Chlorpromazine is used to treat schizophrenia, an illness that causes changes in perception, thoughts and behaviour. It helps to relieve symptoms common in schizophrenia, such as distorted thinking and emotional instability.
Chlorpromazine is used on its own or together with other medicines for the treatment of a dysfunctional mood condition called bipolar disorder.
Chlorpromazine is also used to treat other conditions such as
- severe nausea and vomiting
- severe hiccups that cannot be stopped
- anxiety or nervousness before surgery
- irritability or aggressiveness in children with autism
Take Chlorpromazine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Take it with food if you find that it upsets your stomach. Try to take Chlorpromazine at the same time each day.
Chlorpromazine must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when there are signs of improvement which can take a few weeks for you to notice. Do not stop taking Chlorpromazine unless instructed by the doctor.
Always keep your appointments with your doctor so that he will be able to monitor your response to Chlorpromazine.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Chlorpromazine is not suitable for patients with dementia-related psychosis.
Inform your doctor if you have:
- blood disorders
- an enlarged prostate
- heart disease
- liver or kidney disease
- asthma and other lung diseases causing breathlessness
- thyroid problems
- problems with blood clotting, especially a tendency to develop blood clots
- an adrenal gland tumour known as phaeochromocytoma
- Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease
- epilepsy (fits)
- glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye)
- myasthenia gravis (a condition that causes muscle weakness)
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Chlorpromazine may affect the ability of your body to adjust to temperature changes in the environment. Avoid exposure to very cold or very hot environments.
If you are going for an operation, including minor operations and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are being treated with Chlorpromazine.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly. You may need to have regular blood tests to monitor your body's response to Chlorpromazine. These blood tests will be more frequent in the first few months and gradually become less frequent.
Chlorpromazine may make you drowsy or dizzy, especially in the first few weeks of treatment. If you feel drowsy or dizzy, or if Chlorpromazine causes your vision to become blurred, do not drive or take part in any activities in which you need to be alert.
You may feel dizzy when getting up from a sitting or lying down position, especially if you are taking Chlorpromazine for the first time. This is normal and should disappear gradually as you get used to the medicine. It will help if you get up slowly from a sitting or lying down position.
Other common side effects with Chlorpromazine include dry mouth, blocked nose, tiredness, difficulty urinating, constipation, problems sleeping, confusion, discolouration of your skin or urine, nightmares, depression, ejaculation problems and weight gain. Your skin may also become more sensitive to sunlight. Apply sunscreen when going outdoors and avoid direct or prolonged exposure to sunlight and UV lamps.
Other side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- muscle spasms or uncontrolled muscle movements of your body or face, such as sticking out of the tongue, smacking of the lips
- muscle stiffness, fever, excessive sweating, blood pressure changes
- yellowing of your eyes or skin
- swelling, redness or pain of the lower leg
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and your pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines for anxiety e.g. citalopram, escitalopram
- medicines for mood disorders e.g. amitriptyline, haloperidol, lithium
- medicines for cold or allergy e.g. terfenadine
- medicines for epilepsy e.g. phenytoin, carbamazepine, phenobarbital
- medicines used to treat Parkinson's disease e.g. levodopa, bromocriptine
- medicines for heart disease e.g. quinidine, disopyramide, amiodarone, captopril
- diuretics (water pills) e.g. furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, indapamide
- medicines for diabetes e.g. glimepiride, metformin
- certain antibiotics e.g. moxifloxacin and sparfloxacin
Chlorpromazine must not be taken together with antacids as antacids can reduce the effectiveness of Chlorpromazine. If you must take antacids, take between meals at least 2 hours after you have taken Chlorpromazine.
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Chlorpromazine.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicine, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol will worsen the dizziness and drowsiness caused by Chlorpromazine.
Avoid drinks that contain caffeine such as coffee, tea and certain soft drinks.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.