In this episode, we talk meds with an MD. Specifically: Clozapine. Many of us are told that it’s the “last resort” medication, “when nothing else works”. Is that really true?
Guest : Robert S Laitman, MD, is an internal medicine physician at Bronx Westchester Medical Group in New York. Over the last 10 years, he has developed a practice taking care of people with psychotic disorders after his son, Daniel, received a diagnosis of schizophrenia in 2006.
Dr Laitman, his family, and his colleague authored the book, "Clozapine: Meaningful Recovery from Schizophrenia."
We talk about:
1. Why do you say clozapine should be the drug used first? Why isn’t it?
2. Why is clozapine used more in other countries compared to the United States? Why isn’t it marketed more here?
3. Why does clozapine take so long to fully kick in (a year in some cases) compared to other antipsychotics? Your son continues to improve, even after being on it for 9 years. In what ways does he improve?
4. How does clozapine can benefit patients, besides addressing the classic symptoms of schizophrenia, e.g., suicidality, illicit drug use, smoking.
5. Mitigating predictable side effects - e.g., weight gain, salivation, sedation. (Med therapy management and how it works)
6. We need Engagement, Access, Treatment, Support
7. What can families do, to advocate for their loved ones to get best treatment? What should practitioners know, and do? What can families do? Educate yourself about clozapine and talk with your loved one’s psychiatrist.
Links and explanations:
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Dr. Laitman’s Book:
Psychiatrists were once referred to as Alienists - Psych. Today article
Deborah Levy was director of the Psychology Research Laboratory at McLean Hospital and an associate professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School,