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Clozapine oral
CLOZAPINE - ORAL

Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.

CLOZAPINE - ORAL

(KLO-zuh-peen)

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Clozaril

WARNING: Because clozapine has rarely caused severe (sometimes fatal) blood disorders (agranulocytosis), clozapine should be used only for severely ill patients who have failed to respond to other therapies. At least two other standard antipsychotic drugs should be tried before trying clozapine. Clozapine may cause seizures, especially when higher amounts of clozapine are used. Inform your doctor if you have a history of seizures. You should not perform activities where sudden loss of consciousness could cause serious risk to yourself or others (e.g., operating machinery, driving, swimming). Dizziness upon standing (with or without fainting) may occur, and may rarely lead to breathing or heart collapse. Tell your doctor if you are using other psychiatric medications (e.g., benzodiazepines) because these problems have also infrequently occurred in people using these other medications. Dizziness may occur at the first dose or during quick dose increases. If you miss doses for a short period of time (2 days or greater since the last dose), contact your doctor since you may need to restart using smaller doses of clozapine. Rare (sometimes fatal) heart disease (e.g., myocarditis, heart failure) may occur with the use of clozapine. If you have a family history of heart failure, you should get a heart evaluation before you start taking this medication. Clozapine is not recommended for use in those with severe heart disease. If you are ever diagnosed with clozapine-related heart disease (e.g., myocarditis), you should not take clozapine ever again. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. If you develop symptoms of an infection (such as fever, chills, or a persistent sore throat), unusual fatigue, difficulty breathing, rapid or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, or chest pain, notify your doctor immediately. Your doctor will monitor your blood cells before your therapy begins and during treatment. White blood cell testing must continue once a week for four weeks after you stop using this.

Uses

This medication is used to treat symptoms of a certain type of mental condition (schizophrenia) that is untreatable by other medications.

How To Use

Take this medication exactly as directed. Do not take it more often or increase the dose without your doctor's approval. Do not suddenly stop taking this medication without notifying your doctor. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased. During the first few weeks of treatment, your dose may be adjusted until the best dose is identified. It may take several weeks for the full benefit of the drug to occur.

Side Effects

This medication may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Use caution performing tasks that require alertness. Other side effects include stomach upset, constipation, dry mouth, headache, tremor and increased salivation. If these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor. To relieve dry mouth, suck on (sugarless) hard candy or ice chips, chew (sugarless) gum, drink water or use saliva substitute. Notify your doctor promptly if you develop: chest pain, a rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing, aching muscles and joints, rash, leg swelling/pain, a sore throat, fever, weakness, flu-like symptoms, seizures, a change in the amount of urine. To prevent excessive dizziness, rise slowly from a flat or seated position. Avoid sudden changes in posture and be careful on stairs. This drug may infrequently make your blood sugar level rise, therefore causing or worsening diabetes. This high blood sugar can rarely cause serious (sometimes fatal) conditions such as diabetic coma. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms of high blood sugar, such as increased thirst and urination, or vision changes. If you already have diabetes, be sure to check your blood sugars regularly. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions

Tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: glaucoma, seizure disorders, heart or blood vessel problems, kidney or liver disease, enlarged prostate, blood disorders, diabetes or a family history of diabetes, obesity, allergies. Limit alcohol intake which can lead to excessive drowsiness or dizziness. Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should inform their doctors. Do not breast-feed while taking clozapine.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor of all prescription and nonprescription medications you may use, especially of: drugs used for high blood pressure, rifamycins (e.g., rifampin), nicotine (e.g., tobacco use, anti-smoking patches), macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin), cimetidine, certain anti-seizure medicine (e.g., carbamazepine), narcotic pain medications (e.g., codeine), SSRI antidepressants (particularly fluvoxamine). Also tell your doctor if you are taking any medication to decrease stomach acid or lessen abdominal cramping. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include nausea, disorientation, unsteadiness, decreased sexual ability, prolonged or painful erection in males, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Notes

Do not share this medication with others. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood tests-WBC, fasting blood sugar-FBS) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. It is important that you keep all doctor and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, take as soon as remembered; do not take if it is almost time for the next dose, instead, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not "double-up" the dose to catch up.

Storage

Store at room temperature away from sunlight and moisture.

Medical Alert

Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For enrollment information call MedicAlert at 1-800-854-1166 (USA), or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).