From the Editor

“Despite its strong evidence base, clozapine remains grossly under-prescribed in clinical practice. Although reasons for this are multifaceted, a commonly cited influence is the need for mandatory haematological monitoring.” So notes Ebenezer Oloyede (of the University of Oxford) and his co-authors in a new British Journal of Psychiatry paper. Could the requirements be simplified? 

In the first selection, Oloyede et al. look at outcomes of 569 patients on clozapine when, during the pandemic, routine blood monitoring was changed. In this mirror-image cohort study, they find: “[E]xtending the haematological monitoring interval from 4-weekly to 12-weekly did not increase the incidence of life-threatening agranulocytosis in people taking clozapine.” We consider the paper and its implications.

In the second selection, Dr. Rachel H. B. Mitchell (of the University of Toronto) and her co-authors analyze Canadian data on suicide and sex differences. In this Canadian Journal of Psychiatry research article, they find that suicide rates among female adolescents aged 10 to 14 years surpassed similarly aged males in 2011. “The marked and consistent trend of rising suicide rates among adolescent females aged 10 to 14 years in Canada signals increased distress and/or maladaptive coping in this segment of the population.” 

And in the third selection, Alexander Smith (of the University of Bern) and his co-authors write about Vincent van Gogh. In an Editorial for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, they describe his mental health struggles but also their commercialization. “Vincent van Gogh’s ear has generated an intrinsic cultural currency. Yet, the psychiatric vulnerabilities encompassed by his act of self-harm are not always sensitively considered or acknowledged.”


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