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Article   |    
Clozapine Use by State Programs: Public Mental Health Systems Respond to a New Medication
William H. Reid; Vanessa A. Pham; William Rago
Psychiatric Services 1993; doi:
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National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors; Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, P. O. Box 12668, Austin, Texas 78711

National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors in Washington, D. C.

Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation in Austin

1993 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The authors present data from a national survey of state departments of mental health showing that two years after reaching the U. S. market, clozapine is available to only a small fraction of the patients whom it might benefit. The primary continuing burdle for the public sector, where most schizophrenic patients get their care, is funding. Several arguments support the use of clozapine in state mental health systems: it is the most effective or only effective medication for many patients, it can decrease the enormous costs of schizophrenia and related disorders, and access to the medication has become an important issue for advocacy groups and other mental health activists. Two years of experience with clozapine in the Texas mental health system have shown that availability of clozapine in the community is a vitalfactor for successful use oftbe drug in hospitals. The authors discuss ways to encourage outpatient clozapine programs that are critical to successful treatment in both the hospital and the community.

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