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Trifluoperazine

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

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Apr 24, 2020 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is trifluoperazine?

Trifluoperazine is a phenothiazine (FEEN-oh-THYE-a-zeen) antipsychotic medicine that is used to treat anxiety or schizophrenia.

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

Important Information

You should not use trifluoperazine if you have bone marrow suppression, liver disease, a blood cell disorder, or if you have drowsiness, slow breathing, weak pulse, or decreased alertness (such as after drinking alcohol or taking medicines that make you sleepy).

Trifluoperazine is not approved for use in older adults with dementia-related psychosis.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use trifluoperazine if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • bone marrow suppression;

  • liver disease;

  • a blood cell disorder such as anemia, low white blood cell counts, or low platelets; or

  • drowsiness, slow breathing, weak pulse, or decreased alertness (such as after drinking alcohol or taking medicines that make you sleepy).

Trifluoperazine may increase the risk of death in older adults with dementia-related psychosis and is not approved for this use.

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 trifluoperazine.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you become pregnant. Taking antipsychotic medicine in the last 3 months of pregnancy may cause breathing problems, feeding problems, or withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.

You should not breastfeed while using trifluoperazine.

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

How should I take trifluoperazine?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

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

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

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

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, extreme drowsiness or feeling restless and agitated, changes in heart rate, fainting, and seizure (convulsions).

What should I avoid while taking trifluoperazine?

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how trifluoperazine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.

Avoid drinking alcohol.

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 signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

High doses or long-term use of trifluoperazine can cause a serious movement disorder that may not be reversible. The longer you use trifluoperazine, the more likely you are to develop this disorder, especially if you are a woman or an older adult.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

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

  • stiffness in your neck, tightness in your throat, trouble breathing or swallowing;

  • feeling restless, jittery, or agitated;

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

  • seizure (black-out or convulsions);

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • low blood cell counts--fever, chills, mouth sores, skin sores, sore throat, cough, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, trouble breathing; or

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

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness;

  • blurred vision;

  • dry mouth, loss of appetite;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • muscle weakness;

  • itching or rash;

  • missed menstrual periods; or

  • breast swelling or discharge.

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.

Trifluoperazine dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Schizophrenia:

Initial dose: 2 to 5 mg orally 2 times a day
Maintenance dose: 15 to 20 mg/day
Maximum dose: 40 mg/day

Comment:
-Most patients should reach therapeutic levels in 2 to 3 weeks.

Use: Management of schizophrenia

Usual Adult Dose for Anxiety:

Recommended dose: 1 to 2 mg orally 2 times a day
Maximum dose: 6 mg/day
Duration of therapy: Up to 12 weeks

Comment:
-The lowest effective dosage should be used for the shortest duration of time.

Use: Treatment of non-psychotic anxiety

Usual Geriatric Dose for Schizophrenia:

Initial dose: 2 mg orally 2 times a day
Maintenance dose: 15 to 20 mg/day
Maximum dose: 40 mg/day

Comment:
-Most patients should reach therapeutic levels in 2 to 3 weeks

Use: Management of schizophrenia

Usual Geriatric Dose for Anxiety:

Initial dose: 1 mg orally 2 times a day
Maximum dose: 6 mg/day
Duration of therapy: Up to 12 weeks

Comments:
-Due to the long half-life of this drug, this drug may be given as a once a day dose.
-The lowest effective dosage should be used for the shortest duration of time.

Use: Treatment of non-psychotic anxiety

Usual Pediatric Dose for Schizophrenia:

6 to 12 years:
-Initial dose: 1 mg once a day OR 2 times a day
-Maintenance dose: 1 to 15 mg/day

12 years and older:
-Initial dose: 2 to 5 mg orally 2 times a day
-Maintenance dose: 15 to 20 mg/day
-Maximum dose: 40 mg/day

Comments:
-Pediatric patients should be closely monitored or hospitalized.
-Dosing should be determined by symptom severity and the weight of the child. Patients may undergo gradual dose titration until symptoms are controlled or side effects become intolerable.
-Older patients with severe schizophrenia may require doses greater than 15 mg/day to manage their symptoms.
-Most patients should reach therapeutic levels in 2 to 3 weeks.

Use: Management of schizophrenia

What other drugs will affect trifluoperazine?

Taking trifluoperazine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects or death. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.

Many drugs can affect trifluoperazine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

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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