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Rare and very rare adverse effects of clozapine

Authors De Fazio P, Gaetano R, Caroleo M, Cerminara G, Maida F, Bruno A, Muscatello MR, Moreno MJ, Russo E, Segura-García C

Received 6 March 2015

Accepted for publication 16 April 2015

Published 6 August 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 1995—2003


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 7

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Pasquale De Fazio,1 Raffaele Gaetano,1 Mariarita Caroleo,1 Gregorio Cerminara,1 Francesca Maida,2 Antonio Bruno,3 Maria Rosaria Muscatello,3 Maria Jose Jaén Moreno,4 Emilio Russo,2 Cristina Segura-García1

1Department of Health Sciences, School of Specialization in Psychiatry, 2Department of Health Sciences, School of Specialization in Pharmacology, University “Magna Graecia”, Catanzaro, 3Department of Neurosciences, School of Specialization in Psychiatry, University of Messina, Messina, Italy; 4Department of Social Health Sciences, Radiology and Physical Medicine, University of Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain

Abstract: Clozapine (CLZ) is the drug of choice for the treatment of resistant schizophrenia; however, its suitable use is limited by the complex adverse effects’ profile. The best-described adverse effects in the literature are represented by agranulocytosis, myocarditis, sedation, weight gain, hypotension, and drooling; nevertheless, there are other known adverse effects that psychiatrists should readily recognize and manage. This review covers the “rare” and “very rare” known adverse effects of CLZ, which have been accurately described in literature. An extensive search on the basis of predefined criteria was made using CLZ and its combination with adverse effects as keywords in electronic databases. Data show the association between the use of CLZ and uncommon adverse effects, including ischemic colitis, paralytic ileus, hematemesis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, priapism, urinary incontinence, pityriasis rosea, intertriginous erythema, pulmonary thromboembolism, pseudo-pheochromocytoma, periorbital edema, and parotitis, which are influenced by other variables including age, early diagnosis, and previous/current pharmacological therapies. Some of these adverse effects, although unpredictable, are often manageable if promptly recognized and treated. Others are serious and potentially life-threatening. However, an adequate knowledge of the drug, clinical vigilance, and rapid intervention can drastically reduce the morbidity and mortality related to CLZ treatment.

Keywords: clozapine, rare adverse effects, schizophrenia, atypical antipsychotic

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