add alert Clozapine (Clozaril, FazaClo, Clopine, Denzapine, Zaponex)

Manufacturer
Teva Pharmaceuticals

Purpose
Antipsychotic

Condition
Schizophrenia

Common side effects
Drowsiness, nausea, vomiting and low white blood cell count. Other side effects may exist. See Clozapine Overview for details.

Generic name
Clozapine (KLOE-za-peen)

Brand name
Clozaril, FazaClo, Clopine, Denzapine, Zaponex

Clozapine works by changing the balance of chemicals in the brain to adjust a patient?s moods and subsequent thought processes. Doctors mainly use clozapine to treat severe schizophrenia, but may prescribe the drug for other cases of suicidal ideations. Because of the potential for serious side effects, especially in the elderly, clozapine is a final option for those that have tried other medications without success.

Doctors do not recommend clozapine lightly. You will need periodic lab work and evaluations while taking Clozapine to reduce the chance of developing a serious and dangerous blood condition. When taking this medicine, stay away from any other medication not specifically approved by your doctor.

Do not operate cars or machinery until the knowing the full effects of the medication. Never combine clozapine with alcohol or any other drug without first consulting your doctor. Ensure dentists and physicians know that you take this medication before undergoing any surgical procedures. Your blood will need to be checked regularly and frequently when you are first taking this drug. Do not skip medical appointments.

Your doctor needs a complete medical history to avoid possible adverse interactions and side effects. Always keep a list of current and past medications handy so that medical professionals may check for negative interactions. Tell your care provider if you have a history of allergies to medications or atypical antipsychotics, difficulty with urination, glaucoma, intestinal problems, heart disease, heart rhythm disorder, lung disease, diabetes, smoking, taking drugs that weaken your immune system, any seizure disorder, bone marrow or blood cell disorders, liver or kidney disease, or any prostate condition. Your doctor may adjust the dosage or take other precautions when these conditions are present.

Animal studies have failed to reveal evidence of teratogenicity (birth defects). There are no controlled studies in human pregnancy. However, taking antipsychotic medication during the last 3 months of pregnancy may cause problems for the infant. Conversely, you may have withdrawal symptoms or other problems if you stop taking your medicine during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking clozapine, do not stop taking it without your doctor's advice. Clozapine passes to the infant in breast milk so the decision to breastfeed should be considered with your doctor.

General side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Mouth and throat ulcers
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Sleep problems
  • Cough, sore throat, flu symptoms

Some side effects of taking Clozapine are more serious and may need immediate medical attention. Serious, less common side effects can include:

  • Severe allergic reaction (rash, hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of face, lips, tongue or throat)
  • Seizure
  • Skin rash, bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness
  • Fast or pounding heartbeats, chest pain, unusual tiredness, trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the face, hands, arms or feet
  • Slow heart rate, weak pulse, fainting, slow breathing (breathing may stop)
  • High blood sugar
  • Rigid muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors
  • Twitching or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs

Patients experiencing any severe side effect should stop taking the medication and consult with a physician immediately.

Take this medication as prescribed by your doctor. Take any missed dose as soon as you remember. Do not double your dose. If you are unsure what to do, call your doctor or pharmacist. If you take too much of the medication, overdose may occur. Extreme overdose symptoms can resemble severe side effects, and can also include: Confusion or drooling. In case of an accidental or suspected overdose, contact poison control at 1-800-222-1222 or call 911 for immediate medical attention.

Patients and physicians should report hazardous or unusual side effects to the FDA. The agency keeps a hotline called the MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. In case of a bad reaction, call 1-800-332-1088 or go online to http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch to report it.

Drug Information

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