Clozaril uses are primarily concerned with the treatment of symptoms of schizophrenia and to reduce the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior. The drug can only manage symptoms, and is not a cure. Because of the potentially serious side effects, Clozaril is reserved only for people who have not responded to other schizophrenia medications. Off-label Clozaril uses include the treatment of bipolar disorder and severe agitation.
An Overview of Clozaril UsesClozaril® (clozapine) is a prescription medicine known as an "atypical antipsychotic" that has been licensed to treat schizophrenia. Although the drug is an effective medication, it has many serious side effects and is reserved for those who have not responded to other schizophrenia medications. Clozaril 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. It is 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:
- 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 effective schizophrenia treatment. Clozaril can help improve the symptoms of schizophrenia and also helps to prevent relapses (worsening of schizophrenia). However, the medication cannot cure the condition.