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What Is Clozapine Oral Suspension Used For?

Clozapine oral suspension is prescribed to treat schizophrenia in adults when other treatments have not adequately worked. It is also licensed for use in people who are at risk for suicide. As an atypical antipsychotic, the medicine works by blocking the effects of certain brain chemicals. There are also off-label uses for clozapine oral suspension, such as treating hallucinations caused by Parkinson's disease.

An Overview of Clozapine Oral Suspension Uses

Clozapine oral suspension (Versacloz™) is a prescription medication that belongs to a group of drugs known as atypical antipsychotics. It is approved to treat:
  • People with schizophrenia that has not adequately responded to other antipsychotic medications
  • People with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who had suicidal behavior in the past and are at risk for it again.

Understanding Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a complex, serious, lifelong brain disorder. People with this condition have a difficult time organizing their thoughts, interpreting reality, and thinking logically. Schizoaffective disorder is a condition in which a person has schizophrenia in combination with mood symptoms, such as depression or mania.

There are different types of schizophrenia, and the actual symptoms a person experiences can vary by type (see Types of Schizophrenia). Some of the possible symptoms may include:
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not real)
  • Delusions (believing things that are not true)
  • Problems organizing thoughts
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Loss of pleasure in everyday life
  • Inattention
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty interpreting information
  • An inability to organize and plan.
(Click Symptoms of Schizophrenia to learn more.)
Because the symptoms are so disabling, people with the condition are usually unable to care for themselves or function normally without treatment. There is no cure, so treatment focuses on eliminating symptoms, improving quality of life, and restoring a person's ability to lead a productive life.
The majority of people with schizophrenia will need lifelong antipsychotic medications. Psychosocial treatments can provide added benefit in people who are maintained on medication (see Schizophrenia Treatment).
Antipsychotic medications are generally divided into two groups -- conventional antipsychotics (also called typical antipsychotics), which are the older types, and atypical (or second-generation) antipsychotics, which are the newer medicines. Clozapine oral suspension is an atypical antipsychotic medication.
Other atypical antipsychotic medications include:
(Click Clozapine Alternatives to learn more about other treatment options for schizophrenia.)
Clozapine oral suspension contains the active ingredient clozapine. It is a very effective antipsychotic. However, clozapine, and therefore clozapine oral suspension, can cause a serious side effect known as agranulocytosis, which is an abnormally low level of white blood cells in the body. This can increase the risk for infections. Because of this potential side effect, the medication is generally reserved for people who were not adequately helped by other antipsychotic medications. 
It is worthwhile to note that clozapine is also the active ingredient in two other medications: Clozaril® and FazaClo®. Clozaril comes in the form of a regular tablet that is taken by mouth. FazaClo is an orally disintegrating tablet, which is a type of tablet that is designed to dissolve on the tongue. Clozapine oral suspension comes in the form of a liquid taken by mouth. This makes it a good choice for people who do not like or cannot swallow pills.
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Clozapine Oral Suspension Information

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