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Prochlorperazine

Generic Name: prochlorperazine (oral) (pro klor PER a zeen)
Brand Name: Compazine

Medically reviewed on August 2, 2017

What is prochlorperazine?

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

Prochlorperazine oral (taken by mouth) is used to treat psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. It is also used to treat anxiety, and to control severe nausea and vomiting.

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

Important Information

You should not use prochlorperazine if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or narcotic medications.

Prochlorperazine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 2 years old or weighing less than 20 pounds. Do not give prochlorperazine to a child before or after a surgery.

Prochlorperazine is not approved for use in psychotic conditions related to dementia. Prochlorperazine may increase the risk of death in older adults with dementia-related conditions.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use prochlorperazine if you are allergic to it, or if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or narcotic medications.

Prochlorperazine is not approved for use in psychotic conditions related to dementia. Prochlorperazine may increase the risk of death in older adults with dementia-related conditions.

Prochlorperazine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 2 years old or weighing less than 20 pounds. Talk with your doctor before giving prochlorperazine to a child or teenager with a fever, flu symptoms, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Do not give this medicine to a child before or after a surgery.

Long-term use of prochlorperazine can cause a serious movement disorder that may not be reversible. The longer you take prochlorperazine, the more likely you are to develop this movement disorder. The risk of this side effect is higher in women and older adults.

To make sure prochlorperazine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

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

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

Taking antipsychotic medicine in 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, do not stop taking prochlorperazine without your doctor's advice.

Prochlorperazine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take prochlorperazine?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use prochlorperazine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

If you take prochlorperazine long-term, you may need frequent medical tests.

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 can cause severe drowsiness, irregular heartbeats, agitation, seizure, or fainting.

What should I avoid while taking prochlorperazine?

Drinking alcohol with prochlorperazine can cause side effects.

This medication may cause drowsiness or blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly. 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.

Prochlorperazine side effects

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

Stop taking prochlorperazine and call your doctor at once if you have any of these signs of a serious movement disorder:

  • tremors or shaking in your arms or legs;

  • uncontrolled muscle movements in your face (chewing, lip smacking, frowning, tongue movement, blinking or eye movement); or

  • any new or unusual muscle movements you cannot control.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • little or no urinating;

  • trouble swallowing, stiffness or muscle spasms in your neck;

  • feeling restless, jittery, or agitated;

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • fast or slow heart rate;

  • low white blood cell counts--sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, sore throat, swollen gums, mouth sores, pain when swallowing, skin sores, cough, trouble breathing;

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

  • severe nervous system reaction--very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out.

Side effects such as painful or difficult urination, constipation, and confusion may be more likely in older adults.

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness;

  • blurred vision;

  • itching or rash;

  • missed menstrual periods; or

  • sleep problems (insomnia).

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)

What other drugs will affect prochlorperazine?

Taking prochlorperazine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects or death. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, opioid pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Many drugs can interact with prochlorperazine. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

This list is not complete and many other drugs can interact with prochlorperazine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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