Generic Name: chlorpromazine (klor-PROE-ma-zeen)
Brand Name: Thorazine
Chlorpromazine is an antipsychotic. It may increase the risk of death when used to treat mental problems caused by dementia in elderly patients. Most of the deaths were linked to heart problems or infection. Chlorpromazine is not approved to treat mental problems caused by dementia. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
Chlorpromazine is used for:
Treating certain mental or mood disorders (eg, schizophrenia), the manic phase of manic-depressive disorder, anxiety and restlessness before surgery, the blood disease porphyria, severe behavioral and conduct disorders in children, nausea and vomiting, and severe hiccups. It is also used with other medicines to treat symptoms associated with tetanus. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Chlorpromazine is a phenothiazine. The exact way chlorpromazine works is not known.
Do NOT use chlorpromazine if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in chlorpromazine or to other phenothiazines (eg, thioridazine)
- you have severe drowsiness
- you have recently taken large amounts of alcohol or medicines that may cause drowsiness, such as barbiturates (eg, phenobarbital) or narcotic pain medicines (eg, codeine)
- you are also taking amiodarone, bretylium, astemizole, cabergoline, cisapride, dofetilide, metoclopramide, pergolide, quinidine, sotalol, terfenadine, or tramadol
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using chlorpromazine:
Some medical conditions may interact with chlorpromazine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have developed severe side effects (eg, blood problems, yellowing of the skin or eyes) while taking another phenothiazine (eg, thioridazine)
- if you have a history of heart problems (eg, angina, mitral valve problems), high or low blood pressure, blood problems (eg, anemia), bone marrow problems (eg, low white blood cell count), diabetes, liver problems (eg, cirrhosis), kidney problems, neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), tardive dyskinesia (TD), an enlarged prostate gland, seizures, trouble urinating, mental or mood problems (eg, depression), or an adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma)
- if you have asthma, a lung infection, or other lung or breathing problems (eg, emphysema); or increased pressure in the eyes or glaucoma, or if you are at risk of glaucoma
- if you have Alzheimer disease, dementia, Parkinson disease, or Reye syndrome
- if you have had high blood prolactin levels or a history of certain types of cancer (eg, breast, pancreas, pituitary, brain), or if you are at risk of breast cancer
- if you are in poor health or are regularly exposed to extreme heat or certain insecticides (organophosphorus insecticides)
- if you have a history of alcohol abuse, drink alcohol, or are in alcohol withdrawal
- if you will be having or have recently had a myelogram (x-ray of the spinal cord)
- if you take any medicine that may increase the risk of a certain type of irregular heartbeat (prolonged QT interval). Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure if any of your medicines may increase the risk of this type of irregular heartbeat
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with chlorpromazine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Many prescription and nonprescription medicines (eg, used for allergies, blood clotting problems, cancer, infections, inflammation, aches and pains, heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, irregular heartbeat, mental or mood problems, nausea or vomiting, Parkinson disease, seizures, stomach or bowel problems, overactive bladder), multivitamin products, and herbal or dietary supplements (eg, herbal teas, coenzyme Q10, garlic, ginseng, gingko, St. John's wort) may interact with chlorpromazine. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines may interact with chlorpromazine.
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if chlorpromazine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use chlorpromazine:
Use chlorpromazine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Chlorpromazine is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using chlorpromazine at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use chlorpromazine. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
- Do not use chlorpromazine if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
- Chlorpromazine may irritate skin. Avoid contact with skin or clothing. Wear rubber gloves while using chlorpromazine.
- Do not suddenly stop taking chlorpromazine.
- Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
- If you miss a dose of chlorpromazine and you are using it regularly, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use chlorpromazine.
Important safety information:
- Chlorpromazine may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use chlorpromazine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Chlorpromazine may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
- Do NOT take more than the recommended dose without checking with your doctor.
- Do not drink alcohol while you are using chlorpromazine.
- Check with your doctor before you use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using chlorpromazine; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take chlorpromazine before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Do not become overheated in hot weather or while you are being active; heatstroke may occur.
- Some of these products contain sulfites. Sulfites may cause an allergic reaction in some patients (eg, asthma patients). If you have ever had an allergic reaction to sulfites, ask your pharmacist if your product has sulfites in it.
