|Type of medicine||Antipsychotic|
|Used for||Easing distressing symptoms in palliative care
Easing the symptoms of schizophrenia
|Available as||Tablets and injection|
Levomepromazine is used in palliative care to help ease distressing symptoms such as pain, restlessness, anxiety and being sick. It works on chemical substances acting on the nervous system in your brain. If you have been prescribed levomepromazine for this reason, your specialist or home-care team will be able to give you more information about this medicine.
Levomepromazine is also sometimes used to relieve symptoms of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that causes disordered ideas, beliefs and experiences. Symptoms of schizophrenia include hearing, seeing, or sensing things that are not real, having mistaken beliefs, and feeling unusually suspicious. This medicine leaflet will give you information about levomepromazine when it has been prescribed for this reason.
Before taking levomepromazine
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking levomepromazine, it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have a heart condition or blood vessel disease.
- If you have liver, kidney or prostate problems.
- If you have breathing problems.
- If you have any of the following: diabetes, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, depression, glaucoma, or myasthenia gravis (this is a condition causing muscle weakness).
- If you have ever had jaundice (yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes), or a blood disorder.
- If you have a condition called phaeochromocytoma (a tumour on your adrenal gland).
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take levomepromazine
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about levomepromazine, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
- When you first start taking levomepromazine, your doctor may give you a small dose and then gradually increase it. This allows your doctor to make sure that you have the dose that helps your condition and avoids any unwanted symptoms. Take levomepromazine exactly as your doctor has told you. It is usually taken three times each day. Your dose will be on the label of your pack to remind you.
- You can take levomepromazine before or after your meals. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water.
- Try to take your doses at the same times of day each day as this will help you to remember to take them. If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time to take your next dose, wait until then and skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Your treatment will require careful monitoring to make sure that you get the best possible benefit from levomepromazine. Keep your regular doctor's appointments so your progress can be checked. You will need to have some tests during your treatment.
- Treatment with levomepromazine for schizophrenia is usually long-term unless you experience an adverse effect. Keep taking it until your doctor tells you otherwise. Stopping suddenly can cause problems and your doctor may want you to reduce your dose gradually if this is necessary.
- Levomepromazine may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight than normal. Use a sunscreen that protects against UVA light and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, especially in strong sunlight or until you know how your skin reacts. Do not use sunbeds.
- If you are having any dental treatment or an operation, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking. This is important because levomepromazine may interfere with any anaesthetic you receive.
- If you buy or take any 'over-the-counter' medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with levomepromazine.
- If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice about drinking while you are on levomepromazine. Alcohol may increase the chance that you experience side-effects and may not be recommended for you.
- If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently, as levomepromazine may affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will be able to advise you about this.
Can levomepromazine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common levomepromazine side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling tired, dizzy or sleepy, and blurred vision||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. If you feel light-headed when you get up, try moving more slowly until you are aware how you react|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets. If this becomes a problem, speak with your doctor or pharmacist who will be able to recommend a suitable preparation for you|
|Feeling shaky or restless, unusual or uncontrollable muscle movements||Speak with your doctor about any of these. Your treatment may need adjusting|
|Changes in weight, difficulty passing urine, changes in heartbeat, constipation||Discuss these with your doctor if any become troublesome|
Important: if you experience any 'flu-like' symptoms including muscle stiffness, a very high temperature, confusion, a fast heartbeat, and sweating, you must contact your doctor immediately. These may be signs of a rare but serious condition known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store levomepromazine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Nozinan® tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Nozinan® tablets, sanofi-aventis, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2011.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Adrian Bonsall|
|Last Checked: 19/07/2012||Document ID: 3547 Version: 23||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.