Clozapine in China.

Research paper by Y-L YL Tang, P-X PX Mao, F F Jiang, Q Q Chen, C-Y CY Wang, Z-J ZJ Cai, P B PB Mitchell

Indexed on: 19 Jan '08Published on: 19 Jan '08Published in: Pharmacopsychiatry


Clozapine remains one of the most commonly used antipsychotic medications in China. As China has the largest population internationally on clozapine treatment, its experience and research findings are of keen interest to Western psychiatrists. However, most of the related papers have hitherto been published only in Chinese language journals. Here we review mainly Chinese-language publications on the use of clozapine in China. A descriptive study based on literature identified from searches of Medline and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) databases (1979-2007), and other hand-picked references. Unlike the situation in other countries, clozapine is still widely used for a number of psychiatric disorders in China, though the prescription of other second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) is also increasing. About 25-60% of all treated patients with schizophrenia receive clozapine; and clozapine is preferred by some as a first-line treatment for schizophrenia. Clozapine is also used for other conditions such as mania, treatment-resistant depression and drug abuse. The average daily dose is between 200 and 400 mg. The incidence of leukopenia is 3.92% and agranulocytosis 0.21% in China, with about one third of reported cases of patients with agranulocytosis dying. Weight gain and clozapine-associated diabetes are also commonly reported in the Chinese population. Clozapine is currently the most commonly used treatment for schizophrenia in China. Chinese psychiatrists need to pay more attention to its potential toxic side effects when they make drug choices.