Clozapine and Long-Term Mortality Risk in Patients With Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Studies Lasting 1.1-12.5 Years.
Patients with schizophrenia have an elevated mortality risk compared to the general population, with cardiovascular-related deaths being the leading cause. The role of clozapine use in the long-term mortality risk is unclear. While clozapine treatment may increase the risk for cardiovascular mortality, it may have protective effects regarding suicidal behavior.We systematically searched EMBASE, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO and reviewed studies that used a long-term follow-up (ie, >52 weeks) and reported on mortality in adults diagnosed with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders who had received clozapine treatment.Altogether, 24 studies reported on 1327 deaths from any causes during 217691 patient years in patients treated with clozapine. The unadjusted mortality rate in 22 unique samples during a follow-up of 1.1-12.5 (median = 5.4) years was 6.7 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.4-7.9) per 1000 patient years. Long-term, crude mortality rate ratios were not significantly lower in patients ever treated with clozapine during follow-up, but significantly lower in patients continuously treated with clozapine compared to patients with other antipsychotics (mortality rate ratio = 0.56, 95% CI = 0.36-0.85, P-value = .007). Few studies reported on rates of long-term cause-specific mortality (suicide and ischemic heart disease), which showed no significant difference in patients using clozapine compared to patients using other antipsychotics. Statistical heterogeneity was high in all analyses.Continuous clozapine treatment in schizophrenia patients was associated with a significantly lower long-term all-cause mortality rate compared to other antipsychotic use. These findings, combined with the known efficacy of clozapine, give reason to re-evaluate the hesitancy to prescribe clozapine in regular care settings.PROSPERO CRD42017069390.
School of Medicine