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STUDY SHOWS USE OF BREAKTHROUGH DRUG REDUCES COSTLY HOSPITALIZATIONS

 AUSTIN, Texas, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- A study by the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (TXMHMR) concluded that the use of clozapine, an atypical antipsychotic drug also known by the trade name CLOZARIL(R), significantly decreases the number of days patients with chronic schizophrenia spend in state hospitals.
 The study was conducted by TXMHMR Medical Director, William Reid, M.D., and agency researcher Mark Mason, M.S. The results were presented by Dr. Reid at the third annual CLOZARIL Forum during the American Psychiatric Association convention May 27, in San Francisco.
 "The study has shown to my satisfaction that clozapine decreases the number of days patients spend in state hospitals," said Dr. Reid, chairman of the National Clozapine Task Force. "Our research found that 49 patients who have been on clozapine for two years spent 6,796 fewer days in the hospital than during the year before they started clozapine therapy," reported Dr. Reid. For 86 patients who have been on clozapine one and one half years, a reduction of 8,222 expected bed-days was reported.
 The study is particularly significant because most chronic schizophrenia patients are dependent on the public sector for financial assistance. Many have either exhausted their insurance benefits or are unable to work because of their mental illness.
 Dr. Reid reported that the sate of Texas spends more than $85,000 for a full year on hospitalization for a patient with chronic schizophrenia. The cost of clozapine is $5,300 to $9,000 per year, if administered in a community setting. A significant portion of the drug's cost is due to the weekly blood monitoring that must be done to ensure that patients do not develop agranulocytosis. Agranulocytosis, a potentially fatal blood disorder, is a side effect that occurs in about one percent of clozapine patients. The fatal complications from this blood disorder are significantly reduced by regular monitoring.
 Reid said scientific and statistical tests were run on the study data, showing the results are valid for the larger population of all individuals with schizophrenia. "The TXMHMR system has roughly 1,600 state hospital inpatients who might benefit from a trial of clozapine. About 400 inpatients are currently taking the drug. More than 48,000 patients with schizophrenia, who are living in communities and regularly drifting in and out of hospitals, might also benefit from clozapine therapy in Texas," explained Reid.
 Clozapine, the first breakthrough therapy for schizophrenia patients in 40 years, has proven very effective in treating individuals with schizophrenia, who have not responded well to other antipsychotic drugs. Patients report that they feel better physically on clozapine than they do on other antipsychotic drugs, which can cause severe involuntary muscle movement.
 According to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, schizophrenia is the most common and disabling of the serious mental illnesses, afflicting one in every one hundred people during his or her lifetime, with onset generally in the late teens or early 20's.
 New Study Documents Cost-Effectiveness of CLOZARIL
 A new study conducted by the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (TXMHMR) concluded that the drug CLOZARIL(R) (clozapine) significantly reduced the number of days chronic schizophrenia patients spent in the hospital. The study has been submitted for peer review and is pending fall publication. Among the study findings:
 -- A total of 8,222 expected bed-days were "saved" by 86 patients, who have been on CLOZARIL for one and one half years.
 -- CLOZARIL decreased and sometimes virtually eliminated many of the serious clinical and social problems associated with chronic schizophrenia, including family costs, patient mortality, and costs related to suicide.
 -- It costs Texas taxpayers more than $85,000 annually to hospitalize a patient with chronic schizophrenia, while CLOZARIL and associated monitoring costs between $5,300 and $9,000 per patient, per year.
 -- There is a potential Texas population of 1,600 inpatients and more than 48,000 outpatients with schizophrenia who might benefit from this drug therapy, yet only 400 of the state's inpatients are currently receiving CLOZARIL.
 -0- 6/22/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Abstract available upon request./
 /CONTACT: Sheila Allee of Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, 512-465-4540, or Jerri Ann Yznaga of Rowland Company, 212-527-8884, for Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation/


CO: Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation ST: Texas IN: MTC SU:

TM-LD -- NY003 -- 4355 06/22/93 08:01 EDT
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Date:Jun 22, 1993
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