Clozapine is an antipsychotic medicine and a third line treatment for schizophrenia.
In the majority of cases clozapine will be prescribed by a psychiatrist and dispensed by a hospital pharmacy. It can also be supplied by community pharmacists if they have registered as a provider and completed the required training course.
Pharmacists registered to provide a clozapine service are aware of the need for mandatory regular blood monitoring. However, patients and health care professionals may not always aware of the gastro-intestinal side effects (specifically constipation) of clozapine. Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have produced a handy fact sheet providing more details of clozapine, slow gut and constipation.
Concerns about a lack of understanding about the side effects of clozapine as well the effect of missing clozapine doses and the impact of smoking cessation while taking clozapine, and how these can manifest in secondary care were raised at the Northern Ireland Medicine Safety Conference and subsequently shared at a Patient Safety Group meeting.
In response the Patient Safety Group have developed a resource to highlight potential issues associated with clozapine.