Chlorpromazine is a drug used to treat psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, behavioural disorder in children, hyperactivity with excess motor activity and the maniac phase of bipolar disorder. It is available under the brand name Thorazine, and it belongs to the drug class called antipsychotics.
Chlorpromazine works by restoring the balance to certain natural chemicals in the brain. It is also used in adults to control nausea, vomiting, chronic hiccups, anxiety before surgery, symptoms of tetanus and acute intermittent porphyria.
The dosage for chlorpromazine depends on your age, the condition being treated, and the response to treatment. So follow your doctor’s prescription and read the guidelines on the medicine label to use it as directed. In children, the dosage for this drug is based on weight.
The drug should be taken orally with or without food; it is also available as an intramuscular injection. Do not stop using the drug without consulting your doctor because it may have some severe withdrawal symptoms.
Side Effects of Chlorpromazine
Chlorpromazine has many side effects, but you may only experience a few of them; however, if they become persistent and severe, contact your doctor before stopping the medication.
Here are the side effects you may experience:
- Blurred vision.
- Breast swelling and discharge.
- Uncontrolled muscle movements in your face (lip smacking, chewing, frowning, eye movement, or tongue movement).
- Stiffness of the neck, trouble breathing or swallowing, or tightness in your throat.
- Impotence or difficulty having an orgasm.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Dry mouth or stuffy nose.
- Nervous system reactions such as fever, rigid muscles, sweating, confusion, tremors, uneven or fast heartbeat, etc.
Note that this is not a complete list of the side effects of this drug, so you may experience some symptoms that are not listed here. Contact your doctor right away once you notice severe side effects.
Before taking this drug, let your doctor know if you have a medical history of respiratory problems, heart disease, cancer, kidney or liver disease, any mental disorder, glaucoma, brain tumour, intestinal issues, or sulphite allergy.
Long-term use of chlorpromazine can lead to a movement disorder, which may be irreversible. Also, the longer you use the drug, the more likely you are to develop movement disorder in old age.
After taking a chlorpromazine injection, you should lie down for a while because it can lower your blood pressure and make you feel light-headed.
This drug may make you more sensitive to the sun and make you sweat less; this can result in heat stroke, limit your time in the sun and reduce activities that will cause you to overheat.
Do not breastfeed if you are using this drug, and using antipsychotic medications in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy may cause breathing problems and withdrawal symptoms in newborns. If you have been using the medication before getting pregnant, let your doctor know right away. Do not stop using it abruptly.