Non-Psychosis Symptoms of Clozapine Withdrawal: a Systematic Review

Beryl Yee, Jeffrey C.L. Looi, Madelyn Agaciak, Stephen Allison, Sherry Kit Wa Chan, Tarun Bastiampillai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Objective: Clozapine is a potent antipsychotic medication with a complex receptor profile. It is reserved for treatment-resistant schizophrenia. We systematically reviewed studies of non-psychosis symptoms of clozapine withdrawal. 

Methods: CINAHL, Medline, PsycINFO, PubMed, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were searched using the keywords ‘clozapine,’ and ‘withdrawal,’ or ‘supersensitivity,’ ‘cessation,’ ‘rebound,’ or ‘discontinuation’. Studies related to non-psychosis symptoms after clozapine withdrawal were included. 

Results: Five original studies and 63 case reports / series were included in analysis. In 195 patients included in the five original studies, approximately 20% experienced non-psychosis symptoms following discontinuation of clozapine. In 89 patients in four of the studies, 27 experienced cholinergic rebound, 13 exhibited extrapyramidal symptoms (including tardive dyskinesia), and three had catatonia. In 63 case reports / series included, 72 patients with non-psychosis symptoms were reported, which were catatonia (n=30), dystonia or dyskinesia (n=17), cholinergic rebound (n=11), serotonin syndrome (n=4), mania (n=3), insomnia (n=3), neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) [n=3, one of them had both catatonia and NMS], and de novo obsessive compulsive symptoms (n=2). Restarting clozapine appeared to be the most effective treatment. 

Conclusions: Non-psychosis symptoms following clozapine withdrawal have important clinical implications. Clinicians should be aware of the possible presentations of symptoms to ensure early recognition and management. Further research is warranted to better characterise the prevalence, risk factors, prognosis, and optimal drug dosing for each withdrawal symptom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-64
Number of pages21
JournalEast Asian Archives of Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Catatonia
  • Clozapine
  • Dyskinesias
  • Dystonia
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Substance withdrawal syndrome


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