Factors predicting use of laxatives in outpatients stabilized on clozapine

Loren Bailey, Seema Varma, Nina Ahmad, Siobhan Gee, David M Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Constipation is a common and sometimes fatal side effect of clozapine treatment. In this study, we aimed to identify factors associated with clozapine-induced constipation. Data on 202 outpatients stabilized on clozapine treatment were collected. Of these, 71 patients (35%) had a current prescription for laxatives (a proxy for the presence of constipation). Mean clozapine dose was 400.4 mg/day in those prescribed laxatives and 390.1 mg/day in those not prescribed laxatives (p = 0.67), while mean clozapine plasma concentration was 0.53 mg/l and 0.49 mg/l, respectively (p = 0.29). Patients using laxatives had on average 29% higher norclozapine concentrations (mean = 0.34 mg/l) than those who did not use laxatives (mean = 0.27 mg/l; p = 0.046). Laxative use was more common in female patients (49.1%) than male patients (29.1%; p < 0.01). Prescribers should be vigilant for constipation at any dose or plasma concentration of clozapine and should be mindful that male patients may be undertreated. Norclozapine concentrations may predict clozapine-induced constipation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-262
Number of pages7
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
Early online date1 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


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