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To investigate the percentage of patients who commenced smoking after transferring out of a non-smoking forensic psychiatric unit, the corresponding clozapine dose adjustments, the effects on plasma clozapine/norclozapine concentrations and observed changes in mental state. We reviewed the notes and plasma clozapine/norclozapine concentrations of 46 patients transferred to medium secure units between July 2008 and December 2013.
Thirty-five patients commenced smoking. Their median clozapine dose was increased by 50 mg/d. In the non-smokers, the median clozapine dose remained unchanged. Plasma clozapine/norclozapine concentrations were significantly reduced in smokers despite dosage adjustment. Eighteen patients experienced deterioration in mental state after transfer; almost all these patients were smokers.
Approximately three-quarters of patients who were non-smokers by virtue of being in a secure non-smoking environment commenced smoking after transfer. Monitoring of clozapine serum levels and assessment of mental state in the immediate period after a change in smoking status is indicated.
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