|Type of medicine||Antipsychotic|
|Used for||Easing the symptoms of schizophrenia|
|Available as||Tablets and liquid|
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. Amisulpride will help to ease these symptoms. It works on the balance of chemical substances your brain.
Before taking amisulpride
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 amisulpride, 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 breast cancer or you have been told you have 'a prolactin-dependent tumour'.
- If you have any of the following: epilepsy, depression, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, glaucoma, or myasthenia gravis (this is a condition causing muscle weakness).
- If you have been told you are at risk of having a stroke.
- 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 amisulpride
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about amisulpride, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
- Take amisulpride exactly as your doctor has told you. It is usually taken once each day, although you may be asked to take it twice a day for a short while to begin with. Your dose will be on the label of your pack to remind you. You can take amisulpride before or after your meals.
- If you have been given tablets, these are best swallowed with a drink of water. Do not chew the tablets before you swallow.
- If you have been given the liquid medicine, measure your dose out carefully using the graduated syringe supplied in the pack. Put the measuring syringe into the bottle and draw back the plunger of the syringe to the graduation mark equal to the amount of solution you need. The graduations on the syringe measure the amount of amisulpride in milligrams. Swallow the solution with a non-alcoholic drink.
- Try to take your doses at the same time of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take them. If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, 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 amisulpride. Keep your regular doctor's appointments so that your progress can be checked. You will need to have some tests from time to time.
- Treatment with amisulpride 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.
- Amisulpride 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 drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice about drinking while you are on amisulpride. Alcohol will 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 amisulpride may affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will be able to advise you about this.
- 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 amisulpride 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 amisulpride.
Can amisulpride 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 amisulpride side-effects - these affect around 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling dizzy or sleepy||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Feeling dizzy or light-headed when you stand up||This can happen particularly when you first start taking amisulpride. Getting up more slowly until you are aware how you react should help|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Feeling or being sick||Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods|
|Constipation||Drink plenty of water, and eat a well-balanced diet containing plenty of fruit, vegetables, and fibre|
|Feeling shaky or restless, unusual or uncontrollable muscle movements||Speak with your doctor about any of these. Your treatment may need adjusting|
|Increases in weight, difficulty sleeping, feeling anxious or agitated, changes in sexual ability, breast pain, breast enlargement in men, abnormal breast milk production, menstrual problems, producing more saliva than usual||Discuss these with your doctor if any become troublesome|
Important: if you experience any 'flu-like' symptoms including muscle stiffness, a high temperature, confusion, a fast heartbeat, and sweating, 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 amisulpride
- 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, Solian® tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Solian® tablets, Sanofi-aventis, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2011.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Solian® solution; Manufacturer's PIL, Solian® solution, Sanofi-aventis, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2011.
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.
Dr John Cox