- Chlorpromazine may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to chlorpromazine. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
- Chlorpromazine may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
- Some patients who take chlorpromazine may develop muscle movements that they cannot control. This is more likely to happen in elderly patients, especially women. The chance that this will happen or that it will become permanent is greater in those who take chlorpromazine in higher doses or for a long time. Muscle problems may also occur after short-term treatment with low doses. Tell your doctor at once if you have muscle problems with your arms; legs; or your tongue, face, mouth, or jaw (eg, tongue sticking out, puffing of cheeks, mouth puckering, chewing movements) while taking chlorpromazine.
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a possibly fatal syndrome that can be caused by chlorpromazine. Symptoms may include fever; stiff muscles; confusion; abnormal thinking; fast or irregular heartbeat; and sweating. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms.
- Chlorpromazine may increase the amount of a certain hormone (prolactin) in your blood. Symptoms may include enlarged breasts, missed menstrual period, decreased sexual ability, or nipple discharge. Contact your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms.
- Chlorpromazine may raise or lower your blood sugar. High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. Low blood sugar may make you anxious, sweaty, weak, dizzy, drowsy, or faint. It may also make your vision change; give you a headache, chills, or tremors; or make you more hungry. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
- Diabetes patients - Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
- Chlorpromazine may cause the results of some pregnancy tests to be wrong. Check with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your pregnancy test results.
- Chlorpromazine may interfere with certain lab tests, including phenylketonuria (PKU) tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking chlorpromazine.
- Lab tests, including liver and kidney function tests, complete blood cell counts, and eye exams, may be performed while you use chlorpromazine. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use chlorpromazine with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially confusion; dizziness or light-headedness, especially upon standing; drowsiness; fainting; trouble urinating; uncontrolled muscle movements; and constipation.
- Chlorpromazine should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 6 months old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using chlorpromazine while you are pregnant. Using chlorpromazine during the third trimester may result in uncontrolled muscle movements or withdrawal symptoms in the newborn. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor. Chlorpromazine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while using chlorpromazine.
If you stop taking chlorpromazine suddenly and you have been taking it regularly or in high doses, you may have WITHDRAWAL symptoms. These may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, stomach upset, and tremors.
Possible side effects of chlorpromazine:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Agitation; constipation; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; enlarged pupils; jitteriness; nausea; stuffy nose.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest or throat; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness; wheezing); chest pain; confusion; decreased coordination; drooling; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; mask-like face; muscle spasms of the face, neck, or back; muscle weakness; new or worsening mental or mood problems; numbness of an arm or leg; prolonged or painful erection; restlessness; seizures; severe or persistent constipation; severe or persistent dizziness, drowsiness, or headache; shuffling walk; sleeplessness; stiff or rigid muscles; sudden shortness of breath or vomiting; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; symptoms of infection (eg, fever, chills, persistent sore throat); symptoms of liver problems (eg, yellowing of the skin or eyes; dark urine; pale stools; severe or persistent nausea, stomach pain, or loss of appetite); tremor; trouble urinating; twisting or twitching movements; uncontrolled muscle movements (eg, twitching of the face or tongue; loss of balance; uncontrolled movements of arms or legs; trouble speaking, breathing, or swallowing); unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual eye movements or inability to move eyes; unusual or excessive sweating; unusual tiredness or weakness; unusually pale skin; vision changes (eg, blurred vision).
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include agitation; coma; confusion; difficulty breathing; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; loss of consciousness; muscle spasms or uncontrolled muscle movements; restlessness; seizures; severe constipation or stomach pain; severe drowsiness or dizziness; tremors; trouble urinating.Proper storage of chlorpromazine:
Store chlorpromazine at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep chlorpromazine out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about chlorpromazine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Chlorpromazine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take chlorpromazine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about chlorpromazine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to chlorpromazine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using chlorpromazine.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
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- Drug class: phenothiazine antiemetics
- Chlorpromazine concentrate
- Chlorpromazine suppositories
- Chlorpromazine syrup
- Chlorpromazine tablets
Other brands: Thorazine