clozapine (Clozaril, Fazacio ODT, Versacloz)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Coping With Schizophrenia

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effect of clozapine is drowsiness.

Dizziness is another side effect of clozapine. Dizziness may occur in 1 of 5 persons taking clozapine. In some cases this may be due to orthostatic hypotension, a marked decrease in blood pressure that occurs when going from a lying or sitting position to a standing position. The drop in blood pressure may lead to loss of consciousness or even cardiac and respiratory arrest. This reaction is more common during the first few weeks of therapy while the dose is increasing, when drug is stopped briefly, or when patients are taking benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium) or other anti-psychotic drugs.

Seizures have occurred in approximately 1 of every 20 to 30 persons receiving clozapine. Patients receiving higher doses seem to be at higher risk.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Tablets (orally disintegrating): 12.5, 25, 100, 150, and 200 mg

STORAGE: Tablets should be kept below 30 C (86 F).

DOSING: Clozapine is given once, twice, or three times daily. The dose often is increased slowly until the optimal dose is found. The full effects of clozapine may not be seen until several weeks after treatment is begun.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Risperidone (Risperdal) may cause an increase in the amount of clozapine in the blood. This could lead to an increased risk of side effects from clozapine.

PREGNANCY: There are no adequate studies of clozapine in pregnant women. Studies in animals suggest no important effects on the fetus. Clozapine can be used in pregnancy if the physician feels that it is necessary.

NURSING MOTHERS: Animal studies suggest that clozapine is secreted in breast milk. Therefore, women taking clozapine should not nurse their infants.

REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/28/2015

Quick GuideSchizophrenia Pictures Slideshow: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Schizophrenia Pictures Slideshow: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
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