Pai NB, Vella SC. Reason for clozapine cessation.
Objective: Approximately 30% of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia suffer from treatment-resistant or refractory schizophrenia. The gold standard for treatment of refractory schizophrenia is clozapine. However, a significant number of patients cease clozapine therapy; therefore this study explores patient’s motives for cessation.
Method: The motives for cessation and duration of clozapine treatment from a retrospective database of 151 patients with schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder who had ceased clozapine once or more were reviewed, with the motives for cessation coded. The general motives for cessation were non-compliance, own decision, medical, poor response and other. In addition, the medical reasons for cessation were further codified: cardiac complications, neutropenia, fevers, other side effects and pregnancy.
Results: The majority of patients ceased clozapine owing to non-compliance with medical protocols or citing their own decision. Approximately half ceased after a period of 6 months or less. Seventeen per cent of patients ceased owing to medical reasons, with the largest proportions discontinuing treatment because of other side effects or neutropenia.
Conclusion: Future research should seek to further investigate why patients decide to be non-compliant and formulate their own decision to cease treatment, as this will facilitate strategies to promote adherence amongst these two groups that are potentially the most amenable to change.