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Clozapine Use in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome: A Systematic Review of the Literature.

BACKGROUND: 22q11.2 deletion syndrome confers significant risk for the development of schizophrenia. While current recommendations regarding the management of psychotic symptoms in affected individuals are generally in keeping with treatment guidelines for general schizophrenia populations, evidence for the use of clozapine has come from case reports and retrospective observational data. As no reviews on the topic currently exist, a systematic review of clozapine use in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome was completed.

METHODS: In November 2023, a literature search was completed using both PubMed and Scopus to identify English-language articles that reported the use of clozapine in humans with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

RESULTS: Twenty-six articles describing 57 individuals were deemed eligible for inclusion. Most individuals had a diagnosis of treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Where reported, the mean or median dose of clozapine was relatively low, and the majority of individuals exhibited a good response (approximately 65.5% across individual case reports/series). While seizures were unsurprisingly the most commonly reported serious adverse effect, the majority of individuals were able to remain on (or be restarted on) clozapine by having their dose decreased and/or by adding an anticonvulsant (most commonly valproate).

CONCLUSIONS: This review reaffirms that individuals with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome may benefit from clozapine therapy even at a low dose, assuming they meet criteria for treatment-resistant schizophrenia and provided no contraindications exist. However, given the increased incidence of seizures in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, the use of prophylactic anticonvulsant therapy should be considered, and hypoparathyroidism/hypocalcemia screened for and corrected before the initiation of clozapine. It is also recommended that clozapine blood levels be monitored.

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