GENERIC NAME: CLOZAPINE - ORAL (KLOE-za-peen)
BRAND NAME(S): Clozaril
WARNING: While clozapine can provide great benefits, it can rarely cause serious, possibly fatal side effects. For this reason, clozapine is used when other treatments have not worked or you cannot take them.
For patients to receive this medication, all doctors, pharmacists, and patients must agree to, understand, and carefully follow the requirements of a patient registry program, developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These requirements apply in the United States. If you live in Canada or any other country, consult your doctor and pharmacist for your country's regulations.
This medication can cause a serious immune system problem called agranulocytosis (low white blood cells). To make sure you have enough white blood cells, you will need to have a blood test before you begin taking clozapine and then have your blood tested regularly during your treatment. (See also How to Use, Side Effects, and Notes sections.)
Clozapine can also cause seizures, especially in higher doses. Let your doctor or pharmacist know if you have ever had seizures. While taking this medication, avoid driving or other activities during which a sudden loss of consciousness could be dangerous (e.g., operating heavy machinery, swimming).
This medication may rarely cause an inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis). Seek immediate medical attention if you have weakness, difficult/rapid breathing, chest pain, or swelling of the ankles/legs. Your risk is highest in the first month of treatment.
Clozapine can cause a big drop in blood pressure, which can make you dizzy or cause you to faint when you stand up. Be sure to get up slowly while taking this medication. This is more likely to occur when your dose of clozapine is increased or if you are also taking a benzodiazepine (e.g., clonazepam, lorazepam, diazepam).
There may be a slightly increased risk of serious, possibly fatal side effects (such as stroke, heart failure, fast/irregular heartbeat, pneumonia) when this medication is used by older adults with dementia. This medication is not approved for the treatment of dementia-related behavior problems. Discuss the risks and benefits of this medication, as well as other effective and possibly safer treatments for dementia-related behavior problems, with the doctor.
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