trifluoperazine

Pronunciation

Generic Name: trifluoperazine (trye floo oh PER a zeen)
Brand Name: Stelazine

What is trifluoperazine?

Trifluoperazine is an anti-psychotic medication in a group of drugs called phenothiazines (FEEN-oh-THYE-a-zeens). It works by changing the actions of chemicals in your brain.

Trifluoperazine is used to treat anxiety or psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

Trifluoperazine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about trifluoperazine?

Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have twitching or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs. These could be early signs of dangerous side effects.

Trifluoperazine is not for use in psychotic conditions related to dementia. Trifluoperazine may cause heart failure, sudden death, or pneumonia in older adults with dementia-related conditions.

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Do not use trifluoperazine if you have liver disease, brain damage, bone marrow depression, a blood cell disorder (such as low platelets or low red or white blood cell counts), or if you are also using large amounts of alcohol or medicines that make you sleepy. Do not use if you are allergic to trifluoperazine or other phenothiazines.

Before you take trifluoperazine, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, and if you have ever had a serious side effect while using trifluoperazine or similar medicines. Also, tell your doctor about all other medications you use.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking oral trifluoperazine?

Trifluoperazine is not for use in psychotic conditions related to dementia. Trifluoperazine may cause heart failure, sudden death, or pneumonia in older adults with dementia-related conditions.

Do not use trifluoperazine if you have liver disease, brain damage, bone marrow depression, a blood cell disorder (such as low platelets or low red or white blood cell counts), or if you are also using large amounts of alcohol or medicines that make you sleepy. Do not use if you are allergic to trifluoperazine or other phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Permitil), perphenazine (Trilafon), prochlorperazine (Compazine, Compro), promethazine (Adgan, Pentazine, Phenergan), or thioridazine (Mellaril).

To make sure you can safely take trifluoperazine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • heart disease high blood pressure, or angina (chest pain);

  • severe asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problem;

  • glaucoma;

  • a history of seizures;

  • adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma);

  • Parkinson's disease;

  • enlarged prostate or urination problems;

  • low levels of calcium in your blood (hypocalcemia);

  • past or present breast cancer; or

  • if you are pregnant.

Tell your doctor if you will be exposed to extreme heat or cold, or to insecticide poisons while you are taking trifluoperazine.

Taking antipsychotic medication during the last 3 months of pregnancy may cause problems in the newborn, such as withdrawal symptoms, breathing problems, feeding problems, fussiness, tremors, and limp or stiff muscles. However, you may have withdrawal symptoms or other problems if you stop taking your medicine during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking trifluoperazine, do not stop taking it without your doctor's advice.

Trifluoperazine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Talk with your doctor before giving this medication to a child who has been ill with a fever or flu symptoms.

How should I take trifluoperazine?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while taking trifluoperazine.

If you need to have an x-ray or CT scan of your spinal column using a dye that is injected into a vein, you may need to temporarily stop taking trifluoperazine. Be sure the doctor knows ahead of time that you are using this medication.

Do not stop using trifluoperazine suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using trifluoperazine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Overdose symptoms may include dry mouth, constipation, bloating or stomach cramps, extreme drowsiness or feeling restless and agitated, changes in heart rate, fever, fainting, and seizure (convulsions).

What should I avoid while taking trifluoperazine?

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert. Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of trifluoperazine.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Trifluoperazine can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.

Trifluoperazine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using trifluoperazine and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • twitching or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs;

  • tremor (uncontrolled shaking), drooling, trouble swallowing, problems with balance or walking;

  • feeling restless, jittery, or agitated;

  • very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, feeling like you might pass out;

  • decreased night vision, tunnel vision, watery eyes, increased sensitivity to light;

  • seizure (black-out or convulsions);

  • nausea and stomach pain, skin rash, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • urinating less than usual or not at all;

  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, fever, sore throat, flu symptoms;

  • joint pain or swelling with fever, swollen glands, muscle aches, chest pain, vomiting, unusual thoughts or behavior, and patchy skin color; or

