Rates and Reasons for Clozapine Treatment Interruptions: Impact of the Frequency of Hematologic Monitoring and Cardiac Adverse Events

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Differing rates and reasons for interruptions of clozapine treatment have been reported globally. This article evaluated the rates and reasons for clozapine therapy interruptions in Australia and explored the impact of the frequency of hematological monitoring on these parameters.

METHODS: Data of the patients who were newly commenced on clozapine at three metropolitan public mental health services in Western Australia over 11 years were retrospectively collated. The rate and reasons for clozapine therapy interruptions and their association with the frequency of hematological monitoring, age, sex, and treatment site were analyzed using parametric, nonparametric, and correlational analyses.

RESULTS: Of the 457 patients whose data were collected, 69.6% had an interruption of treatment with 41.2% of those occurring during the period of mandatory weekly hematological monitoring in the first 18 weeks. Nonadherence (57.4%) and adverse effects (28.8%) were the 2 main reasons for the treatment interruptions. Cardiac issues accounted for the majority of the interruptions (61.8%) due to specified adverse effects, and these occurred significantly more commonly within the first 18 weeks. Location, age, and sex did not predict the possibility of treatment interruptions.

CONCLUSIONS: The high rates of clozapine treatment interruption observed during the period of weekly monitoring point toward the need to address the burden of frequent hematological monitoring for patients. Disproportionately higher rates of interruption due to cardiac adverse effects observed in this study compared with research from non-Australian settings raise the possibility of geographical differences in the adverse effects leading to treatment discontinuation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-238
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychopharmacology
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

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