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How does antipsychotic Clozaril (Clozapine) cause weight gain

Updated on January 5, 2013

Clozaril or Clozapine is an Antipsychotic medication prescribed for resistant schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. It is an atypical antipsychotic medication. In fact it is the first atypical anti-psychotic agent came into the market. It went out from the market very quickly due to its serious side effects. However, it was reintroduced after a two decades, because it was the only drug that gave hope to resistant schizophrenia patients.

In addition to causing some serious side effects such as Agranulocytosis or reduction in blood neutrophil counts, Clozaril is known to cause some troublesome side effects such as diabetes mellitus, weight gain and blood lipid abnormalities that may lead to heart attacks.

How Clozaril causes weight gain?

Clozaril increases body weight through several mechanisms. One such is increasing appetite. Most patients who take Clozaril complain of increased appetite. According to clinical trials, it is independent to the effect seen following the cure of psychosis (Psychosis/schizophrenia/depression known to cause loss of appetite).

Mechanism of Clozaril that lead to increased body weight

In addition, Clozaril inhibits Histamine 1 receptors situated in the brain, which could lead to increased appetite and weight gain. Clozaril also blocks the pancreatic M3 receptors. This action causes reduced insulin secretion which leads to diabetes mellitus, blood lipid abnormalities and weight gain.

How to prevent weight gain seen in Clozaril

Due to these side effects, patients who take Clozaril should check their blood glucose, blood lipid levels and body weight frequently. In addition, they should undergo proper weight loss program.

As with any weight reduction program, the patient should change their own life style. In addition, reduced intake of high calorie food stuff and increased aerobic exercises can help to reduce the weight gain associated with Clozaril. Changing over to another drug may not be an option for Clozaril, because it is the only drug that is effective against resistant schizophrenia.


Clozaril causes weight gain due to various interactions with neuro receptors. However, weight gain can be reversed by following a proper weight loss program.


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    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

      Very information hub, but its so sad that people who suffer from this disorder have yet another hurdle to jump on the road to recovery. Voted up, marked useful and interesting.