You may have seen reports about clozapine in the media this week which we understand may be concerning for some of our patients and carers.
If you have any worries, questions or concerns about clozapine or the articles you have read, you can contact:
- Our Medicines Helpline on 020 3513 6829 to talk to one of our specialist mental health pharmacists. The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm.
- Your clozapine clinic to speak to a clozapine nurse
- Your prescribing clinician/team
It is important that you do not stop taking clozapine without consulting your clinician first.
About clozapine and ensuring it is used safely
Clozapine is an atypical antipsychotic medication, which can be used to treat schizophrenia if you are over 16 and have tried other medicines that have not worked.
You can find detailed information about clozapine in our Patient Information Leaflet (PILL). This includes information on what the medication is for, how to take it, side effects and safety information. The manufacturer's Patient Information Leaflet can be found inside the box of your medication.
Clozapine has a wide range of possible side effects, however for most patients the benefits outweigh potential risks when these are well monitored and managed. To minimise the risks and ensure clozapine is used safely and appropriately, we follow national guidance set by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and adhere to stringent monitoring and guidelines:
- It is mandatory to ensure side effects are monitored regularly and effectively, and all patients newly started on clozapine have regular monitoring and weekly blood tests. This is moved to twice a week after 18 weeks and then every four weeks after one year.
- All patients on clozapine are registered with a monitoring service and clozapine cannot be supplied unless monitoring and blood tests are up to date and within range.
- During blood test monitoring, other aspects of physical health are also monitored for example checking for and treating constipation. Our patients attend clozapine clinics regularly for monitoring alongside their appointments with relevant clinicians.
- Patients and carers are given written information about clozapine and offered a discussion about the side effects, how they can be managed and the benefits of clozapine
Clozapine Patient Information Leaflets and handy fact sheets can be found here: https://www.choiceandmedication.org/swlstg-tr/printable-leaflets/patient-information-leaflets/37/ALL/
Our 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Line 0800 028 8000
Mental health crisis support is accessible round-the-clock by calling our Mental Health Crisis Line on 0800 028 8000. The team will help you or the person you care for to get help and support quickly and in the right place.
The crisis line can help:
- Direct you to the right service for your mental health
- Provide helpful information and advice to help yourself or the person you care for manage during a crisis
- Help you to get seen by a professional if you need an urgent assessment and arrange further support if needed
Call 999 or go to your local A&E department if:
- someone's life is at risk - for example they have seriously injured themselves or taken an overdose
- you do not feel you can keep yourself or someone else safe.