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Clozaril Antidepressant : Clozapine
Brand Name: Clozapine
Clozaril is given to help people with severe schizophrenia who have failed to respond to standard treatments. Clozaril is not a cure, but it can help some people return to more normal lives. Clozaril is an atypical antipsychotic medication for patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Approved by the FDA for general use in the U.S. in 1990, the medication is used for patients with schizophrenia and other mental disorders who have not responded well to standard antipsychotic medications or who have had intolerable side effects to them. In December 2002, clozaril was also approved for reducing the risk of recurring suicidal behavior in people with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Clozaril is also being studied for the treatment of bipolar disorder that has not responded to other treatments.
Uses of Clozaril
- This medication is used to treat certain mental/mood disorders (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders). Clozapine is a psychiatric medication (anti-psychotic type) that works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain.
- Clozapine is used to treat schizophrenia in patients where other medicine has not worked. Clozapine is in a class of medications called antipsychotics. It works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.
How to Take Clozaril
Clozaril is usually taken once or twice daily. It is usually started at a low dose and then gradually increased to prevent some of the side effects from developing. While many people may be treated with between 300–500 mg/day, the highest FDA approved dose is 900 mg/day.
What are the Side Effects of Clozaril Medication
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Clozaril. More common side effects may include:
- Abdominal discomfort
- disturbed sleep
- dry mouth
- high blood pressure
- inability to sit down
- loss or slowness of muscle movement
- low blood pressure
- rapid heartbeat and other heart conditions
Warnings and precautions before taking Clozaril Medication
- Clozaril can cause drowsiness, especially at the start of treatment. For this reason, and also because of the potential for seizures, you should not drive, swim, climb, or operate dangerous machinery while you are taking this medication, at least in the early stages of treatment.
- Even though you will have blood tests weekly for the first 6 months of treatment and every other week after that, you should stay alert for early symptoms of agranulocytosis: weakness, lethargy, fever, sore throat, a general feeling of illness, a flu-like feeling, or ulcers of the lips, mouth, or other mucous membranes. If any such symptoms develop, tell your doctor immediately.
- Especially during the first 3 weeks of treatment, you may develop a fever. If you do, notify your doctor.
- While taking Clozaril, do not drink alcohol or use drugs of any kind, including over-the-counter medicines, without first checking with your doctor.
- If you take Clozaril, you must be monitored especially closely if you have either the eye condition called narrow-angle glaucoma or an enlarged prostate; Clozaril could make these conditions worse.
- On rare occasions, Clozaril can cause intestinal problems--constipation, impaction, or blockage--that can, in extreme cases, be fatal.
- Especially when you begin taking Clozaril, you may be troubled by a dramatic drop in blood pressure whenever you first stand up. This can lead to light-headedness, fainting, or even total collapse and cardiac arrest. Clozaril also tends to increase your heart rate. Both problems are more dangerous for someone with a heart problem. If you suffer from one, make sure the doctor knows about it.
- Also, if you have kidney, liver, or lung disease, or a history of seizures or prostate problems, you should discuss these with your doctor before taking Clozaril. Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and a yellow tinge to your skin and eyes are signs of liver trouble; call your doctor immediately if you develop these symptoms.
- There is also a risk of developing tardive dyskinesia, a condition of involuntary, slow, rhythmical movements. It happens more often in older adults, especially older women.
- In very rare instances, Clozaril may also cause a blood clot in the lungs. If you develop severe breathing problems or chest pain, call your doctor immediately.
What drugs may interact with Clozaril Tablet
If Clozaril is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Clozaril with the following:
- Antidepressants such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft
- Antipsychotic drugs such as Thorazine and Mellaril
- Blood pressure medications such as Aldomet and Hytrin
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Digitoxin (Crystodigin)
- Digoxin (Lanoxin)
- Drugs that depress the central nervous system such as phenobarbital and Seconal
- Drugs that contain atropine such as Donnatal and Levsin
- Epilepsy drugs such as Tegretol and Dilantin
- Epinephrine (EpiPen)
- Erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, others)
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- Heart rhythm stabilizers such as Rythmol, Quinidex, and Tambocor
- Rifampin (Rifadin)
- Tranquilizers such as Valium and Xanax
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
What to do if you take Overdose of Clozaril ?
Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek emergency medical attention immediately. Symptoms of overdose with Clozaril may include:
- excess salivation
- low blood pressure
- rapid heartbeat
- shallow breathing or absence of breathing
How to Store Clozaril ?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.