This work may not be copied, distributed, displayed, published, reproduced, transmitted, modified, posted, sold, licensed, or used for commercial purposes. By downloading this file, you are agreeing to the publisher’s Terms & Conditions.

Original Research

Association Between Clozapine Exposure and Risk of Hematologic Malignancies in Veterans With Schizophrenia

Delaney R. Brainerd, PharmD; Bruce Alexander, PharmD; Marshall J. Tague, PharmD, BCOP; and Brian C. Lund, PharmD, MS

Published: May 15, 2024


Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between clozapine use and hematologic malignancies, using national administrative data from the United States Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

Methods: This case-control study of veterans with schizophrenia matched cases with incident hematologic malignancy to 10 controls without hematologic malignancy by gender, age, and time since first schizophrenia diagnosis from October 1999, the beginning of VHA data archives, to June 2022. Schizophrenia diagnoses were identified using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, code 295.x and International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, codes F20.x and F25.x from inpatient hospitalization and outpatient encounter data. Additional inclusion criteria were age 18–85 years, no prior history of malignancy, and at least 1 year of antipsychotic exposure. Clozapine exposure was assessed using 3 metrics: any exposure, years of exposure, and cumulative defined daily doses (DDD). Conditional multivariable logistic regression was used to adjust for nonmatched confounding variables.

Results: A total of 2,306 veterans with schizophrenia were identified with an incident diagnosis of hematologic malignancy and matched to 23,043 controls. Any prior clozapine exposure was more commonly observed among cases (5.3%) than controls (4.1%) and was significantly different after adjustment (odds ratio [OR], 1.31; 95% CI, 1.08–1.60). Risk was dose-dependent, where cumulative clozapine exposures from 3,000 to 4,999 DDD (OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.13–2.79) and ≥5,000 DDD (OR, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.24–2.64) were significantly associated with malignancy risk. Similarly, clozapine exposure of 5 or more years was associated with malignancy risk (OR, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.43–2.47).

Conclusion: Consistent with prior report, this study observed an increased risk of hematologic malignancy associated with clozapine exposure. These findings suggest patients receiving clozapine use, particularly those with long-term use, should be closely monitored for hematologic malignancy.

J Clin Psychiatry 2024;85(2):23m15149

Author affiliations are listed at the end of this article.

Volume: 85

Quick Links:

Continue Reading…

Subscribe to read the entire article


Buy this Article as a PDF