CLOZARIL is indicated for the treatment of severely ill patients with schizophrenia who fail to respond adequately to standard antipsychotic treatment. Because of the significant risk of agranulocytosis and seizure associated with its use, CLOZARIL should be used only in patients who have failed to respond adequately to standard antipsychotic treatment [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1, 5.4)].
The effectiveness of CLOZARIL in treatment-resistant schizophrenia was demonstrated in a 6-week, randomized, double-blind, active-controlled study comparing CLOZARIL and chlorpromazine in patients who had failed other antipsychotics [see Clinical Studies (14.1)].
CLOZARIL is indicated for reducing the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who are judged to be at chronic risk for re-experiencing suicidal behavior, based on history and recent clinical state. Suicidal behavior refers to actions by a patient that put him/herself at risk for death.
The effectiveness of CLOZARIL in reducing the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior was demonstrated over a two-year treatment period in the InterSePTTM trial.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
WARNING: AGRANULOCYTOSIS; ORTHOSTATIC HYPOTENSION, BRADYCARDIA, AND SYNCOPE; SEIZURE; MYOCARDITIS AND CARDIOMYOPATHY; INCREASED MORTALITY IN ELDERLY PATIENTS WITH DEMENTIA-RELATED PSYCHOSIS
CLOZARIL treatment has caused agranulocytosis, defined as an absolute neutrophil count (ANC) less than 500/mm3. Agranulocytosis can lead to serious infection and death. Prior to initiating treatment with CLOZARIL, obtain a baseline white blood cell count (WBC) and ANC. The ANC must be greater than or equal to 2000/mm3 and the WBC must be greater than or equal to 3500/mm3 for a patient to begin treatment with CLOZARIL. During treatment, patients must have regular monitoring of ANC and WBC. Discontinue CLOZARIL and do not rechallenge if the ANC is less than 1000/mm3 or the WBC is less than 2000/mm3. Advise patients to immediately report symptoms consistent with agranulocytosis or infection (e.g., fever, weakness, lethargy, or sore throat) [see Dosage and Administration (2.1) and Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
- Because of the risk of agranulocytosis, CLOZARIL is available only through a restricted program called the Clozaril National Registry. Under the Clozaril National Registry, prescribers, patients, and pharmacies must enroll in the program [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].
- Orthostatic Hypotension, Bradycardia, Syncope
Orthostatic hypotension, bradycardia, syncope, and cardiac arrest have occurred with CLOZARIL treatment. The risk is highest during the initial titration period, particularly with rapid dose escalation. These reactions can occur with the first dose, with doses as low as 12.5 mg per day. Initiate treatment at 12.5 mg once or twice daily; titrate slowly; and use divided dosages. Use CLOZARIL cautiously in patients with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease or conditions predisposing to hypotension (e.g., dehydration, use of antihypertensive medications) [see Dosage and Administration (2.2, and 2.5) and Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].
Seizures have occurred with CLOZARIL treatment. The risk is dose-related. Initiate treatment at 12.5 mg, titrate gradually, and use divided dosing. Use caution when administering CLOZARIL to patients with a history of seizures or other predisposing risk factors for seizure (CNS pathology, medications that lower the seizure threshold, alcohol abuse). Caution patients about engaging in any activity where sudden loss of consciousness could cause serious risk to themselves or others [see Dosage and Administration (2.2), Warnings and Precautions (5.4)].
- Myocarditis and Cardiomyopathy
Fatal myocarditis and cardiomyopathy have occurred with CLOZARIL treatment. Discontinue CLOZARIL and obtain a cardiac evaluation upon suspicion of these reactions. Generally, patients with clozaril-related myocarditis or cardiomyopathy should not be rechallenged with CLOZARIL. Consider the possibility of myocarditis or cardiomyopathy if chest pain, tachycardia, palpitations, dyspnea, fever, flu-like symptoms, hypotension, or ECG changes occur [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)].
- Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. CLOZARIL is not approved for use in patients with dementia-related psychosis [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)].
CLOZARIL is contraindicated in patients with a history of clozapine-induced agranulocytosis or severe granulocytopenia. CLOZARIL is contraindicated in patients with a history of hypersensitivity to clozapine (e.g., photosensitivity, vasculitis, erythema multiforme, or Stevens-Johnson syndrome) or any other component of CLOZARIL.
Because of a significant risk of agranulocytosis, a potentially life-threatening adverse event, Clozaril should be reserved for use in the treatment of severely ill patients who fail to show an acceptable response to adequate courses of standard antipsychotic drug treatment, or for reducing the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who are judged to be at risk of re-experiencing suicidal behavior.
