Clozapine is indicated in treatment-resistant schizophrenic patients and in schizophrenia patients who have severe, untreatable neurological adverse reactions to other antipsychotic agents, including atypical antipsychotics.
Treatment resistance is defined as a lack of satisfactory clinical improvement despite the use of adequate doses of at least two different antipsychotic agents, including an atypical antipsychotic agent, prescribed for adequate duration.
For this indication, competent medicine agencies globally authorize below treatments:
12.5 - 900 mg
From 6.25 To 450 mg 2 time(s) per day every day
12.5 mg once or twice on the first day, followed by 25 mg once or twice on the second day. If well tolerated, the daily dose may then be increased slowly in increments of 25 to 50 mg in order to achieve a dose level of up to 300 mg/day within 2 to 3 weeks. Thereafter, if required, the daily dose may be further increased in increments of 50 to 100 mg at half-weekly or, preferably, weekly intervals.
In most patients, antipsychotic efficacy can be expected with 200 to 450 mg/day given in divided doses. The total daily dose may be divided unevenly, with the larger portion at bedtime.
To obtain full therapeutic benefit, a few patients may require larger doses, in which case judicious increments (not exceeding 100 mg) are permissible up to 900 mg/day. However, the possibility of increased adverse reactions (in particular seizures) occurring at doses over 450 mg/day must be borne in mind.
After achieving maximum therapeutic benefit, many patients can be maintained effectively on lower doses. Careful downward titration is therefore recommended. Treatment should be maintained for at least 6 months. If the daily dose does not exceed 200 mg, once daily administration in the evening may be appropriate.
In the event of planned termination of clozapine therapy, a gradual reduction in dose over a 1- to 2-week period is recommended. If abrupt discontinuation is necessary, the patient should be carefully observed for the occurrence of withdrawal reactions.
In patients in whom the interval since the last dose of clozapine exceeds 2 days, treatment should be re-initiated with 12.5 mg given once or twice on the first day. If this dose is well tolerated, it may be feasible to titrate the dose to the therapeutic level more quickly than is recommended for initial treatment. However, in any patient who has previously experienced respiratory or cardiac arrest with initial dosing, but was then able to be successfully titrated to a therapeutic dose, re-titration should be carried out with extreme caution.