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Compazine overdose

Compazine is a drug used to treat severe nausea and vomiting. Compazine overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medication.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Poisonous Ingredient

Prochlorperazine

Where Found

  • Buccastem
  • Compazine
  • Spansule
  • Stemetil

Symptoms

Bladder and kidneys:

  • Inability to completely empty the bladder

Eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and throat:

  • Blurred vision
  • Drooling
  • Dry mouth
  • Nasal congestion
  • Small pupils
  • Yellow eyes

Gastrointestinal system:

Heart and blood:

Muscles and joints:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Stiff muscles in neck, face, or back

Nervous system:

  • Coma (decreased level of consciousness and lack of responsiveness)
  • Convulsions (seizures) 
  • Disorientation
  • Drowsiness
  • Fever
  • Involuntary motor tics
  • Lower-than-normal body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Restlessness associated with repetitive foot shuffling, rocking of the trunk, or pacing
  • Tremor
  • Uncoordinated movement, slow movement, or shuffling (with long-term use or overuse)
  • Weakness

Reproductive system:

  • Changes in menstrual patterns

Skin:

  • Rash
  • Yellow skin

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • Patient's age, weight, and condition
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
  • When it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed
  • If the medication was prescribed for the patient

Poison Control

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The patient may receive:

  • Activated charcoal
  • EKG (heart tracing)
  • Laxative
  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Medication to reverse the effects of the drug
  • Tube through the nose into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)

Outlook (Prognosis)

Compazine is relatively safe. Most likely it will only cause drowsiness and some side effects such as temporary uncontrolled movements of the lips, eyes, head, and neck.

Rarely, it can cause some more serious symptoms. Full recovery is likely in all but the most serious and rare cases.

References

Levine M, Burns MJ. Antipsychotic agents. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 38.

Wittler MA, Lavonas EJ. Antipsychotics. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al., eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2013:chap 161.

Update Date: 1/18/2014

Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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