Aims and method
To systematically review the literature on barriers to the use of clozapine and identify any interventions for optimizing clozapine use in treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Journal databases were searched from 1972 to March 2018. The following search terms were used: treatment-resistant schizophrenia, clozapine, barriers, use, prescription rates, implementation, clozaril and prescribing practices. Following a review of the literature, 15 papers were included in the review.
The major barriers that were identified included mandatory blood testing, fear of serious side-effects and lack of adherence by the patients, difficulty in identifying suitable patients, service fragmentation, and inadequate training in or exposure to using clozapine.
In view of consistent evidence across the studies on inadequate knowledge and skills as a significant barrier, we suggest that a certification requiring competence in initiating and managing side-effects of clozapine becomes a mandatory requirement in training programmes.
Declarations of interest