Clozapine ("CLOZZ-a-peen") is an atypical antipsychotic medicine

This page will give you general information about clozapine. It is not medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about your situation and whether this medication is for you.

What's it for?

Clozapine is licensed to treat the following conditions:

Name: clozapine ("CLOZZ-a-peen")

Other names: Clozaril® ("CLOZZ-a-ril"), Denzapin® ("DENZ-a-peen"), Zaponex® ("ZA-po-nex")

Medication type: atypical antipsychotic

What can it be used for?
The doctor can prescribe clozapine for you as a licensed medicine for schizophrenia if you are over 16 and have tried other medicines that have not worked.

There is less research about its use and effectiveness in young people under 16. Even so, specialists might prescribe it ‘off-label’ if they believe it is the best medicine for you.

How it works

What does clozapine do?

Clozapine is an antipsychotic medicine that helps to adjust the levels of dopamine and other chemicals available in your brain.

Clozapine reduces dopamine activity where it is too high, helping with symptoms like hallucinations. It also adjusts dopamine levels in other areas of the brain to improve focus and concentration. Its effects on other brain chemicals make it more effective and help offset some movement- and hormone-related side effects that other antipsychotics can produce.

Clozapine is only used to treat schizophrenia when other medicines have not worked well.

How long does clozapine take to start working?

Clozapine may take several weeks to start working, as the dose starts low and is increased slowly.

How long will I need to take clozapine for?

If clozapine works for you, you may want to keep taking it for a long time.

Your doctor will regularly discuss with you whether you are taking the correct dosage.

Taking clozapine

What if I miss a dose?

If you forget to take a dose, you should take it as soon as possible, unless it is less than four hours until your next dose.

If you forget by the time your next dose is due, just take your next dose.

Do not take a double dose.

What will happen if I forget to take my clozapine?

If you miss more than two days of clozapine (48 hours), you need to start again at a low dose and should speak to your doctor or care team. If you start again at your old dose you may get some intense side effects such as a drop in blood pressure leading to dizziness, unpleasant heart sensations and feeling very tired.

Make sure you take enough medication with you if you are going away.

The information on this page was reviewed by the College of Mental Health Pharmacy in March 2020.

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