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BACKGROUND: To minimise infection during COVID-19, the clozapine haematological monitoring interval was extended from 4-weekly to 12-weekly intervals in South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

AIMS: To investigate the impact of this temporary policy change on clinical and safety outcomes.

METHOD: All patients who received clozapine treatment with extended (12-weekly) monitoring in a large London National Health Service trust were included in a 1-year mirror-image study. A comparison group was selected with standard monitoring. The proportion of participants with mild to severe neutropenia and the proportion of participants attending the emergency department for clozapine-induced severe neutropenia treatment during the follow-up period were compared. Psychiatric hospital admission rates, clozapine dose and concomitant psychotropic medication in the 1 year before and the 1 year after extended monitoring were compared. All-cause clozapine discontinuation at 1-year follow-up was examined.

RESULTS: Of 569 participants, 459 received clozapine with extended monitoring and 110 controls continued as normal. The total person-years were 458 in the intervention group and 109 in the control group, with a median follow-up time of 1 year in both groups. During follow-up, two participants (0.4%) recorded mild to moderate neutropenia in the intervention group and one (0.9%) in the control group. There was no difference in the incidence of haematological events between the two groups (IRR = 0.48, 95% CI 0.02-28.15, P = 0.29). All neutropenia cases in the intervention group were mild, co-occurring during COVID-19 infection. The median number of admissions per patient during the pre-mirror period remained unchanged (0, IQR = 0) during the post-mirror period. There was one death in the control group, secondary to COVID-19 infection.

CONCLUSIONS: There was no evidence that the incidence of severe neutropenia was increased in those receiving extended monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-388
Number of pages7
JournalThe British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science
Issue number2
Early online date24 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2023


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