Studies have shown that older adults with dementia (a brain disorder that affects the ability to remember, think clearly, communicate, and perform daily activities and that may cause changes in mood and personality) who take antipsychotics (medications for mental illness) such as chlorpromazine have an increased chance of death during treatment.
Chlorpromazine is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of behavior problems in older adults with dementia. Talk to the doctor who prescribed this medication if you, a family member, or someone you care for has dementia and is taking chlorpromazine. For more information, visit the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085729.htm
Chlorpromazine is used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia (a mental illness that causes disturbed or unusual thinking, loss of interest in life, and strong or inappropriate emotions) and other psychotic disorders (conditions that cause difficulty telling the difference between things or ideas that are real and things or ideas that are not real) and to treat the symptoms of mania (frenzied, abnormally excited mood) in people who have bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder; a condition that causes episodes of mania, episodes of depression, and other abnormal moods). Chlorpromazine is also used to treat severe behavior problems such as explosive, aggressive behavior and hyperactivity in children 1 to 12 years of age. Chlorpromazine is also used to control nausea and vomiting, to relieve hiccups that have lasted one month or longer, and to relieve restlessness and nervousness that may occur just before surgery. Chlorpromazine is also used to treat acute intermittent porphyria (condition in which certain natural substances build up in the body and cause stomach pain, changes in thinking and behavior, and other symptoms). Chlorpromazine is also used along with other medications to treat tetanus (a serious infection that may cause tightening of the muscles, especially the jaw muscle). Chlorpromazine is in a class of medications called conventional antipsychotics. It works by changing the activity of certain natural substances in the brain and other parts of the body.
Chlorpromazine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. Chlorpromazine is usually taken two to four times a day. When chlorpromazine is used to control nausea and vomiting, it is usually taken every 4-6 hours as needed. When chlorpromazine is used to relieve nervousness before surgery, it is usually taken 2-3 hours before surgery. When chlorpromazine is used to relieve hiccups, it is usually taken 3-4 times a day for up to 3 days or until the hiccups stop. If the hiccups do not stop after 3 days of treatment, a different medication should be used. If you are taking chlorpromazine on a regular schedule, take it at around the same times every day. 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.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of chlorpromazine and gradually increase your dose. Your doctor may decrease your dose once your condition is controlled. Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment with chlorpromazine.
If you are taking chlorpromazine to treat schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder, chlorpromazine may control your symptoms but will not cure your condition. Continue to take chlorpromazine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking chlorpromazine without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop taking chlorpromazine, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, dizziness, and shakiness.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
If you are taking chlorpromazine on a regular schedule and you miss 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.
blank facial expression
unusual, slowed, or uncontrollable movements of any part of the body
difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
breast milk production
missed menstrual periods
decreased sexual ability
changes in skin color
widening or narrowing of the pupils (black circles in the middle of the eyes)
fast or irregular heartbeat
yellowing of the skin or eyes
sore throat, chills, and other signs of infection
unusual bleeding or bruising
tongue that sticks out of the mouth
tightness in the throat
difficulty breathing or swallowing
fine, worm-like tongue movements
uncontrollable, rhythmic face, mouth, or jaw movements
swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, lips, tongue, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
vision loss, especially at night
seeing everything with a brown tint
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/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Chlorpromazine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking 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 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.
loss of consciousness
unusual, slowed, or uncontrollable movements of any part of the body
Keep all appointments with your doctor and your eye doctor. You should have regularly scheduled eye exams during your treatment with chlorpromazine because chlorpromazine may cause eye disease.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking chlorpromazine.
Chlorpromazine may interfere with the results of home pregnancy tests. Talk to your doctor if you think you might be pregnant during your treatment with chlorpromazine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 05/16/2011
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.