  • slow heart rate, weak pulse, fainting, slow breathing (breathing may stop).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness, anxiety, sleep problems (insomnia);

  • blurred vision, headache;

  • dry mouth, stuffy nose;

  • constipation;

  • breast swelling or discharge;

  • missed menstrual periods;

  • weight gain, swelling in your hands or feet; or

  • impotence, trouble having an orgasm.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Trifluoperazine dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Schizophrenia:

Oral:
Initial dose: 2 to 5 mg twice a day (small or emaciated patients should be started on the lower dosage).
Maintenance dose: 15 to 20 mg/day, occasionally up to 40 mg/day or more in some cases. Optimum therapeutic dosage levels should be reached within 2 or 3 weeks.

IM:
For patients requiring prompt control of severe symptoms:
1 to 2 mg (1/2 to 1 mL) by deep IM injection every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Dosages exceeding 6 mg/24 hours are rarely necessary, and only in very exceptional cases should the dosage exceed 10 mg/24 hours.

Injections should not be given at intervals of less than 4 hours because of a possible cumulative effect.

Usual Adult Dose for Anxiety:

For treatment of nonpsychotic anxiety:
1 or 2 mg orally twice daily, not to exceed 6 mg/day or for longer than 12 weeks.

Usual Geriatric Dose for Schizophrenia:

Oral:
Initial dose: 2 mg twice a day.
Maintenance dose: 15 mg/day.
Optimum therapeutic dosage levels should be reached within 2 or 3 weeks.

IM:
For patients requiring prompt control of severe symptoms:
1 mg (1/2 mL) by deep IM injection every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Injections should not be given at intervals of less than 4 hours because of a possible cumulative effect.

In general, dosages in the lower range are sufficient for most elderly patients. Since they appear to be more susceptible to hypotension and neuromuscular reactions, such patients should be observed closely.

Usual Geriatric Dose for Anxiety:

For treatment of nonpsychotic anxiety:
1 mg orally twice daily for no more than 12 weeks.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Schizophrenia:

6 to 12 years (patients who are hospitalized or under close supervision):

Oral:
Initial dose: 1 mg once or twice a day.
Dosage may be increased gradually until symptoms are controlled or until side effects become troublesome. While dosages exceeding 15 mg/day are generally not necessary, some older children with severe symptoms may require higher dosages.

IM:
There has been little experience with the use of trifluoperazine injection in children. However, if it is necessary to achieve rapid control of severe symptoms, 1 mg (1/2 mL) of the drug may be administered IM once or twice a day.

Dosage should be adjusted to the weight of the child and severity of the symptoms.

What other drugs will affect trifluoperazine?

Cold or allergy medicine, sedatives, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression or anxiety can interact with trifluoperazine and cause medical problems or increase side effects. Tell your doctor if you regularly use any of these medicines, or any other anti-psychotic medications.

Also tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • atropine (Atreza, Sal-Tropine);

  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid);

  • phenytoin (Dilantin);

  • an antibiotic;

  • birth control pills or hormone replacement estrogens;

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);

  • certain asthma medications or bronchodilators;

  • a diuretic (water pill);

  • drugs to treat high blood pressure or a prostate disorder, such as alfuzosin (Uroxatral), doxazosin (Cardura), prazosin (Minipress), terazosin (Hytrin), tamsulosin (Flomax);

  • incontinence medications;

  • insulin or diabetes medications you take by mouth;

  • medication for nausea, vomiting, or motion sickness;

  • medications to treat or prevent malaria;

  • medications used for general anesthesia;

  • medicines used to prevent organ transplant rejection;

  • numbing medicine such as lidocaine or Novocain;

  • a stimulant or ADHD medication;

  • ulcer or irritable bowel medications; or

  • medicines to treat Parkinson's disease, restless leg syndrome, or pituitary gland tumor (prolactinoma).

This list is not complete and there are many other drugs that can interact with trifluoperazine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about trifluoperazine.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 8.01. Revision Date: 2011-03-31, 1:04:58 PM.

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