Clozapine is an atypical antipsychotic medication that is used to treat schizophrenia. The medication works by blocking or lessening the effects of certain chemicals in the brain that can become elevated in people with schizophrenia. Clozapine is usually reserved for people who have failed to respond to other schizophrenia medications. It comes in tablet form, and is generally taken one to three times per day.
What Is Clozapine?Clozapine (Clozaril®, FazaClo®) is a prescription medication that is used to treat schizophrenia in people who have failed to respond to other schizophrenia medications. It is also approved to decrease the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior in people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.
How Does It Work?Clozapine belongs to a group of medications called atypical (or second-generation) antipsychotic medications. It is not entirely clear how the drug works in the treatment of schizophrenia. However, it is known that clozapine blocks or lessens the effects of several chemicals in the brain. These chemicals (such as dopamine and serotonin) may be elevated in people with schizophrenia.
This drug is not a cure for schizophrenia, however. It only helps to control symptoms (see Symptoms of Schizophrenia).
When and How to Take ClozapineThe following are some general considerations for when and how to take the medication:
- Clozapine comes in tablet form. It is usually taken by mouth one to three times daily.
- You can take it with or without food. If the medication bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
- It should be taken at the same time(s) each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
- For the drug to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. It will not work if you stop taking it.