Warning on clozapine

 Thanks to Mind for this warning:

An article on the Times Online revealed a shockingly high number of deaths of people taking the antipsychotic drug clozapine – since 1993 almost 1,000 deaths have been reported to the UK medicines regulator through the Yellow Card scheme for reporting adverse drug reactions.

If you are taking clozapine (trade names Clozaril, Denzapine and Zaponex) and are worried about your health we suggest discussing this with your psychiatrist and asking for any necessary health checks. Anyone with concerns about their medicine is welcome to call the MindinfoLine on 0845 766 0163 or email info@mind.org.uk 

The MindinfoLine is open 9-5 Monday to Friday.

Clozapine is licensed to treat schizophrenia if other treatments have not helped, and people taking it must have regular blood tests because of the risk of serious blood disorders. The blood monitoring appears to be very successful in preventing and treating these disorders, as the deaths reported are almost all from other causes including cardiac and respiratory disorders.

Mind wants to see:

  • equally rigorous monitoring for other health problems especially to prevent heart disease and strokes
  • an urgent review of the drug by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
  • much better availability of psychological therapies so that people can try a proper range of treatment before clozapine is offered.

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