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Original Research

Clozapine Use Among People With Psychotic Disorders Who Experience Specific Indications for Clozapine

Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH; Rebecca C. Rossom, MD, MS; Esti Iturralde, PhD; Brian K. Ahmedani, MSW, PhD; Stephen C. Waring, DVM, PhD; Ashli A. Owen-Smith, SM, PhD; Stacy A. Sterling, DrPH, MSW; Kathleen Miley, PhD, MSN; Cheryl D. Stults, PhD; Yihe G. Daida, PhD; Frances L. Lynch, PhD, MSPH; Arne Beck, PhD; Katherine Sanchez, LCSW, PhD; Karen J. Coleman, PhD; and Susan M. Shortreed, PhD

Published: April 29, 2024


Objective: To examine rates of clozapine use among people with psychotic disorders who experience specific indications for clozapine.

Methods: Records data from 11 integrated health systems identified patients aged 18 years or older with recorded International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification, diagnoses of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or other psychotic disorder who experienced any of the 3 events between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019, suggesting indications for clozapine: a diagnosis of self-harm injury or poisoning, suicidal ideation diagnosed or in response to standardized assessments, and hospitalization or emergency department (ED) care for psychotic disorder despite treatment with 2 or more antipsychotic medications. Prescription dispensing data identified all clozapine use prior to or in the 12 months following each indication event. Analyses were conducted with aggregate data from each health system; no individual data were shared.

Results: A total of 7,648 patients with psychotic disorder diagnoses experienced at least 1 indication event. Among 1,097 experiencing a self-harm event, 32 (2.9%) had any prior clozapine use, and 10 (0.9%) initiated clozapine during the following 12 months. Among 6,396 with significant suicidal ideation, 238 (3.7%) had any prior clozapine use, and 70 (1.1%) initiated clozapine over 12 months. Among 881 with hospitalization or ED visit despite pharmacotherapy, 77 (8.7%) had any prior clozapine treatment, and 41 (4.7%) initiated clozapine over 12 months. Among those with significant suicidal ideation, rates of both prior clozapine treatment and subsequent initiation varied significantly by race and ethnicity, with rates among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black patients lower than among non Hispanic White patients.

Conclusions: Initiating clozapine treatment is uncommon among people with psychotic disorders who experience events suggesting clozapine is indicated, with even lower rates among Black and Hispanic patients.

J Clin Psychiatry 2024;85(2):23m14833

Author affiliations are listed at the end of this article.

Volume: 85

Quick Links: Uncategorized

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