Clozapine versus typical neuroleptic medication for schizophrenia.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Jan 21CD
Long-term drug treatment of schizophrenia with typical antipsychotics has limitations: 25 to 33% of patients have illnesses that are treatment-resistant. Clozapine is an antipsychotic drug, which is claimed to have superior efficacy and to cause fewer motor adverse effects than typical drugs for people with treatment-resistant illnesses. Clozapine carries a significant risk of serious blood disorders, which necessitates mandatory weekly blood monitoring at least during the first months of treatment.
To evaluate the effects of clozapine compared with typical antipsychotic drugs in people with schizophrenia.
For the current update of this review (March 2006) we searched the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group Trials Register.
All relevant randomised clinical trials (RCTs).
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
We extracted data independently. For dichotomous data we calculated relative risks (RR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) on an intention-to-treat basis, based on a fixed-effect model. We calculated numbers needed to treat/harm (NNT/NNH) where appropriate. For continuous data, we calculated weighted mean differences (WMD) again based on a fixed-effect model.
We have included 42 trials (3950 participants) in this review. Twenty-eight of the included studies are less than 13 weeks in duration, and, overall, trials were at significant risk of bias. We found no significant difference in the effects of clozapine and typical neuroleptic drugs for broad outcomes such as mortality, ability to work or suitability for discharge at the end of the study. Clinical improvements were seen more frequently in those taking clozapine (n=1119, 14 RCTs, RR 0.72 CI 0.7 to 0.8, NNT 6 CI 5 to 8). Also, participants given clozapine had fewer relapses than those on typical antipsychotic drugs (n=1303, RR 0.62 CI 0.5 to 0.8, NNT 21 CI 15 to 49). BPRS scores showed a greater reduction of symptoms in clozapine-treated patients, (n=1145, 16 RCTs, WMD -4.22 CI -5.4 to -3.1), although the data were heterogeneous (Chi(2) 0.0001, I(2) 66%). Short-term data from the SANS negative symptom scores favoured clozapine (n=196, 5 RCTs, WMD -5.92 CI -7.8 to -4.1). We found clozapine to be more acceptable in long-term treatment than conventional antipsychotic drugs (n=982, 16 RCTs, RR 0.60 CI 0.5 to 0.7, NNT 15 CI 12 to 20). Blood problems occurred more frequently in participants receiving clozapine (3.2%) compared with those given typical antipsychotics (0%) (n=1031, 13 RCTs, RR 7.09 CI 2.0 to 25.6). Clozapine participants experienced more drowsiness, hypersalivation, or temperature increase, than those given conventional neuroleptics. However, clozapine patients experienced fewer motor adverse effects (n=1433, 18 RCTs, RR 0.58 CI 0.5 to 0.7, NNT 5 CI 4 to 6).The clinical effects of clozapine were more pronounced in participants resistant to typical neuroleptics in terms of clinical improvement (n=370, 4 RCTs, RR 0.71 CI 0.6 to 0.8, NNT 4 CI 3 to 6) and symptom reduction. Thirty-four per cent of treatment-resistant participants had a clinical improvement with clozapine treatment.