- Schizophrenia Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Schizophrenia Quiz
- Physical Symptoms of Depression Slideshow
- What is clozapine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for clozapine?
- Is clozapine available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription 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 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.
What else should I know about clozapine?
What preparations of clozapine are available?
Tablets (orally disintegrating): 12.5, 25, 100, 150, and 200 mg
How should I keep clozapine stored?
Tablets should be kept below 30 C (86 F).
Quick GuideSchizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Schizophrenia Quiz: What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a complex psychiatric disorder. Learn more about the challenges of mental illness with the Schizophrenia Quiz....
Surprising Reasons for Weight Gain
There are many reasons for sudden weight gain when there are no changes in diet or exercise. Sudden weight gain could be caused...
Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment
What is schizophrenia? Learn about schizophrenia symptoms, signs, and treatment. Read about schizophrenia types such as paranoid...
Postpartum Depression: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Postpartum depression is a treatable medical illness which affects women after giving birth. Learn about the symptoms, diagnosis...
Related Disease Conditions
Schizophrenia is a disabling brain disorder that may cause hallucinations and delusions and affect a person's ability to...
Mental illness is any disease or condition affecting the brain that influence the way a person thinks, feels, behaves, and/or...
Suicide is the process of intentionally ending one's own life. Approximately 1 million people worldwide commit suicide each year,...
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...
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs within a year after delivery. It is thought that rapid hormone changes...
Brief Psychotic Disorder
Brief psychotic disorder is a short-term mental illness that features psychotic symptoms. There are three forms of brief...
Psychotic disorders are a group of serious illnesses that affect the mind. Different types of psychotic disorders include...
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by odd behaviors, feelings, perceptions, and ways of relating to others that...
Mental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Schizophrenia FAQs
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Strategies That Work to Help Prevent Suicides
- Can the Anesthetic Ketamine Ease Suicidal Thoughts?
- Antipsychotics Don't Ease Delirium in Hospitalized Patients
- Antipsychotic Drugs Tied to Risk of Early Death in Parkinson's Patients
- Psychosis Plus Pot a Bad Mix: Study
- Too Few Psychiatric Patients Screened for Diabetes: Study
- Are Too Many Young Americans Getting Antipsychotics for ADHD?
- New Drug Shows Early Promise in Treating Parkinson's Psychosis
- Bipolar Disorder Drugs May 'Tweak' Genes Affecting Brain
- Prescription Meds Can Put on Unwanted Pounds
- Antipsychotics in Pregnancy Risky for Newborns
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
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.