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All about: chlorpromazine

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Generic Name: chlorpromazine (klor PROE ma zeen)
Brand Names: Thorazine

What is chlorpromazine?

Chlorpromazine is in a class of drugs called phenothiazines. It works by changing the actions of chemicals in your brain.

Chlorpromazine is used to treat psychotic disorders, nausea and vomiting, chronic hiccups, and acute intermittent porphyria.

Chlorpromazine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

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

Call your doctor immediately if you have uncontrollable movements of the mouth, tongue, cheeks, jaw, arms, or legs. Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Chlorpromazine may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities.

Dizziness may be more likely to occur when you rise from a sitting or lying position. Rise slowly to prevent dizziness and a possible fall.

Use alcohol cautiously. Alcohol may increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking chlorpromazine. Do not crush or chew the sustained-release formulations of chlorpromazine. Swallow them whole. They are specially formulated to release slowly in your body. If you do not know if your medication is a sustained-release formulation, ask your pharmacist.

Who should not take chlorpromazine?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have

  • a bone marrow disease,

  • glaucoma,

  • seizures,

  • Parkinson's disease,

  • an enlarged prostate or difficulty urinating,

  • liver disease, or
  • kidney disease.

You may not be able to take chlorpromazine, or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring if you have any of the conditions listed above.

It is not known whether chlorpromazine will harm an unborn baby. Do not take chlorpromazine without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant. Chlorpromazine passes into breast milk and may affect a nursing baby. Do not take chlorpromazine without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. If you are over 60 years of age, you may be more likely to experience side effects from chlorpromazine. You may require a lower dose of this medication.

How should I take chlorpromazine?

Take chlorpromazine exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose with a full glass (8 ounces) of water.

Chlorpromazine can be taken with or without food or milk.

Do not crush or chew the sustained-release formulations of chlorpromazine. Swallow them whole. They are specially formulated to release slowly in your body. If you do not know if your medication is a sustained-release formulation, ask your pharmacist.

Mix the concentrate with 2 to 4 ounces of water, soda, juice, coffee, tea, syrup, milk, or a semisolid food such as applesauce or pudding.

Do not stop taking chlorpromazine without the approval of your doctor. It may be several weeks before you begin to feel better, and you may require continuous treatment for quite some time. Talk to your doctor before you stop taking this medication.

Throw away any discolored liquid.

Store chlorpromazine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If you take one dose of chlorpromazine a day, take the missed dose as soon as you remember, then go back to your regular schedule the next day. If you do not remember until it is time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take only your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.

If you are taking chlorpromazine on a regular schedule several times a day, take the missed dose within 1 hour of its regular time. If more than 1 hour has passed, skip the missed dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.

If you are taking chlorpromazine as needed for nausea and vomiting, take the missed dose as soon as possible if needed, then wait at least 4 hours before taking another dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a chlorpromazine overdose include uncontrollable movements, agitation, seizures, severe dizziness or fainting, coma, very deep sleep, irregular heartbeats, and high or low body temperature.

What should I avoid while taking chlorpromazine?

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Chlorpromazine may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities.

Dizziness may be more likely to occur when you rise from a sitting or lying position. Rise slowly to prevent dizziness and a possible fall.

Use alcohol cautiously. Alcohol may increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking chlorpromazine. Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight. Chlorpromazine may increase the sensitivity of your skin to sunlight. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when sun exposure is unavoidable.

Chlorpromazine side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking chlorpromazine and seek emergency medical treatment:
  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);

  • uncontrollable movements of the tongue, face, lips, arms, or legs;

  • muscle spasms of the face or neck;

  • severe restlessness or tremor;

  • severe drowsiness or fainting;

  • a rash; or

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take chlorpromazine and talk to your doctor if you experience:

  • decreased sweating;

  • dry mouth or stuffy nose

  • constipation;

  • blurred vision

  • mild restlessness, drowsiness, or tremor;

  • difficult urination or dark urine;

  • decreased sex drive;

  • dizziness;

  • increased appetite; or

  • menstrual irregularities or swollen breasts.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect chlorpromazine?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following drugs:

  • antacids. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking a dose of chlorpromazine. They will decrease the effectiveness of chlorpromazine.
  • alcohol; over-the-counter cough, cold, or allergy medications; sleep aids; antidepressants; muscle relaxants; barbiturates; and seizure medications. All of these medications will increase the side of effects of chlorpromazine-- especially drowsiness and dizziness.

  • blood pressure medications such as propranolol (Inderal), methyldopa (Aldomet), and clonidine (Catapres). These drugs may cause dizziness and fainting if used with chlorpromazine.

  • anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin). Chlorpromazine may decrease the effectiveness of these medications, and blood clotting could result.

  • phenytoin (Dilantin). Chlorpromazine may increase the effectiveness of phenytoin and cause side effects. You may need smaller doses of phenytoin.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with chlorpromazine. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about chlorpromazine written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Chlorpromazine is available with a prescription under the brand name Thorazine. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Thorazine 10 mg--round, brown, film-coated tablets

  • Thorazine 25 mg--round, brown, film-coated tablets

  • Thorazine 50 mg--round, brown, film-coated tablets

  • Thorazine 100 mg--round, brown, film-coated tablets

  • Thorazine 200 mg--round, brown, film-coated tablets

  • Thorazine Spansule 30 mg--orange/clear capsules

  • Thorazine Spansule 75 mg--orange/clear capsules

  • Thorazine Spansule 150 mg--orange/clear capsules

  • Thorazine Syrup 10 mg/5 mL--clear, orange, custard-flavored liquid

  • Thorazine Concentrate 30 mg/1 mL--clear, custard-flavored liquid

  • Thorazine Concentrate 100 mg/1 mL--clear, custard-flavored liquid

  • 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.
  • 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 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.04. Revision Date: 2/13/04 3:57:56 PM.

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