Clozapine: a review of clinical practice guidelines and prescribing trends

BMC Psychiatry. 2014 Apr 7:14:102. doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-14-102.

Abstract

Background: Clozapine effectiveness in the treatment of refractory schizophrenia has been sustained by published evidence in the last two decades, despite the introduction of safer options.

Discussion: Current clinical practice guidelines have strongly recommended the use of clozapine in treatment-resistant schizophrenia, but prescribing trends do not appear to have followed such recommendations. Clozapine is still underutilized especially in patients at risk of suicide. It seems that physicians are hesitant in prescribing clozapine due to concerns about serious adverse effects. Recent reports have highlighted the need to inform health professionals about the benefits of treating patients with clozapine and have voiced concerns about the underutilization of clozapine especially in patients at risk of suicide.

Summary: Guidelines and prescribing patterns reported in various countries worldwide are discussed. Suggestions on how to optimize clozapine utilization have been published but more efforts are needed to properly inform and support prescribers' practices.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clozapine / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends*
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*

Substances

  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Clozapine