Mental health and mental illness
Information on mental health and mental illness and how it affects the balance in our thoughts, feelings, behaviour and relationships with others in our everyday lives.
Clozapine is an antipsychotic drug used in the treatment of people with persistent symptoms of schizophrenia. It is used when people have tried at least two other antipsychotic medications without sufficient benefit or for people who have been unable to tolerate other antipsychotics because of their side effects.
Clozapine is only prescribed by psychiatrists.
When a person is first prescribed clozapine they must be seen by a medical officer and have a blood test every week for 18 weeks. After 18 weeks the person then has a blood test and is seen by a medical officer or nurse every 28 days.
Clozapine interacts with receptors in the brain that control the activity of chemical messengers. These receptors are overactive in people with schizophrenia. Clozapine decreases their activity.
Clozapine has proven to be very effective in treating schizophrenia but it does have some potential side effects. Occasionally clozapine can reduce the number of white blood cells in the body which are the cells which fight infection. To minimise this risk, people taking clozapine have regular blood tests to monitor their blood cells.
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