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Clozapine Can Cause Bowel Obstructions, Intestinal Damage, Aspiration and Death

by The Beasley Firm  |  March 27, 2012  |  

Schizophrenia is a psychological or mental disorder that can cause someone to experience hallucinations, hear voices, become paranoid, have delusions, disorganized speech and thinking, as well as problems with social or occupational interactions. It is estimated that schizophrenia affects approximately 24 million people worldwide as of 2011. However, with proper management and medications, many schizophrenic patients are able to get their behaviors under control and go on to lead productive lives, only to be injured or die due to a side effect of one of their medications.

Clozapine is a medication that has been prescribed since the 1970’s for the treatment of schizophrenia symptoms. It is well known to cause neutropenia and agranulocytosis (low white blood cell counts), but it is also known to cause severe bowel or intestinal problems that some doctors or psychiatrists do not notice or treat.

Patients who are taking Clozapine can develop clozapine induced gastrointestinal hypomotility (CIGH). In a recent study, CIGH was identified with a mortality, or death rate, of 28%, making it a more common cause of clozapine-associated death than agranulocytosis. Doctors and psychiatrists are aware that clozapine can cause chronic constipation, bowel obstructions, twisted bowels, toxic megacolon, necrotizing enterocolitis, paralytic ileus, intestinal damage or aspiration pneumonia, yet they fail to take the patient off of the medication or treat the abdominal or stomach problems. Without an autopsy, many family members do not realize that the cause of death of their loved one that was on Clozapine could have been due to this known bowel complication side effect that was not recognize or treated. Instead, they are just told their loved one died of “natural causes.”

If you or a loved one suffered from an intestinal bowel injury or died after taking Clozapine, please feel free to contact one of our experienced drug injury lawyers, doctors, or nurses for a strictly confidential and free consultation. Our experienced medication error teams have years of experience in helping patients that have beeninjured or harmed by a prescribed medicine.

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