, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 193-198

Agranulocytosis during treatment with clozapine

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Within six months of the introduction of the new antipsychotic drug clozapine in Finland, 17 cases of neutropenia or agranulocytosis were recorded amongst about 3000 patients treated. Agranulocytosis was fatal in eight patients, and in addition, two patients developed thrombocytopenia, and one patient leukaemia. As additional cases might well have been overlooked as banal infections, the risk of developing agranulocytosis during clozapine treatment was at least 0.5%. Impaired elimination of the drug or increased susceptibility of granulocyte precursors to clozapine, possibly due to some inherited characteristic, might explain the high incidence of complications.

By the Working Group of the Finnish National Board of Health on the side-effects of clozapine