CLOZARIL is available only through a distribution system that ensures monitoring of WBC count and ANC according to the schedule described below prior to delivery of the next supply of medication. Because of the risk of agranulocytosis, CLOZARIL is available only through a restricted program called the CLOZARIL National Registry. Under the CLOZARIL National Registry, prescribers, patients, pharmacies, and distributors must enroll in the program.
Required components of the CLOZARIL National Registry are:
- Healthcare professionals who prescribe CLOZARIL must enroll in the program and comply with the Registry requirements.
- Pharmacies that dispense CLOZARIL must enroll in the program and comply with the Registry requirements.
- Routine monitoring and submission of laboratory results (WBC and ANC) is required during treatment with CLOZARIL [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
Patients who are being treated with CLOZARIL must have a baseline WBC count and ANC before initiation of treatment, and a WBC count and ANC every week for the first 6 months. Thereafter, if acceptable WBC counts and ANCs (WBC count ≥ 3500/mm3 and ANC ≥ 2000/mm3) have been maintained during the first 6 months of continuous therapy, WBC counts and ANCs can be monitored every 2 weeks for the next 6 months. Thereafter, if acceptable WBC counts and ANCs (WBC count ≥ 3500/mm3 and ANC ≥ 2000/mm3) have been maintained during the second 6 months of continuous therapy, WBC count and ANC can be monitored every 4 weeks.
Advise patients to immediately report the appearance of signs/symptoms consistent with agranulocytosis or infection (e.g., fever, weakness, lethargy, or sore throat) at any time during CLOZARIL therapy. Such patients should have a WBC count and an ANC performed promptly.
Hypotension, bradycardia, syncope, and cardiac arrest have occurred with clozapine treatment. The risk is highest during the initial titration period, particularly with rapid dose-escalation. These reactions can occur with the first dose, at doses as low as 12.5 mg. These reactions can be fatal. The syndrome is consistent with neurally mediated reflex bradycardia (NMRB).
Treatment must begin at a maximum dose of 12.5 mg once daily or twice daily. The total daily dose can be increased in increments of 25 mg to 50 mg per day, if well-tolerated, to a target dose of 300 mg to 450 mg per day (administered in divided doses) by the end of 2 weeks. Subsequently, the dose can be increased weekly or twice weekly, in increments of up to 100 mg. The maximum dose is 900 mg per day.
Use CLOZARIL cautiously in patients with cardiovascular disease (history of myocardial infarction or ischemia, heart failure, or conduction abnormalities), cerebrovascular disease, and conditions which would predispose patients to hypotension (e.g., concomitant use of antihypertensives, dehydration and hypovolemia).
Seizure has been estimated to occur in association with clozapine use at a cumulative incidence at one year of approximately 5%, based on the occurrence of one or more seizures in 61 of 1743 patients exposed to clozapine during its clinical testing prior to domestic marketing (i.e., a crude rate of 3.5%). The risk of seizure is dose-related. Initiate treatment with a low dose (12.5 mg), titrate slowly, and use divided dosing.
Myocarditis and cardiomyopathy have occurred with the use of CLOZARIL. These reactions can be fatal. Discontinue CLOZARIL and obtain a cardiac evaluation upon suspicion of myocarditis or cardiomyopathy. Generally, patients with a history of clozapine-associated myocarditis or cardiomyopathy should not be rechallenged with CLOZARIL. However, if the benefit of CLOZARIL treatment is judged to outweigh the potential risks of recurrent myocarditis or cardiomyopathy, the clinician may consider rechallenge with CLOZARIL in consultation with a cardiologist, after a complete cardiac evaluation, and under close monitoring.
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Analyses of 17 placebo-controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks), largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times the risk of death in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared to a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature.
Eosinophilia, defined as a blood eosinophil count of greater than 700/mm3, has occurred with CLOZARIL treatment. In clinical trials, approximately 1% of patients developed eosinophilia. Clozapine-related eosinophilia usually occurs during the first month of treatment. In some patients, it has been associated with myocarditis, pancreatitis, hepatitis, colitis, and nephritis. Such organ involvement could be consistent with a drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms syndrome (DRESS), also known as drug induced hypersensitivity syndrome (DIHS). If eosinophilia develops during CLOZARIL treatment, evaluate promptly for signs and symptoms of systemic reactions, such as rash or other allergic symptoms, myocarditis, or other organ-specific disease associated with eosinophilia. If CLOZARIL-related systemic disease is suspected, discontinue CLOZARIL immediately.
QT prolongation, Torsades de Pointes and other life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, and sudden death have occurred with CLOZARIL treatment. When prescribing CLOZARIL, consider the presence of additional risk factors for QT prolongation and serious cardiovascular reactions. Conditions that increase these risks include the following: history of QT prolongation, long QT syndrome, family history of long QT syndrome or sudden cardiac death, significant cardiac arrhythmia, recent myocardial infarction, uncompensated heart failure, treatment with other medications that cause QT prolongation, treatment with medications that inhibit the metabolism of clozapine, and electrolyte abnormalities.
