New Liquid Version of Clozapine Available

Jazz Pharmaceuticals Announces U.S. Commercial Availability Of Versacloz™ (clozapine, USP) Oral Suspension

First liquid formulation clozapine for treatment-resistant schizophrenia

Feb. 11, 2014 – Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: JAZZ) today announced U.S. commercial availability of Versacloz™ (clozapine, USP) oral suspension, the first and only oral suspension clozapine for severely ill treatment-resistant schizophrenia patients or those at risk of recurrent suicidal behavior with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

“We are pleased to offer patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia a new liquid formulation of clozapine that is FDA approved to treat this difficult condition,” said Bruce C. Cozadd, chairman and CEO at Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc. “Versacloz is an important addition to our existing psychiatry product portfolio and offers physicians another treatment option to help patients with limited treatment options.”

Versacloz is an atypical antipsychotic indicated for the treatment of people with schizophrenia who have failed to respond adequately to other therapies.(1) Versacloz is also approved to reduce the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior in people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who are at chronic risk for re-experiencing suicidal behavior.(1) Versacloz has a unique, tasteless formulation and can be administered in an outpatient setting or under the supervision of a healthcare professional through an oral suspension. This formulation helps eliminate the mixing and matching of pill dosage strengths. In institutional settings, the formulation may help with confirmation of administration, and may reduce the possibility of “cheeking,” hiding, or sharing the medication.

Because of the risk of agranulocytosis with clozapine therapy, Versacloz will be available only through a restricted program called the Versacloz Patient Registry, which ensures appropriate monitoring of white blood cell and absolute neutrophil count prior to delivery of the next refill of medication.(1) As part of its ongoing commitment to the psychiatry community, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, through the Versacloz Patient Registry and experienced Clinical Compliance Liaisons, will provide blood monitoring and reporting support services not typically offered by generic clozapine manufacturers.

“In my experience, some treatment-resistant schizophrenia patients may cycle through four or five typical and atypical antipsychotic treatments while failing to maintain adequate symptom control,” said Gustavo Alva, MD, DFAPA, Medical Director at ATP Clinical Research. “When patients reach this stage, the next move matters – now with oral suspension Versacloz, we have another option to help patients.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Versacloz was based on general studies related to clozapine. Efficacy in treatment-resistant schizophrenia was established in a six-week active-controlled study in patients who had failed other antipsychotics. Efficacy in reducing recurrent suicidal behavior in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder was demonstrated over a two-year treatment period in the InterSePT™ trial. As part of the New Drug Application filing for Versacloz, the FDA required a post-approval usability study to determine a patient’s ability to self-administer the oral suspension.

Versacloz is distributed by Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc.


Versacloz is indicated for:

– Treatment-resistant schizophrenia in severely ill patients. Because of
the significant risk of agranulocytosis and seizure associated with its
use, Versacloz should be used only in patients who have failed to respond
adequately to standard antipsychotic treatment. Efficacy was established
in a 6-week, randomized, double-blind, active-controlled study comparing
clozapine and chlorpromazine in patients who had failed other

– Reduction in the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior in patients with
schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder at chronic risk for
re-experiencing suicidal behavior, based on history and recent clinical
state. Efficacy was demonstrated over a two-year treatment period in the
InterSePT™ trial.

Agranulocytosis: Clozapine has caused agranulocytosis, which can lead to
serious infection and death. Monitor white blood cell count (WBC) and absolute
neutrophil count (ANC) prior to and during treatment with VERSACLOZ. The ANC
must be >= 2000/mm3 and the WBC must be >= 3500/mm3 for a patient to begin
treatment. During treatment, discontinue and do not rechallenge if the ANC is
< 1000/mm3 or the WBC is < 2000/mm3. Advise patients to immediately report
symptoms consistent with agranulocytosis or infection (e.g., fever, weakness,
lethargy, or sore throat). Because of the risk of agranulocytosis, VERSACLOZ
is available only through a restricted program called the VERSACLOZ Patient
Registry. Prescribers, patients, and pharmacies must enroll in this restricted
program. Further information is available at or 1-877-329-2256. Orthostatic Hypotension,
Bradycardia, Syncope: Orthostatic hypotension, bradycardia, syncope, and
cardiac arrest have occurred with clozapine treatment. Highest risk is during
initial titration, particularly with rapid dose escalation and can occur with
the first dose (12.5 mg/day). Titrate slowly and use divided dosages. Use
VERSACLOZ cautiously in patients with cardiovascular/cerebrovascular disease
or conditions predisposing to hypotension (e.g., dehydration, use of
antihypertensive medications). Seizures: Seizures have occurred with clozapine
treatment. The risk is dose-related. Initiate treatment at 12.5 mg, titrate
gradually, and use divided dosing. Use cautiously in patients with a history
of seizures or predisposing risk factors (CNS pathology, medications that
lower the seizure threshold, alcohol abuse). Caution patients about engaging
in any activity where sudden loss of consciousness could cause serious risk to
themselves or others. Myocarditis and Cardiomyopathy: Fatal myocarditis and
cardiomyopathy have occurred with clozapine treatment. Discontinue and obtain
a cardiac evaluation upon suspicion of these reactions. Generally, patients
with VERSACLOZ-related myocarditis or cardiomyopathy should not be
rechallenged. Consider the possibility of myocarditis or cardiomyopathy if
chest pain, tachycardia, palpitations, dyspnea, fever, flu-like symptoms,
hypotension, or ECG changes occur. Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients
with Dementia-Related Psychosis: Elderly patients with dementia-related
psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of
death. VERSACLOZ is not approved for this condition.

