FazaClo

Generic Name: clozapine (KLOE za peen)
Brand Name: Clozaril, FazaClo, Versacloz

What is clozapine?

Clozapine is an antipsychotic medication. It works by changing the actions of chemicals in the brain.

Clozapine is used to treat severe schizophrenia, or to reduce the risk of suicidal behavior in people with schizophrenia or similar disorders.

Clozapine is available only from a certified pharmacy under a special program. You must be registered in the program and agree to undergo frequent blood tests.

Clozapine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about clozapine?

You should not take this medicine if you have ever developed a severe infection while taking clozapine. Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment. You will need frequent blood tests while taking clozapine.

Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection (sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, sore throat).

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Clozapine can cause severe dizziness, slow heartbeats, fainting, or seizures. Do not take more of this medicine than recommended.

Call your doctor at once if you have chest pain, trouble breathing, fluttering in your chest, or if you feel like you might pass out.

Clozapine is not approved for use in psychotic conditions related to dementia. Clozapine may increase the risk of death in older adults with dementia-related conditions.

Clozapine is available only from a certified pharmacy under a special program.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking clozapine?

You should not take this medicine if you are allergic to clozapine, or if you have ever developed a severe infection while taking clozapine.

Clozapine is not approved for use in psychotic conditions related to dementia. Clozapine may increase the risk of death in older adults with dementia-related conditions.

To make sure clozapine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart disease or high blood pressure;

  • a personal or family history of long QT syndrome;

  • a history of heart attack or stroke (including "mini-stroke");

  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood);

  • a history of seizures, head injury, or brain tumor;

  • diabetes, or risk factors such as being overweight or having a family history of diabetes;

  • high cholesterol or triglycerides;

  • a bowel obstruction called paralytic ileus;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • an enlarged prostate or urination problems;

  • glaucoma;

  • if you are malnourished or dehydrated; or

  • if you smoke.

FDA pregnancy category B. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Taking antipsychotic medication during the last 3 months of pregnancy may cause problems in the newborn, such as withdrawal symptoms, breathing problems, feeding problems, fussiness, tremors, and limp or stiff muscles. However, you may have withdrawal symptoms or other problems if you stop taking your medicine during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking clozapine, do not stop taking it without your doctor's advice.

Clozapine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are taking clozapine.

How should I take clozapine?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Clozapine can be taken with or without food.

The orally-disintegrating tablet (FazaClo) can be taken without water. Keep the tablet in its blister pack until you are ready to take it. Open the package and peel back the foil. Do not push a tablet through the foil or you may damage the tablet. Use dry hands to remove the tablet and place it in your mouth. Do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing. If desired, you may drink liquid to help swallow the dissolved tablet.

If your doctor has prescribed one-half of an orally-disintegrating tablet, you will need to break the tablet in half. Throw the other half away. Do not save it for later use.

Clozapine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections, especially in women and older adults, and in people who are malnourished or have serious medical problems. This can make it easier for you to develop a serious or life-threatening infection. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your future treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using clozapine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

You should not stop using clozapine suddenly or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose. If you stop taking clozapine for more than 2 days in a row, call your doctor before you start taking it again.

Clozapine can have long lasting effects on your body. You may need frequent medical tests for a short time after you stop using this medicine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking clozapine?

Clozapine can cause severe dizziness, slow heartbeats, fainting, or seizures. Do not take more of this medicine than recommended. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of clozapine.

Clozapine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with clozapine. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as:

  • sudden weakness or ill feeling;

  • fever, swollen glands, body aches, flu symptoms; or

  • mouth sores, red or swollen gums, and trouble swallowing.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • sudden cough, rapid breathing, coughing up blood;

  • tight feeling in your neck or jaw, twitching or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs;

  • seizure (black-out or convulsions);

  • swelling, rapid weight gain, little or no urinating;

  • severe nervous system reaction--very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out;

  • high blood sugar--increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss; or

  • signs of inflammation in your body--easy bruising or bleeding, severe tingling or numbness, muscle weakness, upper stomach pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), chest pain, new or worsening cough, trouble breathing.

Common side effects may include:

  • weight gain;

  • tremor, dizziness, spinning sensation;

  • headache, drowsiness;

  • fast heart rate;

  • nausea, constipation;

  • dry mouth, or increased salivation;

  • blurred vision; or

  • increased sweating.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect clozapine?

Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous or life-threatening side effects. Ask your doctor before taking clozapine with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Many drugs can interact with clozapine. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your medications and any you start or stop using during treatment with clozapine, especially:

  • carbamazepine;

  • droperidol;

  • methadone;

  • an antibiotic--erythromycin, moxifloxacin, pentamidine;

  • an antidepressant--citalopram, escitalopram;

  • anti-malaria medication--mefloquine, halofantrine;

  • heart rhythm medicine--amiodarone, disopyramide, flecainide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol; or

  • medicine to treat a psychiatric disorder--chlorpromazine, droperidol, haloperidol, iloperidone, pimozide, thioridazine, ziprasidone.

This list is not complete and many other drugs can interact with clozapine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about clozapine.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 15.01. Revision Date: 2014-06-23, 1:23:54 PM.

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