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A study of the use of clozapine in old age psychiatry

Snowdon, John; Halliday, Graeme

International Clinical Psychopharmacology:
doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e32834405fc
Original Articles
Abstract

The aim of this study was to review the use of clozapine in a Sydney area old age psychiatry service. Data were extracted from case files of all people who were treated in a health area's old age psychiatry units with clozapine during a 15-year period. Additional details were obtained from clinicians who provided ongoing care after discharge from the hospital. Note was made of psychiatric diagnoses, length of time taking clozapine, dosage, side effects and outcome. Sixteen patients aged over 65 years commenced or continued taking clozapine while inpatients of the service. Of the 13 patients who had a history of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, four patients (all female) developed neutropenia and therefore clozapine was stopped. In one case, neutropenia was first diagnosed 6 years after commencing the medication. Two women died; the nine other women, and one of the deceased, stopped taking clozapine, usually because of side effects. The mean daily dose at cessation was 236 mg. All five men were still taking clozapine (mean 260 mg daily) when followed at a mean age of 72 years, having taken it for an average of 10 years. This case review adds to evidence of the risk of neutropenia when older people are prescribed clozapine.

Author Information

Sydney South West Area Health Service and Sydney Medical School, Sydney, Australia

Correspondence to Professor John Snowdon, MD, Sydney Medical School, Concord Hospital, Concord, Sydney, NSW 2139, Australia Tel: +61 29 7675000; fax: +61 29 7678951; e-mail: jsnowdon@mail.usyd.edu.au

Received November 30, 2010

Accepted December 22, 2010

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.