– Contraindications include:1

      -- History of clozapine-induced agranulocytosis or severe 

      -- Known hypersensitivity to clozapine or any other component of 

– Eosinophilia has occurred, usually during the first month of treatment
with clozapine. In clinical trials, approximately 1% of patients
developed eosinophilia. Discontinue VERSACLOZ if organ involvement
(e.g., myocarditis, pancreatitis, hepatitis, colitis, nephritis) occurs.1

– QT interval prolongation, sometimes life-threatening, has occurred with
clozapine. Consider additional risk factors for prolonged QT interval
(disorders and drugs) including patient and family history, treatment
with other medications that cause QT prolongation or inhibit the
metabolism of VERSACLOZ and electrolyte abnormalities. Discontinue use
if the QTc interval exceeds 500 msec or if the patient experiences
symptoms consistent with Torsades de Pointes or other arrhythmias, (e.g.,
syncope, presyncope, dizziness, or palpitations).1

– Atypical antipsychotics, including clozapine have been associated with
metabolic changes, including:1

      -- Hyperglycemia and Diabetes Mellitus: Hyperglycemia, in some cases 
         extreme associated with ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar coma or 
         death, has been reported in patients treated with atypical 
         antipsychotics including clozapine.  Monitor for symptoms of 
         hyperglycemia including polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia, and 
         weakness.  Monitor glucose regularly in patients with or at risk 
         for diabetes. 

      -- Dyslipidemia: Undesirable alterations in lipids have occurred in 
         patients treated with atypical antipsychotics.  Baseline and 
         periodic follow-up lipid evaluations are recommended. 

      -- Weight Gain: Weight gain has occurred in clinical trials with 
         clozapine.  Monitor weight during treatment. 

– Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), a potentially fatal symptom complex,
has been reported with administration of antipsychotics, including
clozapine. Clinical manifestations include hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity,
altered mental status and autonomic instability. Additional signs may
include elevated creatine phosphokinase, myoglobinuria, rhabdomyolysis,
and acute renal failure. If NMS occurs, immediately discontinue
VERSACLOZ, manage with intensive symptomatic treatment, monitor closely,
and assess for comorbidities.1

– Patients have experienced transient, clozapine-related fever during
therapy, often within the first 3 weeks of treatment. Evaluate patients
with fever for agranulocytosis, infection, or NMS.1

– Consider pulmonary embolism (PE) if respiratory distress, chest pain, or
deep vein thrombosis occur.1

– CNS and peripheral anticholinergic toxicity can occur with VERSACLOZ.
Use cautiously in the presence of narrow-angle glaucoma, concomitant
anticholinergic drugs, prostatic hypertrophy, or other conditions in
which anticholinergic effects can lead to significant adverse reactions.1

– Advise caution when operating machinery, including automobiles. Consider
reducing the dose if cognitive or motor interference occurs.1

– Warnings and precautions also include the risk of tardive dyskinesia,
caution in patients with risk factors for cerebrovascular adverse
reactions and the need to monitor for recurrence of psychosis and
cholinergic rebound after abrupt discontinuation of VERSACLOZ.1

– Common adverse reactions (>5%) across clozapine clinical trials were: CNS
reactions, (sedation, dizziness/vertigo, headache, and tremor);
cardiovascular reactions (tachycardia, hypotension, and syncope);
autonomic nervous system reactions, (hypersalivation, sweating, dry mouth,
and visual disturbances); gastrointestinal reactions, (constipation and
nausea); and fever.1
Please click here to see the full Prescribing Information for important information about Versacloz, including BOXED Warning.

About Jazz Pharmaceuticals

Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc is a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on improving patients’ lives by identifying, developing and commercializing innovative products that address unmet medical needs. The company has a diverse portfolio of products in the areas of narcolepsy, hematology/oncology, pain and psychiatry. The company’s U.S. marketed products in these areas include: Xyrem® (sodium oxybate) oral solution, Erwinaze® (asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi), Prialt® (ziconotide) intrathecal infusion, Versacloz™ (clozapine, USP) oral suspensions, FazaClo® (clozapine, USP) HD and FazaClo LD. Jazz Pharmaceuticals also has a number of products marketed outside the U.S. and expects to launch Defitelio™ (defibrotide) in the European Union over the course of 2014. The company has product candidates in development in its sleep and hematology/oncology franchises. For further information, see

“Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements related to the therapeutic and commercial potential of Versacloz, the expected launch of Defitelio in the European Union and the timing thereof, and other statements that are not historical facts. These forward-looking statements are based on Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ current expectations and inherently involve significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties, which include, without limitation, risks and uncertainties associated with the possibility that the company may fail to realize the anticipated benefits from Versacloz; the company’s ability to successfully launch and commercialize Defitelio in a timely manner; the company’s ability to successfully manage the risks associated with integrating Defitelio and any other products or product candidates the company may acquire in the future into the company’s product portfolio; as well as risks related to future opportunities and plans; and those other risks detailed from time-to-time under the caption “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports (Commission File No. 001-33500), including the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2013 and future filings and reports by the company. Jazz Pharmaceuticals undertakes no duty or obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or changes in its expectations.


  1. Versacloz™ Prescribing Information. Palo Alto, CA. Jazz
    Pharmaceuticals. 2013.
    Versacloz is a trademark of Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc or its subsidiaries.

InterSePT is a trademark of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

SOURCE Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc
Web site:

I thought liquid meds were used to keep people from cheeking them? Doesn’t it defeat the purpose of taking a liquid form if the patient administers it himself?

I thought that liquid pills were for people who can’t swallow pills, but perhaps avoiding “cheeking” them is also a goal. But if a person administers it himself, how does that defeat the purpose? A person can’t just throw it on the ground :slight_smile: without people noticing.

Yeah, true. I was thinking that it would normally be administered by a nurse. I thought if the patient was doing it that it wouldn’t be in front of anyone.