Clozapine in the time of COVID-19
Xavier Boland 1, Luiz Dratcu 1*
Maudsley Hospital, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
Received: April 23, 2020; Revised: May 9, 2020; Accepted: May 19, 2020; Published online: May 19, 2020.
© The Korean College of Neuropsychopharmacology. All rights reserved.

Abstract
Clozapine is the most effective antipsychotic for treatment resistant schizophrenia but adverse reactions to clozapine include neutropenia. The current COVID-19 pandemic may raise specific concerns for clinicians prescribing clozapine for patients who need it. We report on two actively psychotic patients with treatment resistant schizophrenia who required admission to our inner-London acute psychiatric unit during the COVID-19 pandemic and who were treated with clozapine. One was a young patient who developed COVID-19 symptoms and tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus while receiving clozapine and the other was an aging man who tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus but had contact with patients with COVID-19 during initiation of clozapine treatment. Both responded to clozapine treatment and were safely discharged from hospital without any complication. These cases suggest that, in the absence of complications, exposure to COVID-19 per se and the onset of mild symptoms in those infected may not warrant withdrawal or postponement of clozapine treatment when this is indicated.
Keywords: Clozapine, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 virus, Schizophrenia, Treatment resistant schizophrenia, Psychosis


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