anything for 10 minutes after the tablet has dissolved.
Your doctor may need to adjust your dose based on the medication’s effectiveness and any side effects you encounter. Be sure to communicate how you’re feeling during your asenapine treatment to your doctor.
While asenapine can help manage your symptoms, it does not provide a cure for your condition. Continue taking asenapine even if you start to feel better, and do not discontinue it without consulting your doctor.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- dry mouth
- stomach pain
- increased appetite
- increase in amount of saliva in the mouth
- change in taste
- weight gain
- loss of feeling in the lips or mouth
- dizziness, feeling unsteady, or having trouble keeping your balance
- excessive tiredness
- restlessness or constant urge to keep moving
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- pain in the joints, arms, or legs
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- muscle stiffness or pain
- spasm or tightening of the neck muscles
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- uncontrollable movements of the arms, legs, face, mouth, tongue, jaw, lips or cheeks
- sore throat, chills, cough, and other signs of infection
- red or brown colored urine
Before initiating asenapine treatment, inform your doctor or pharmacist of any allergies you may have, including allergies to asenapine itself or other substances present in the product. Inactive ingredients in the medication could potentially trigger allergic reactions or other complications.
Share your medical history with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication, particularly if you have a history of liver problems, heart issues, stroke, diabetes, obesity, low blood pressure, seizures, a low white blood cell count, dehydration, breast cancer, substance use disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, difficulty swallowing, sleep apnea, or breathing difficulties during sleep.
Asenapine has the potential to cause a heart rhythm condition known as QT prolongation, which can rarely lead to a serious fast or irregular heartbeat, along with other symptoms like severe dizziness or fainting, requiring immediate medical attention. Low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood may also increase the risk of QT prolongation. This risk may be elevated if you are using certain medications (like diuretics or “water pills”) or if you have conditions such as excessive sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Discuss with your doctor how to safely use asenapine in these circumstances.
This medication may induce dizziness or drowsiness. Alcohol or marijuana can exacerbate these effects. Avoid activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating machinery, until you can do them safely.
Asenapine might reduce your ability to sweat, potentially increasing the risk of heat stroke. Avoid activities that could lead to overheating, such as strenuous work or exercise in hot weather or using hot tubs. In hot weather, ensure you stay well-hydrated and wear lightweight clothing. If you become overheated, promptly seek a cool place to rest. Seek immediate medical assistance if you experience persistent fever, changes in mental/mood, headaches, or dizziness.
Older adults may be more sensitive to certain side effects of this drug, particularly drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, and QT prolongation. These effects can increase the risk of falling.
During pregnancy, use this medication only when it is unequivocally necessary. Babies born to mothers who have used this drug during the last three months of pregnancy may rarely exhibit symptoms such as muscle stiffness or shakiness, drowsiness, feeding/breathing difficulties, or constant crying. If you notice any of these symptoms in your newborn, particularly during their first month, promptly inform your doctor.
Given that untreated mental/mood disorders) can be serious conditions, do not discontinue this medication unless specifically directed by your doctor. If you are planning to become pregnant, already pregnant, or suspect you might be pregnant, discuss with your doctor the potential benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy.
It is unclear whether this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Saphris is available in the following forms and strengths:
Saphris sublingual tablet:
asenapine sublingual tablet:
How long does it take for Saphris to work?
It will probably take several weeks to see big enough changes in your symptoms to decide if asenapine is the right medication for you.
How long does it take for Saphris to dissolve?
Saphris should dissolve within seconds.