Fluvoxamine inhibition and carbamazepine induction of the metabolism of clozapine: evidence from a therapeutic drug monitoring service

Ther Drug Monit. 1994 Aug;16(4):368-74. doi: 10.1097/00007691-199408000-00006.


Therapeutic drug monitoring data for clozapine were used to study interactions with other drugs. The distribution of the ratio concentration/dose (C/D) of clozapine was compared in four matched groups--patients simultaneously treated with benzodiazepines, patients on drugs that inhibit the cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP2D6, patients taking carbamazepine, and those not taking any of these drugs. No difference was seen among the monotherapy, CYP2D6, and benzodiazepine groups. Patients on carbamazepine had a mean 50% lower C/D than the monotherapy group (p < 0.001), indicating that carbamazepine is an inducer of the metabolism of clozapine. The C/D was inversely correlated to the daily dose of carbamazepine. Intraindividual comparisons in eight patients, with analyses both on and off carbamazepine, confirmed a substantial decrease of the clozapine concentration when carbamazepine was introduced. Four patients treated with clozapine were concomitantly given the antidepressant fluvoxamine. Three of them exhibited a much higher C/D ratio when on fluvoxamine compared with the monotherapy group. Two had their clozapine levels analyzed when on and off fluvoxamine. The dose-normalized clozapine concentration increased by a factor of 5-10 when fluvoxamine was added. We conclude that carbamazepine causes decreased clozapine plasma levels, while fluvoxamine increases the levels. The pathways are not known with certainty, but CYP1A2 may be of major importance for the metabolism of clozapine, since fluvoxamine is a potent inhibitor of this enzyme. A recent panel study suggests that determination of CYP1A2 activity with the caffeine test may be very useful for the dosing of clozapine. The induction of clozapine metabolism by carbamazepine might be partly mediated by CYP3A4.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carbamazepine / pharmacology*
  • Clozapine / metabolism*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / physiology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Monitoring
  • Female
  • Fluvoxamine / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / physiology
  • Oxidoreductases / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Carbamazepine
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Oxidoreductases
  • CYP3A protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • CYP3A4 protein, human
  • Clozapine
  • Fluvoxamine