A retrospective study of intramuscular clozapine prescription for treatment initiation and maintenance in treatment-resistant psychosis

Cecilia Casetta*, Ebenezer Oloyede, Eromona Whiskey, David Michael Taylor, Fiona Gaughran, Sukhi S. Shergill, Juliana Onwumere, Aviv Segev, Olubanke Dzahini, Sophie E. Legge, James Hunter Maccabe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Clozapine is uniquely effective in treatment-resistant psychosis but remains underutilised, partly owing to psychotic symptoms leading to non-adherence to oral medication. An intramuscular formulation is available in the UK but outcomes remain unexplored.Aims This was a retrospective clinical effectiveness study of intramuscular clozapine prescription for treatment initiation and maintenance in treatment-resistant psychosis over a 3-year period.Method Successful initiation of oral clozapine after intramuscular prescription was the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included all-cause clozapine discontinuation 2 years following initiation, and 1 year after discharge. Discontinuation rates were compared with a cohort prescribed only oral clozapine. Propensity scores were used to address confounding by indication.Results Among 39 patients prescribed intramuscular clozapine, 19 received at least one injection, whereas 20 accepted oral clozapine when given an enforced choice between the two. Thirty-six (92%) patients successfully initiated oral clozapine after intramuscular prescription; three never transitioned to oral. Eight discontinued oral clozapine during the 2-year follow-up, compared with 83 out of 162 in the comparator group (discontinuation rates of 24% and 50%, respectively). Discontinuation rates at 1-year post-discharge were 21%, compared with 44% in the comparison group. Intramuscular clozapine prescription was associated with a non-significantly lower hazard of discontinuation 2 years after initiation (hazard ratio 0.39, 95% CI 0.14-1.06) and 1 year after discharge (hazard ratio 0.37, 95% CI 0.11-1.24). The only reported adverse event specific to the intramuscular formulation was injection site pain and swelling.Conclusions Intramuscular clozapine prescription allowed transition to oral maintenance in an initially non-adherent cohort. Discontinuation rates were similar to patients only prescribed oral clozapine and comparable to existing literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-513
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Volume217
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Funding

FundersFunder number
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
National Institute for Health Research
King's College London

    Keywords

    • Intramuscular clozapine
    • clozapine
    • clozapine discontinuation
    • schizophrenia
    • treatment-resistant schizophrenia

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