Schizophrenia Home > What Is Clozapine Used For?

What is clozapine used for? The drug is approved to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and reduce the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior. However, it can only help manage symptoms and is not a cure. In addition, the drug is not approved for use in children. Clozapine is used for off-label reasons at times as well, including bipolar disorder and severe agitation that is not associated with schizophrenia.

What Is Clozapine Used For? -- An Overview

Clozapine (Clozaril®, FazaClo®) is a prescription medicine known as an "atypical antipsychotic" that has been licensed to treat schizophrenia. Although clozapine is an effective medication, it has many serious side effects and is reserved for those people who have not responded to other schizophrenia medications. The drug is also approved to reduce the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior in people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.
 
Schizophrenia is one of the most confusing and disabling mental illnesses. The term refers to a group of mental disorders that involve abnormal thinking. Although the causes of schizophrenia are not fully understood, it is currently thought that genetics and environmental factors play an important role. Depending on the type of schizophrenia (see Types of Schizophrenia), symptoms may include the following:
 
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Thought disorders
  • Disorders of movement
  • Flat affect (immobile facial expression, monotonous voice)
  • Lack of pleasure in everyday life
  • A diminished ability to initiate and sustain planned activity
  • Speaking infrequently, even when forced to interact
  • Poor executive functioning (the ability to absorb and interpret information and make decisions based on that information)
  • An inability to stay focused
  • Problems with working memory (the ability to keep recently-learned information in mind and use it right away).
     
Although psychotherapy may be helpful for schizophrenia (see Psychosocial Therapy for Schizophrenics), medication is often essential to schizophrenia treatment. Clozapine can help improve the symptoms of schizophrenia and also helps to prevent relapses (worsening of schizophrenia). However, clozapine is not a cure for the condition.
 
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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