Hypokalemia and hypomagnesemia increase the risk of QT prolongation. Hypokalemia can result from diuretic therapy, diarrhea, and other causes. Use caution when treating patients at risk for significant electrolyte disturbance, particularly hypokalemia. Obtain baseline measurements of serum potassium and magnesium levels, and periodically monitor electrolytes. Correct electrolyte abnormalities before initiating treatment with CLOZARIL.
Atypical antipsychotic drugs, including CLOZARIL have been associated with metabolic changes that can increase cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk. These metabolic changes include hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and body weight gain. While atypical antipsychotic drugs may produce some metabolic changes, each drug in the class has its own specific risk profile.
Undesirable alterations in lipids have occurred in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics, including CLOZARIL. Clinical monitoring, including baseline and periodic follow-up lipid evaluations in patients using CLOZARIL, is recommended.
Weight gain has occurred with the use of antipsychotics, including CLOZARIL. Monitor weight during treatment with CLOZARIL. Table 6 summarizes the data on weight gain by the duration of exposure pooled from 11 studies with CLOZARIL and active comparators. The median duration of exposure was 609, 728, and 42 days, in the CLOZARIL, olanzapine, and chlorpromazine group, respectively.
Antipsychotic drugs including CLOZARIL can cause a potentially fatal symptom complex referred to as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS). Clinical manifestations of NMS include hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, and autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and cardiac dysrhythmias). Associated findings can include elevated creatine phosphokinase (CPK), myoglobinuria, rhabdomyolysis, and acute renal failure.
During clozapine therapy, patients have experienced transient, clozapine-related fever. The peak incidence is within the first 3 weeks of treatment. While this fever is generally benign and self-limited, it may necessitate discontinuing treatment. The fever can be associated with an increase or decrease in WBC count. Carefully evaluate patients with fever to rule out agranulocytosis or infection. Consider the possibility of NMS.
Pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis have occurred in patients treated with CLOZARIL. Consider the possibility of pulmonary embolism in patients who present with deep-vein thrombosis, acute dyspnea, chest pain, or with other respiratory signs and symptoms. Whether pulmonary embolus and deep vein thrombosis can be attributed to clozapine or some characteristic(s) of patients is not clear.
CLOZARIL has potent anticholinergic effects. Treatment with CLOZARIL can result in CNS and peripheral anticholinergic toxicity. Use with caution in the presence of narrow-angle glaucoma, concomitant anticholinergic medications, prostatic hypertrophy, or other conditions in which anticholinergic effects can lead to significant adverse reactions.
CLOZARIL can cause sedation and impairment of cognitive and motor performance. Caution patients about operating hazardous machinery, including automobiles, until they are reasonably certain that CLOZARIL does not affect them adversely. These reactions may be dose-related. Consider reducing the dose if they occur.
Tardive dyskinesia (TD) has occurred in patients treated with antipsychotic drugs, including CLOZARIL. The syndrome consists of potentially irreversible, involuntary, dyskinetic movements. The risk of TD and the likelihood that it will become irreversible are believed to increase with greater durations of treatment and higher total cumulative doses. However, the syndrome can develop after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses. Prescribe CLOZARIL in a manner that is most likely to minimize the risk of developing TD. Use the lowest effective dose and the shortest duration necessary to control symptoms. Periodically assess the need for continued treatment. Consider discontinuing treatment if TD occurs. However, some patients may require treatment with CLOZARIL despite the presence of the syndrome.
In controlled trials, elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with some atypical antipsychotics had an increased risk (compared to placebo) of cerebrovascular adverse reactions (e.g., stroke, transient ischemic attack), including fatalities. The mechanism for this increased risk is not known. An increased risk cannot be excluded for CLOZARIL or other antipsychotics or other patient populations. CLOZARIL should be used with caution in patients with risk factors for cerebrovascular adverse reactions.
If abrupt discontinuation of CLOZARIL is necessary (because of agranulocytosis or another medical condition, for example), monitor carefully for the recurrence of psychotic symptoms and adverse reactions related to cholinergic rebound, such as profuse sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Adverse events observed in association with the use of CLOZARIL in clinical trials at an incidence of greater than 5% were: central nervous system complaints, including drowsiness/sedation, dizziness/vertigo, headache and tremor; autonomic nervous system complaints, including salivation, sweating, dry mouth and visual disturbances; cardiovascular findings, including tachycardia, hypotension and syncope; gastrointestinal complaints, including constipation and nausea; and fever. Complaints of drowsiness/sedation tend to subside with continued therapy or dose reduction. Salivation may be profuse, especially during sleep, but may be diminished with dose reduction.