|Type of medicine||Antipsychotic|
|Used for||Agitation and restlessness
Sickness in advanced diseases (palliative care)
|Available as||Tablets, oral solution, and injection|
Chlorpromazine is used to treat a number of unrelated problems. It is used to relieve the symptoms of schizophrenia and some other mental health problems. Such symptoms include hearing, seeing or sensing things that are not real, having mistaken beliefs and unusual suspiciousness. It is also used to treat moments of sudden dangerous behaviour or agitation, and is useful in the treatment of anxiety for short periods of time. Chlorpromazine can also be used in in autism in children, for sickness associated with advanced or terminal illnesses, and to treat persistent hiccups.
Chlorpromazine is thought to work by blocking the action of a chemical called dopamine which acts on the nervous system in the brain.
Before taking chlorpromazine
Before taking chlorpromazine make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have heart or breathing problems.
- If you have liver problems or an underactive thyroid.
- If you have kidney or prostate problems.
- If you have a blood disorder or have ever had jaundice.
- If you have Parkinson's disease.
- If you have epilepsy.
- If you have diabetes.
- If you are feeling depressed.
- If you have glaucoma.
- If you have had a stroke or TIA (sometimes called a 'mini stroke').
- If you have myasthenia gravis (a condition that causes muscle weakness).
- If you have phaeochromocytoma (a growth on the adrenal gland).
- If you have bone marrow depression (a reduced immune system response).
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
How to take chlorpromazine
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
- Take chlorpromazine exactly as your doctor has told you.
- You may need to take chlorpromazine for several weeks before you feel the full effect.
- Try to take chlorpromazine at the same times each day to avoid missing any doses.
- If you do forget to take a dose do not worry, just take your next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Chlorpromazine may cause drowsiness. Do not drink alcohol while you are taking chlorpromazine as it could increase these feelings of drowsiness.
- Chlorpromazine may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight than normal. Protect your skin from sunlight even on bright but cloudy days. Do not use sunbeds.
- Keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be monitored. Your doctor may want to review this treatment regularly.
- If you have diabetes check your blood glucose levels regularly as chlorpromazine can affect the levels of sugar in your blood.
- Smoking may affect the amount of chlorpromazine in your body. Let your doctor know if you start or stop smoking while taking chlorpromazine.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with chlorpromazine.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking chlorpromazine.
- Stopping treatment with chlorpromazine suddenly may cause your symptoms to return, so your doctor will probably want you to reduce your dose gradually if this is necessary.
Can chlorpromazine 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 side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this|
|Drowsiness, sleepiness||If this happens do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol|
|Dizziness, or light-headedness especially when getting up from a standing or sitting position||Getting up slowly should help. If you begin to feel dizzy, lie down so that you do not faint, then sit for a few minutes before standing. If this continues, let your doctor know|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sweets. If this becomes troublesome, speak with your pharmacist or doctor|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well balanced diet containing plenty of fibre and drink 6-8 glasses of water each day. If constipation continues to be a problem speak with your pharmacist or doctor|
|Blurred vision||Make sure that you can see properly before starting any task that would be dangerous if your vision is not clear|
|Over-heating in hot weather and not being able to get warm in cold weather||Do your best to keep cool in hot weather and wrap up warmly in cold weather. Let your doctor know about this|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, let your doctor know|
|Shakiness, abnormal movements of the face or body, restlessness, uncontrollable movements of the tongue, face or jaw||If you experience any of these, see your doctor as soon as possible|
|Mood changes, trouble sleeping, blocked nose, difficulty passing urine||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: If you experience 'flu like' symptoms such as muscle stiffness, a high temperature, a pale complexion, sweating, and a fast heart beat, you must contact your doctor immediately or go to your local accident and emergency department without delay.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store chlorpromazine
- 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; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Chlorpromazine Hydrochloride 25mg/5ml Oral Syrup; Manufacturer's PIL, Chlorpromazine Hydrochloride 25mg/5ml Oral Syrup, Rosemont Pharmaceuticals Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2010.
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.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 05/07/2011||Document ID: 3496 Version: 22||© EMIS|
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