Optimizing antidepressant and clozapine co-prescription in clinical practice: A systematic review and expert recommendations

Hélène Verdoux, Clélia Quiles, Jose de Leon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: To synthesize the information relevant for clinical practice on clozapine-antidepressant co-prescription concerning pharmacokinetic drug-drug interactions (DDI), adverse drug reactions (ADRs) associated with the co-prescription, antidepressant add-on for clozapine-resistant symptoms and antidepressant add-on for clozapine-induced ADRs. Methods: Articles were identified with MEDLINE, Web of Sciences and PsycINFO search from inception through April 2023. Data were synthesized narratively. Results: ADRs are most often induced by the co-prescription of antidepressants that inhibit CYP enzymes (fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, paroxetine). Fluvoxamine add-on is hazardous because of its potent inhibition of clozapine metabolism and has few indications (lowering daily number of clozapine tablets, reducing norclozapine-induced metabolic disturbances and other dose-dependent clozapine-induced ADRs). ADR frequency may be reduced by therapeutic drug monitoring and knowledge of other factors impacting clozapine metabolism (pneumonia, inflammation, smoking, etc.). Improvement of negative symptoms is the most documented beneficial effect of antidepressant add-on for clozapine-resistant psychotic symptoms. The add-on antidepressant should be chosen according to its safety profile regarding DDI with clozapine: antidepressants inhibiting clozapine metabolism or increasing the anticholinergic load should be avoided. Other indications of antidepressant add-on (affective or obsessive compulsive symptoms, sialorrhea, and enuresis) are poorly documented. Conclusion: Antidepressant add-on to clozapine is associated with potential benefits in clozapine users as this strategy may contribute to reduce the burden of clozapine-resistant symptoms or of clozapine-induced ADRs. Further studies are needed to determine whether antidepressant add-on can reduce the risk of clozapine discontinuation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Adverse drug reaction
  • Antidepressant
  • Clozapine
  • Drug-drug interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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