Reduction in Absolute Neutrophil Counts in Patient on Clozapine Infected with COVID-19.
Ramli FF., Ali A., Syed Hashim SA., Kamisah Y., Ibrahim N.
Despite its severe adverse effects, such as agranulocytosis, clozapine is the primary treatment for treatment-resistant schizophrenia. The established clozapine monitoring system has contributed to reducing agranulocytosis incidence and mortality rates. However, the pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused changes in the monitoring system. This review aimed to assess the current evidence on the neutrophil changes in the patient on clozapine treatment and infected with COVID-19. Individual cases reported various absolute neutrophil count (ANC) levels, normal, reduced, or elevated. No agranulocytosis case was reported. One case had a borderline moderate-severe ANC level, but the patient was in the 18-week period of clozapine treatment. A cumulative analysis of case the series initially reported inconclusive results. However, a more recent study with a larger sample size reported a significant reduction in the ANC during COVID-19 infection. Nevertheless, this effect is transient as no significant difference was found between the baseline and the post-infection period in ANC levels. In conclusion, COVID-19 is associated with a temporary reduction in ANC levels. The results supported the recommendation to reduce the frequency of clozapine monitoring in the eligible candidates. However, more data are required to confirm the current findings given the limitations, including study design, sample size, and statistical analysis.