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Active ingredient: Clozapine - Brands, Medical Use, Clinical Data

Brands, Medical Use, Clinical Data

Drug Category

  • Antipsychotics

Dosage Forms

  • Tablet

Brands / Synonyms

Asaleptin; Clozapin; Clozapine; Clozaril; Fazaclo; Fazaclo ODT; Iprox; Leponex; Lepotex


For the management of severely ill schizophrenic patients who fail to respond adequately to standard drug treatment for schizophrenia


Clozapine is a psychotropic agent belonging to the chemical class of benzisoxazole derivatives and is indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia. Clozapine is a selective monoaminergic antagonist with high affinity for the serotonin Type 2 (5HT2), dopamine Type 2 (D2), 1 and 2 adrenergic, and H1 histaminergic receptors. Clozapine acts as an antagonist at other receptors, but with lower potency. Antagonism at receptors other than dopamine and 5HT2 with similar receptor affinities may explain some of the other therapeutic and side effects of Clozapine. Clozapine's antagonism of muscarinic M1-5 receptors may explain its anticholinergic effects. Clozapine's antagonism of histamine H1 receptors may explain the somnolence observed with this drug. Clozapine's antagonism of adrenergic a1 receptors may explain the orthostatic hypotension observed with this drug.

Mechanism of Action

The mechanism of action of Clozapine, as with other drugs used to treat schizophrenia, is unknown. However, it has been proposed that the drug's therapeutic activity in schizophrenia is mediated through a combination of dopamine Type 2 (D2) and serotonin Type 2 (5HT2) receptor antagonism.


Rapid and almost complete


Not Available

Biotrnasformation / Drug Metabolism



Clozapine is contraindicated in patients with a previous hypersensitivity to clozapine or any other component of this drug, in patients with myeloproliferative disorders, uncontrolled epilepsy, or a history of Clozapine induced agranulocytosis or severe granulocytopenia. As with more typical antipsychotic drugs, Clozapine is contraindicated in severe central nervous system depression or comatose states from any cause. Clozapine should not be used simultaneously with other agents having a well-known potential to cause agranulocytosis or otherwise suppress bone marrow function. The mechanism of Clozapine induced agranulocytosis is unknown; nonetheless, it is possible that causative factors may interact synergistically to increase the risk and/or severity of bone marrow suppression.

Drug Interactions

The risks of using Clozapine in combination with other drugs have not been systematically evaluated.

Pharmacodynamic-related Interactions: The mechanism of Clozapine induced agranulocytosis is unknown; nonetheless, the possibility that causative factors may interact synergistically to increase the risk and/or severity of bone marrow suppression warrants consideration. Therefore, Clozapine should not be used with other agents having a well-known potential to suppress bone marrow function.

Given the primary CNS effects of Clozapine, caution is advised in using it concomitantly with other CNS-active drugs or alcohol.

Orthostatic hypotension in patients taking clozapine can, in rare cases (approximately 1 case per 3,000 patients), be accompanied by profound collapse and respiratory and/or cardiac arrest. Some of the cases of collapse/respiratory arrest/cardiac arrest during initial treatment occurred in patients who were being administered benzodiazepines; similar events have been reported in patients taking other psychotropic drugs or even Clozapine by itself. Although it has not been established that there is an interaction between Clozapine and benzodiazepines or other psychotropics, caution is advised when clozapine is initiated in patients taking a benzodiazepine or any other psychotropic drug.

Clozapine may potentiate the hypotensive effects of antihypertensive drugs and the anticholinergic effects of atropine-type drugs. The administration of epinephrine should be avoided in the treatment of drug induced hypotension because of a possible reverse epinephrine effect.

Pharmacokinetic-related Interactions: Clozapine is a substrate for many CYP 450 isozymes, in particular 1A2, 2D6, and 3A4. The risk of metabolic interactions caused by an effect on an individual isoform is therefore minimized. Nevertheless, caution should be used in patients receiving concomitant treatment with other drugs that are either inhibitors or inducers of these enzymes.

Concomitant administration of drugs known to induce cytochrome P450 enzymes may decrease the plasma levels of clozapine. Phenytoin, nicotine, and rifampin may decrease Clozapine plasma levels, resulting in a decrease in effectiveness of a previously effective Clozapine dose.

Concomitant administration of drugs known to inhibit the activity of cytochrome P450 isozymes may increase the plasma levels of clozapine. Cimetidine, caffeine, and erythromycin may increase plasma levels of Clozapine, potentially resulting in adverse effects. Although concomitant use of Clozapine and carbamazepine is not recommended, it should be noted that discontinuation of concomitant carbamazepine administration may result in an increase in Clozapine plasma levels.

In a study of schizophrenic patients who received clozapine under steady state conditions, fluvoxamine or paroxetine was added in 16 and 14 patients, respectively. After 14 days of co-administration, mean trough concentrations of clozapine and its metabolites, N-desmethylclozapine and clozapine N-oxide, were elevated with fluvoxamine by about three-fold compared to baseline concentrations. Paroxetine produced only minor changes in the levels of clozapine and its metabolites. However, other published reports describe modest elevations (less than two-fold) of clozapine and metabolite concentrations when clozapine was taken with paroxetine, fluoxetine, and sertraline. Therefore, such combined treatment should be approached with caution and patients should be monitored closely when Clozapine is combined with these drugs, particularly with fluvoxamine. A reduced Clozapine dose should be considered.

A subset (3%-10%) of the population has reduced activity of certain drug metabolizing enzymes such as the cytochrome P450 isozyme P450 2D6. Such individuals are referred to as "poor metabolizers" of drugs such as debrisoquin, dextromethorphan, the tricyclic antidepressants, and clozapine. These individuals may develop higher than expected plasma concentrations of clozapine when given usual doses. In addition, certain drugs that are metabolized by this isozyme, including many antidepressants (clozapine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and others), may inhibit the activity of this isozyme, and thus may make normal metabolizers resemble poor metabolizers with regard to concomitant therapy with other drugs metabolized by this enzyme system, leading to drug interaction.

Concomitant use of clozapine with other drugs metabolized by cytochrome P450 2D6 may require lower doses than usually prescribed for either clozapine or the other drug. Therefore, co-administration of clozapine with other drugs that are metabolized by this isozyme, including antidepressants, phenothiazines, carbamazepine, and Type 1C antiarrhythmics (e.g., propafenone, flecainide and encainide), or that inhibit this enzyme (e.g., quinidine), should be approached with caution.

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