Patients with schizophrenia who fail to respond to standard antipsychotic medications have better outcomes if they begin taking the drug clozapine, an atypical antipsychotic drug, instead of moving on to another standard antipsychotic, according to a new study at Columbia University Medical Center.

Typically, when one traditional antipsychotic medication fails to yield results, clinicians change to another traditional antipsychotic. Clozapine is often seen as a drug of last resort, although it is the only medication approved by the FDA for treatment-resistant schizophrenia.

The findings show that while on clozapine, patients have fewer hospitalizations, tend to stay on the new medication longer and are less likely to need to use additional antipsychotics.

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