magna labs

Magna Labs is proud to announce to have cooperated in an interesting genome-wide association study to discover genetic markers of clozapine plasma concentrations, recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Magna Labs has contributed to this research by performing anonymised clozapine assays to determine clozapine levels. The study has shown that genetic variants exist that have a major effect on clozapine metabolism.

Am J Psychiatry. 2019 Jun 1;176(6):477-486. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.18050589. Epub 2019 Mar 29.

Pharmacogenomic Variants and Drug Interactions Identified Through the Genetic Analysis of Clozapine Metabolism.

Pardiñas AF1Nalmpanti M1Pocklington AJ1Legge SE1Medway C1King A1Jansen J1Helthuis M1Zammit S1MacCabe J1Owen MJ1O’Donovan MC1Walters JTR1.



Clozapine is the only effective medication for treatment-resistant schizophrenia, but its worldwide use is still limited because of its complex titration protocols. While the discovery of pharmacogenomic variants of clozapine metabolism may improve clinical management, no robust findings have yet been reported. This study is the first to adopt the framework of genome-wide association studies (GWASs) to discover genetic markers of clozapine plasma concentrations in a large sample of patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia.


The authors used mixed-model regression to combine data from multiple assays of clozapine metabolite plasma concentrations from a clozapine monitoring service and carried out a genome-wide analysis of clozapine, norclozapine, and their ratio on 10,353 assays from 2,989 individuals. These analyses were adjusted for demographic factors known to influence clozapine metabolism, although it was not possible to adjust for all potential mediators given the available data. GWAS results were used to pinpoint specific enzymes and metabolic pathways and compounds that might interact with clozapine pharmacokinetics.


The authors identified four distinct genome-wide significant loci that harbor common variants affecting the metabolism of clozapine or its metabolites. Detailed examination pointed to coding and regulatory variants at several CYP* and UGT* genes as well as corroborative evidence for interactions between the metabolism of clozapine, coffee, and tobacco. Individual effects of single single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) fine-mapped from these loci were large, such as the minor allele of rs2472297, which was associated with a reduction in clozapine concentrations roughly equivalent to a decrease of 50 mg/day in clozapine dosage. On their own, these single SNPs explained from 1.15% to 9.48% of the variance in the plasma concentration data.


Common genetic variants with large effects on clozapine metabolism exist and can be found via genome-wide approaches. Their identification opens the way for clinical studies assessing the use of pharmacogenomics in the clinical management of patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia.