clozapine - oral, Clozaril (cont.)
USES: See also Warning section.This medication is used to treat certain mental/mood disorders (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders). Clozapine is a psychiatric medication (anti-psychotic type) that works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain.Clozapine decreases hallucinations and helps prevent suicide in people who are likely to try to harm themselves. It helps you to think more clearly and positively about yourself, feel less nervous, and take part in everyday life.
HOW TO USE: Take this medication by mouth with or without food, as directed by your doctor. If you are taking the tablets that dissolve in the mouth, carefully remove each tablet from the blister pack immediately before taking your dose. Allow the tablets to dissolve on your tongue and swallow. You do not need to take the dissolving tablets with water. Discard any dissolving tablets that have been previously exposed to air due to opened/damaged packaging. Do not save them for your next dose.It is important to begin taking this drug at a low dose, increasing your dose slowly, to lessen side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness and seizures. Follow your doctor's instructions exactly. Your dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Since clozapine can cause a decrease in white blood cells, you will need to get blood tests done regularly as directed. Be sure to keep all appointments for these laboratory tests.If you miss your doses for longer than a day or two, consult your doctor for a new schedule to get back to the dose you were on (see Missed Dose section). Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time(s) each day.Do not stop taking clozapine without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased if the doctor decides that you should stop taking this medication.It may take several weeks before the full benefit of this drug takes effect. Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
SIDE EFFECTS: Drooling, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, shaking (tremor), vision problems (e.g., blurred vision), weight gain, and constipation may occur. Many of these effects (especially drowsiness) lessen as your body gets used to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.To prevent constipation, maintain a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise. If you become constipated while using this drug, consult your pharmacist for help in selecting a laxative (e.g., stimulant-type with stool softener).Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: facial/muscle twitching, signs of infection (e.g., severe tiredness, fever, persistent sore throat), seizures, uncontrollable movements, change in the amount of urine.Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: high fever, fast/irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, fainting, muscle stiffness, mental/mood changes, difficulty breathing with exercise, swollen legs/feet, sudden weakness, pain/redness/swelling of the arms/legs, chest pain, dark urine, persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing of eyes/skin.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
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