Impact of clozapine on medication use in a state hospital
Medical records of 90 consecutive patients who started clozapine were reviewed to see how this drug is being used with other psychotropic medications and to evaluate what impact it has had on the drug regimens of these patients. Data from up to 6 months before to 12 months after clozapine's initiation was included. The percent of patients receiving medications for antipsychotic side effects decreased from 86% 6 months prior to clozapine to 13% 12 months after. The use of benzodiazepines decreased from 43% to 23% during this time period as did lithium use from 57% to 17%. While 28% of the patients were receiving carbamazepine prior to starting clozapine, no patients remained on this drug concurrently with clozapine. The average number of psychiatric medications per patient decreased from 3.39 ± 1.37 6 months prior to clozapine to 1.61 ± .83 at month 12. Concern for drug interactions along with clozapine's reduced incidence of extrapyramidal side effects and increased efficacy contributed to the reduction in medication use observed.