Chlorpromazine (patient information)
Why this medication is prescribed
Chlorpromazine is used to treat psychotic disorders and symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and hostility. It also is used to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting, to treat behavior problems in children, and to relieve severe hiccups.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How this medication should be used
Chlorpromazine comes as a tablet, extended-release (long-acting) capsule, oral liquid (syrup and concentrate), and rectal suppository. Chlorpromazine usually is taken two to four times a day. For nausea and vomiting, it is taken every 4-6 hours (by mouth) or every 6-8 hours (rectally) as needed. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take chlorpromazine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Although chlorpromazine is not habit-forming, do not stop taking it abruptly, especially if you have been taking it for a long time. Your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually.
Do not open extended-release capsules; swallow them whole.
Do not allow the liquid to touch your skin or clothing; it can cause skin irritation. Dilute the concentrate in water, milk, soft drink, coffee, tea, tomato or fruit juice, soup, or pudding just before taking it.
If you are to insert a rectal suppository, follow these steps:
- If the suppository feels soft, hold it under cold, running water for 1 minute. Then remove the wrapper.
- Dip the tip of the suppository in water.
- Lie down on your left side and raise your right knee to your chest. (A left-handed person should lie on the right side and raise the left knee.)
- Using your finger, insert the suppository into the rectum, about 1/2 to 1 inch in children and 1 inch in adults. Hold the suppository in place for a few moments.
- Stand up after about 15 minutes. Wash your hands thoroughly and resume your normal activities.
Before taking chlorpromazine:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to chlorpromazine, any other tranquilizer, or any other drugs, or have had a bad reaction to insulin.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially antihistamines; lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid); medications for depression, Parkinson's disease, seizures, hay fever, allergies, or colds; muscle relaxants; narcotics (pain medication); sedatives; sleeping pills; and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart, liver, lung, or kidney disease; shock therapy; glaucoma; an enlarged prostate; difficulty urinating; asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis; or seizures.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking chlorpromazine, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking chlorpromazine.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.
- plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Chlorpromazine may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.
What to do if you forget a dose
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Minor side effects
Chlorpromazine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if either of these symptoms is severe or does not go away:
- dry mouth
Severe side effects
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- skin discoloration (yellowish-brown to greyish-purple)
- jaw, neck, and back muscle spasms
- fine worm-like tongue movements
- rhythmic face, mouth, or jaw movements
- slow or difficult speech
- difficulty swallowing
- shuffling walk
- skin rash
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Storage conditions needed for this medication
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
- Chlorpromazine Hydrochloride Intensol®
- Thorazine® Spansule®
- Thorazine® Syrup
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