Thorazine (Chlorpromazine Hydrochloride)
Thorazine (chlorpromazine) Dosage and Side Effects
THORAZINE is used to treat certain mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, the manic phase of bipolar disorder, severe behavioral problems in kids, and other psychotic disorders. The medicine can also be used to treat nausea, vomiting, nervousness before surgery, acute intermittent porphyria (a condition that causes natural substances to build up in the body and may cause pain and changes in behavior), and tetanus.
Warnings and Precautions
Older adults with dementia who take THORAZINE are at an increased risk for developing life-threatening conditions such as heart failure, a fast/irregular heartbeat, and pneumonia. The drug is not approved for use in older adults with dementia.
It may take several weeks before you feel the full benefits of THORAZINE. You shouldn't stop taking this drug without first talking to your doctor.
You should stop taking THORAZINE immediately if you experience twitching or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs. These could be signs of dangerous side effects.
Before taking THORAZINE, you should tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:
- Emphysema, asthma, or a lung or bronchial tube infection
- Glaucoma (an eye condition that causes increased pressure)
- Breast cancer
- An abnormal electroencephalogram (EEG)
- An enlarged prostate or urinary problems
- Any condition that affects the production of blood cells by your bone marrow
- Heart, liver, or kidney disease
- Pheochromocytoma (a tumor on the gland near the kidneys)
You should also alert your physician if you plan to work with organophosphorus insecticides, which are chemicals used to kill insects. Also, tell your doctor if you had to stop taking a drug for mental illness in the past because of severe side effects.
This medicine may cause dizziness, fast heartbeat, fainting, or lightheadedness, especially when you get up quickly from a lying position. You can avoid this problem by getting out of bed slowly.
Tell your doctor you are taking THORAZINE before having any type of surgery, including dental procedures. You should also tell your healthcare provider that you are taking this medicine before having an X-ray of the spine.
THORAZINE may make it harder for your body to cool down after it gets very hot, so use caution in extreme heat or during vigorous exercise and drink plenty of fluids when the weather is hot.
Pregnancy and THORAZINE
THORAZINE has not been assigned a formal pregnancy category by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It's sometimes used during pregnancy for treating nausea and vomiting, but studies have been conflicting, with some showing it may cause harm to an unborn baby.
THORAZINE may cause problems in newborns following delivery if it's taken during the last months of pregnancy. You should tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking THORAZINE.
This medicine can pass into breast milk and may harm a breastfeeding baby. You shouldn't use THORAZINE without first talking to your doctor if you are breastfeeding.
Common Side Effects of THORAZINE
You should tell your doctor if any of the following side effects are severe or don't go away:
- Shuffling walk
- Restlessness, agitation, or confusion
- Blank facial expression
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Weight gain
- Constipation or stomach pain
- Increased appetite
- Breast milk production or breast enlargement
- Missed menstrual periods
- Decreased sexual ability (trouble having an orgasm)
- Uncontrollable or unusual movements of any body part
- Dry mouth
- Stuffy nose
- Changes in skin color
- Difficulty urinating
- Widening or narrowing of the pupils in the eye
Serious Side Effects of THORAZINE
You should call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- Muscle stiffness
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin
- Fever or flu-like symptoms
- Sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection
- Neck cramps
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- Tightness in the throat
- Tongue that sticks out of the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Uncontrollable mouth or jaw movements
- Fine, worm-like tongue movements
- Blisters, rash, hives, or itching
- Swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, lips, tongue, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Vision loss (especially at night)
- Seeing things in a brown tint
Interactions with this medication
You should tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking, especially:
- Anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin)
- Atropine (in Motofen, in Lomotil, in Lonox)
- Barbiturates such as pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), and secobarbital (Seconal)
- Diuretics (water pills)
- Epinephrine (EpiPen)
- Guanethidine (not available in the U.S.)
- Ipratropium (Atrovent)
- Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)
- Drugs for anxiety, irritable bowel disease, mental illness, motion sickness, Parkinson's disease, ulcers, or urinary problems
- Medicines for seizures such as phenytoin (Dilantin)
- Narcotic drugs for pain
- Propranolol (Inderal)
- Sleeping pills
THORAZINE and Alcohol
Alcohol can worsen certain side effects associated with THORAZINE. You should talk to your doctor before consuming alcohol while taking this medicine.
THORAZINE and Other Interactions
THORAZINE may make you drowsy and may impair your reactions. You should not drive or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
The medicine can also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. You should avoid unnecessary or prolonged sun exposure while taking THORAZINE.
Proper Use of this medication
THORAZINE comes as a tablet and is typically taken two to four times daily. Your dose will depend on your condition, age, and response to the medicine.
For controlling nausea and vomiting, THORAZINE is typically taken every four to six hours. To relieve nervousness before surgery, it's typically taken two to three hours before the procedure. To relieve hiccups, THORAZINE is usually taken three to four times a day, for up to three days or until the hiccups stop.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of THORAZINE and gradually increase it to lower your risk of side effects.
If you suspect an overdose, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.
Missed Dose of THORAZINE
If you miss a dose of THORAZINE, take it as soon as you remember.
However, if it's almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on your regular dosing schedule. Don't double up on doses to make up for a missed one.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.