Clozapine is an effective antipsychotic for treatment-resistant schizophrenia. One limitation of clozapine use is required monitoring of absolute neutrophil count (ANC) because of the risk of clozapine-induced neutropenia. Standard monitoring requires venous blood draws, which is a significant barrier to clozapine use.
This study assesses the feasibility of use and physician and patient satisfaction of a novel point-of-care (POC) measure of ANC using Athelas One, a device that calculates white blood cell count and ANC using a fingerstick blood sample. This is a subanalysis of a prospective, open-label clinical trial of clozapine treatment, during which patients received a venous blood draw and a capillary fingerstick at baseline and Week 2 of the study, and completed a 5-point Likert scale, comparing the 2 methods.
Patients reported benefits from the fingerstick technology, including POC testing being important for their doctors and their health, improved treatment, avoiding sending blood away, and convenience. There was a trend for less concern about the effects of blood draws on health with a fingerstick, and greater physician satisfaction with POC sampling.
This study suggests the feasibility, satisfaction, and ease by both clinicians and patients of using POC testing for ANC monitoring during clozapine treatment.