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: Web Site
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.
Before taking chlorpromazine,
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.
Chlorpromazine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
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 ( Web Site ) 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).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
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.
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 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.
Selected Revisions: July 15, 2017.