"Feb. 22, 2011 -- The FDA has issued a safety announcement notifying health care professionals that it has updated the pregnancy section of drug labels for the entire class of antipsychotic medications.
Antipsychotic drugs are used to "...
IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
CLOZAPINE - ORAL
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Clozaril
WARNING: While clozapine can provide great benefits, it can rarely cause serious, possibly fatal side effects. For this reason, clozapine is used when other treatments have not worked or you cannot take them.
This medication can cause a serious immune system problem called agranulocytosis (low white blood cells). To make sure you have enough white blood cells, you will need to have a blood test before you begin taking clozapine and then have your blood tested regularly during your treatment. (See also How to Use, Side Effects, and Notes sections.)
Clozapine can also cause seizures, especially in higher doses. Let your doctor or pharmacist know if you have ever had seizures. While taking this medication, avoid driving or other activities during which a sudden loss of consciousness could be dangerous (e.g., operating heavy machinery, swimming).
This medication may rarely cause an inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis). Seek immediate medical attention if you have weakness, difficult/rapid breathing, chest pain, or swelling of the ankles/legs. Your risk is highest in the first month of treatment.
Clozapine can cause a big drop in blood pressure, which can make you dizzy or cause you to faint when you stand up. Be sure to get up slowly while taking this medication. This is more likely to occur when your dose of clozapine is increased or if you are also taking a benzodiazepine (e.g., clonazepam, lorazepam, diazepam).
There may be a slightly increased risk of serious, possibly fatal side effects (e.g., stroke, heart failure) when this medication is used in elderly patients with dementia. Discuss the risks and benefits of this medication, as well as other effective and possibly safer treatments for dementia-related behavior problems, with your doctor.
USES: See also Warning section.
This medication is used to treat certain mental/mood disorders (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders). Clozapine is a psychiatric medication (anti-psychotic type) that works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain.
Clozapine decreases hallucinations and helps prevent suicide in people who are likely to try to harm themselves. It helps you to think more clearly and positively about yourself, feel less nervous, and take part in everyday life.
HOW TO USE: Take this medication by mouth with or without food, as directed by your doctor. If you are taking the tablets that dissolve in the mouth, carefully remove each tablet from the blister pack immediately before taking your dose. Allow the tablets to dissolve on your tongue and swallow. You do not need to take the dissolving tablets with water. Discard any dissolving tablets that have been previously exposed to air due to opened/damaged packaging. Do not save them for your next dose.
It is important to begin taking this drug at a low dose, increasing your dose slowly, to lessen side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness and seizures. Follow your doctor's instructions exactly. Your dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Since clozapine can cause a decrease in white blood cells, you will need to get blood tests done regularly as directed. Be sure to keep all appointments for these laboratory tests.
If you miss your doses for longer than a day or two, consult your doctor for a new schedule to get back to the dose you were on (see Missed Dose section). Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time(s) each day.
Do not stop taking clozapine without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased if the doctor decides that you should stop taking this medication.
It may take several weeks before the full benefit of this drug takes effect. Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Additional Clozaril Information
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