Factors associated with response to clozapine in schizophrenia: A review

Takefumi Suzuki, Hiroyuki Uchida, Koichiro Watanabe, Haruo Kashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Clozapine has been serving as the gold standard medication for patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia who failed to respond to other antipsychotics. However, factors affecting response to this medication have not been comprehensively reviewed recently. Methods: In order to find factors associated with response to clozapine in schizophrenia, a literature search was conducted using PubMed through January 2011 with keywords of clozapine, response, and schizophrenia. Cross-referencing of relevant articles was also performed. Factors were arbitrarily classified into the following: demographic/clinical, oral dosage/pharmacokinetic, biochemical, (electro)physiological, genetic, imaging, and combinations. Results: A synthesis from 280 articles indicated that demographic and clinical variables such as high baseline symptoms and low premorbid functioning have not been particularly useful in predicting response to clozapine. Pharmacokinetic evidence points to a threshold clozapine level of 350 ng/ml but in a context of significant inter- as well as intra-individual variability. Pharmacokinetic perspectives appear to have more implication in special situations including poor response, suspected toxicity and nonadherence. A number of laboratory-based studies have reported on many potential candidates for response prediction to clozapine, however, reproducibility, specificity, robustness of the findings, as well as clinical feasibility and cost-effectiveness all pose a significant practical challenge, in relation with the fact that pathophysiological bases of treatment resistance in schizophrenia largely remain to be elucidated. Conclusions: No unequivocal factors to clozapine response were found despite a relatively rich body of the literature, which calls for more works on this important topic. Clozapine level of 350 ng/ml appears to be useful in case of nonresponse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-60
Number of pages29
JournalPsychopharmacology bulletin
Volume44
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Nov 30

Keywords

  • Clozapine
  • Factor
  • Predictor
  • Response
  • Review
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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