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Med Hypotheses. 2013 Jun;80(6):689-91. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.12.024. Epub 2013 Mar 13.

Increasing the clozapine: norclozapine ratio with co-administration of fluvoxamine to enhance efficacy and minimize side effects of clozapine therapy.

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Centre de Recherche de l'Institut Philippe-Pinel de Montréal, 10 905, boul. Henri-Bourassa Est, Montréal, QC, Canada.


Although clozapine is the only antipsychotic agent to have demonstrated superior efficacy in treatment-refractory schizophrenia, one- to two-thirds of patients do not respond adequately despite acceptable dosages and plasma levels. Moreover, a significant number of patients stop the therapy for various reasons, including its side effects, many of which are thought to be related to its active metabolite, norclozapine. However, combining clozapine with the SSRI antidepressant fluvoxamine decreases norclozapine formation by inhibiting the CYP450 1A2 isoenzyme. Lowering norclozapine levels in this way while maintaining therapeutic clozapine levels increases the clozapine: norclozapine ratio; the potential benefits include both a reduction of such side effects as sedation, weight gain, metabolic disturbances, and neutropenia, and an increase in efficacy. The optimal ratio of clozapine to norclozapine has not yet been defined, but a ratio of two or more implies that saturation of clozapine metabolism has been reached. We hypothesize that co-administration of clozapine and fluvoxamine at dosages that will produce therapeutic plasma levels of clozapine and a clozapine: norclozapine ratio of two or more will increase efficacy and tolerability of clozapine therapy in treatment-resistant schizophrenic patients.

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