Clozapine treatment and risk of severe COVID-19 infection

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2022 Jan;145(1):79-85. doi: 10.1111/acps.13379. Epub 2021 Oct 29.


Objective: To investigate whether patients with clozapine treatment are at an increased risk of a more severe COVID-19 infection as compared with patients on other antipsychotic drugs.

Methods: In this register-based cohort study, all residents (age 18 or older) in the Stockholm Region with a psychotic disorder diagnosis and antipsychotic treatment were included (N = 8 233) and followed from 1 March 2020 to 14 January 2021. The exposure was defined as clozapine treatment and the outcome measures (indicating a more severe COVID-19 infection) were: inpatient care, care within intensive care unit or death due to COVID-19 infection. Differences in outcome rates between exposed (n = 966) and unexposed (other antipsychotics; n = 7 267) were examined using Cox proportional hazards models and expressed as hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Results: No statistically significant differences in outcome rates were found between the two groups of patients after adjusting for age, sex and residence in retirement homes. The adjusted HR for the exposed compared to the unexposed was 0.96 (95% CI: 0.54, 1.70) for inpatient care; 1.69 (0.48, 5.93) for care in intensive care unit (ICU); and 0.86 (0.26, 2.80) for death. Regarding inpatient care, additional adjusting for country of birth, living in socioeconomically vulnerable areas, number of care visits during the previous year, and comorbid medical illnesses did not alter the results.

Conclusions: Our results may add support to the present guidelines, recommending sustained clozapine treatment during the current COVID-19 pandemic with careful monitoring and readiness to alter drug doses as needed.

Keywords: COVID-19; antipsychotics; clozapine; psychotic disorder; side effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • COVID-19*
  • Clozapine* / adverse effects
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Clozapine