Guidelines for the use of clozapine in individuals with developmental disabilities

Mohamed Sabaawi, Nirbhay N. Singh, Jose de Leon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Clozapine is the most effective antipsychotic medication currently in use, but there has been a paucity of well-controlled research on its efficacy with people with developmental disabilities. We present a set of guidelines to ensure proper utilization of clozapine in individuals with developmental disabilities, because it can offer them therapeutic advantages similar to those observed in people with schizophrenia. We provide recommendations regarding the use of clozapine that are based on three main sources: literature and published professional practice guidelines regarding the use of clozapine in individuals who do not have developmental disabilities, the limited literature on the use of clozapine in individuals who have developmental disabilities, and our own clinical experience. The first part of the guidelines contains an overview of necessary practical knowledge regarding side effects, dose and blood level considerations, and interactions with other medications, diet and tobacco smoking. In the second part, we offer procedures for selecting individuals for clozapine therapy based on proper indications and contraindications for treatment. We also include requirements regarding informed consent, dosage and special laboratory and clinical monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-336
Number of pages28
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Jose de Leon, M.D., lectured once in 1997 supported by Novartis and, between 1992 and 1995, participated in a clozapine double-blind study that was supported by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health grant MH-47162 to George M. Simpson, M.D. and Richard C. Josiassen, Ph.D. Novartis Research Institute provided free medication for the clozapine double-blind study. More recently, in the past 2 years, Dr. de Leon has been on the advisory board of Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca. He has received researcher initiated grants from Eli Lilly and Roche Molecular Systems, Inc., and lectured once with the support of Eli Lilly. Drs. Sabaawi and Singh do not have any conflict of interest with pharmaceutical drug companies.


  • Antipsychotic medication
  • Clozapine
  • Clozapine guidelines
  • Individuals with developmental disabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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