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Serum levels of clozapine and norclozapine in patients treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Am J Psychiatry 1996;153:820-822.
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OBJECTIVE: The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine can increase serum levels of clozapine and norclozapine, but effects of other SSRIs are unknown. Thus, the authors evaluated interactions of clozapine with fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline. METHOD: Serum clozapine and norclozapine concentrations were assayed in 80 psychiatric patients, matched for age and clozapine dose, given clozapine (mean dose = 279 mg/day) alone or with fluoxetine (mean dose = 39.3 mg/day), paroxetine (mean = 31.2 mg/day), or sertraline (mean = 92.5 mg/ day). Each patient's dose of clozapine was stable for at least a month before serum sampling. RESULTS: Concentrations of clozapine plus norclozapine averaged 43% higher, and the risk of levels higher than 1000 ng/ml was 10-fold greater (25%), in the patients taking SSRIs, with minor differences between patients taking the individual SSRIs. CONCLUSIONS: SSRIs can increase circulating concentrations of clozapine and norclozapine, sometimes to potentially toxic levels.

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