Clozapine can reduce suicide risk in schizophrenics

June 2, 2003

Suicidal behavior is a prevalent problem among patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. According to Jean-Pierre Lindenmayer, MD, clinical professor, Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York City, 25% to 50% of persons with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder attempt suicide. New research offers hope for persons with these disorders who are at high risk for suicide, however. At a recent American Medical Association media briefing in New York City, Lindenmayer discussed the findings of the International Suicide Prevention Trial (InterSePT), which indicate that clozapine (Clozaril, Novartis Pharmaceuticals) is superior to olanzapine (Zyprexa, Eli Lilly) in preventing suicide attempts in those with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. The study was published in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.