Clozapine is an atypical antipsychotic which is a newer generation antipsychotic. This drug is used to restore the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain namely dopamine levels, the imbalance of which is known to cause many psychiatric disorders, namely treatment resistant schizophrenia, refractive bipolar illness, dysphoric mania and rapid cycling mania.
Clozapine has many benefits in treating such disorders. It is known to have an improvement on verbal efficacy thus by improve the ability to generate words which is a common symptom (negative symptom) in schizophrenia that is poverty of speech. It is also known to decrease the rate of suicide in schizophrenic patients.
It has been known to show many cognitive benefits in patients suffering from the chronic ailment of schizophrenia. Studies and trials have shown a significant improvement in treatment resistant schizophrenia. When patients show an inadequate response to at least 2 antipsychotics at their maximum dose in respect of their therapeutic range in trials lasting 6 weeks or more, this is treatment resistant schizophrenia and where clozapine comes in to play a major role. Many patients have shown significant improvement after the use of clozapine in their treatment protocol.
Of course it is important to remember to start the dose of clozapine slowly and slowly titrate the levels till an optimal level is attained and making sure weekly blood samples are sent for the initial 6 months, then every 2 weeks for the next 6 months and then every month there after, as clozapine is known to cause a decrease in the white blood cells which may prove fatal. Along with that it is also known to have a few other side effects like any other medication which is best to be watched out for.
The common side effects being :
- Increased Salivation
- Hypotension ( decrease in blood pressure )
- Blurred vision
- Weight gain
The rare and very rare side effects are:
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome ( report to your doctor if incase of high fever)
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Cardiac arrest
- Kidney failure
- Obsessive –Compulsive disorders
- Very high blood sugar level leading to ketoacidosis or coma
Thus, it is important to know about your medications, know the benefits and the adverse effects and be able to weigh the pros and cons and especially the benefits of this wonder drug known to improve the quality of life in patients without hope of any.
Consult your doctors and health professionals before starting any psychiatric medication, but being informed and aware of the various medical support out there is very good start at achieving the best treatment possible.
Dr. Janvi Sherpa , Medical Officer
Tulasi Health Care
Tulasi health care is a leading rehabilitation centre in delhi,india. It is well known for treatment and rehabilitation of schizophrenia. please call us or write to us on [email protected]