- What is clozapine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the uses for clozapine?
- What are the side effects of clozapine?
- What is the dosage for clozapine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with clozapine?
- Is clozapine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about clozapine?
What is clozapine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Clozapine is an anti-psychotic medication that works by blocking receptors in the brain for several neurotransmitters (chemicals that nerves use to communicate with each other) including dopamine type 4 receptors, serotonin type 2 receptors, norepinephrine receptors, acetylcholine receptors, and histamine receptors. Unlike traditional anti-psychotic agents, such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine) and haloperidol (Haldol) as well as the newer anti-psychotics, risperidone (Risperdal) and olanzapine (Zyprexa), clozapine only weakly blocks dopamine type 2 receptors.
What brand names are available for clozapine?
Clozaril, FazaClo, Versacloz
Is clozapine available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for clozapine?
What are the side effects of clozapine?
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.
What is the dosage for clozapine?
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.
Which drugs or supplements interact with clozapine?
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.
Is clozapine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
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.
Animal studies suggest that clozapine is secreted in breast milk. Therefore, women taking clozapine should not nurse their infants.
Clozapine (Clozaril, Fazacio ODT, Versacloz) is a medication prescribed for the management of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
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Related Disease Conditions
Schizophrenia is a disabling brain disorder that may cause hallucinations and delusions and affect a person's ability to communicate and pay attention. Symptoms of psychosis appear in men in their late teens and early 20s and in women in their mid-20s to early 30s. With treatment involving the use of antipsychotic medications and psychosocial treatment, schizophrenia patients can lead rewarding and meaningful lives.
Mental Illness in Children
About 5 million children and adolescents in the U.S. suffer from a serious mental illness such as eating disorders, anxiety disorders, disruptive behavior disorders, pervasive development disorders, elimination disorders, learning disorders, schizophrenia, tic disorders, and mood disorders. Symptoms of mental illness include frequent outbursts of anger, hyperactivity, fear of gaining weight, excessive worrying, frequent temper tantrums, and hearing voices that aren't there. Treatment may involve medication, psychotherapy, and creative therapies.
Mental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under the umbrella of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders are common types of mental illness. Symptoms and signs of mental illness include irritability, moodiness, insomnia, headaches, and sadness. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Psychotic disorders are a group of serious illnesses that affect the mind. Different types of psychotic disorders include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, brief psychotic disorder, shared psychotic disorder, delusional disorder, substance-induced psychotic disorder, paraphrenia, and psychotic disorders due to medical conditions.
Suicide is the process of intentionally ending one's own life. Approximately 1 million people worldwide commit suicide each year, and 10 million to 20 million attempt suicide annually.
Brief Psychotic Disorder
Brief psychotic disorder is a short-term mental illness that features psychotic symptoms. There are three forms of brief psychotic disorder. The first occurs shortly after a major stress, the second has no apparent trauma that triggers the illness, and the third is associated with postpartum onset. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, unusual behavior, disorientation, changes in eating and sleeping, and speech that doesn't make sense. Treatment typically involves medication and psychotherapy.
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs within a year after delivery. It is thought that rapid hormone changes after childbirth may lead to depression. Symptoms of postpartum depression include crying a lot, headaches, chest pains, eating too little or too much, sleeping too little or too much, withdrawal from friends and family, and feeling irritable, sad, hopeless, worthless, guilty, and overwhelmed. Treatment typically involves talk therapy and medication.
What Is Schizotypal Personality Disorder?
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by odd behaviors, feelings, perceptions, and ways of relating to others that interfere with one's ability to function. Medication and psychotherapy can help the sufferer to manage their symptoms.
Mental illness is any disease or condition affecting the brain that influence the way a person thinks, feels, behaves, and/or relates to others. Mental illness is caused by heredity, biology, psychological trauma and environmental stressors.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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- Borderline Personality Disorder
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Prevention & Wellness
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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