This medication is used to treat certain mental/mood disorders (such as schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, manic phase of bipolar disorder, severe behavioral problems in children). Chlorpromazine helps you to think more clearly, feel less nervous, and take part in everyday life. It can reduce aggressive behavior and the desire to hurt yourself/others. It may also help to decrease hallucinations (hearing/seeing things that are not there). Chlorpromazine is a psychiatric medication that belongs to the class of drugs called phenothiazine antipsychotics. It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances in the brain.
Chlorpromazine is also used to control nausea/vomiting, relieve prolonged hiccups, relieve restlessness/anxiety before surgery, and help treat tetanus.
How to use Chlorpromazine HCL
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually 2-4 times daily.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on weight. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Although you may notice some medication effects soon after starting, for some conditions, it may take several weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Also, you may experience symptoms such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and shakiness. To prevent these symptoms while you are stopping treatment with this drug, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Report any new or worsening symptoms right away.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth, blurred vision, tiredness, nausea, constipation, weight gain, or trouble sleeping may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Dizziness and lightheadedness can increase the risk of falling. Get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
This drug may cause muscle/nervous system problems (extrapyramidal symptoms-EPS). Your doctor may prescribe another medication to decrease these side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any of the following side effects: feelings of anxiety/agitation/jitteriness, drooling/trouble swallowing, restlessness/constant need to move, shaking (tremor), shuffling walk, severe muscle spasms/cramping (such as twisting neck, arching back, eyes rolling up), mask-like expression of the face.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: skin discoloration, eye/vision changes, signs of liver disease (such as nausea/vomiting that doesn’t stop, loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine), signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn’t go away, chills, cough), easy bruising/bleeding, mental/mood changes (such as worsening psychosis, unresponsive/catatonic state).
Infrequently, this medication may cause face/muscle twitching and uncontrollable movements (tardive dyskinesia). In some cases, this condition may be permanent. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any uncontrollable movements such as lip smacking, mouth puckering, tongue thrusting, chewing, or unusual arm/leg movements.
In rare cases, chlorpromazine may increase your level of a certain chemical made by the body (prolactin). For females, this increase in prolactin may result in unwanted breast milk, missed/stopped periods, or difficulty becoming pregnant. For males, it may result in decreased sexual ability, inability to produce sperm, or enlarged breasts. If you develop any of these symptoms, tell your doctor right away.
Rarely, males may have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 or more hours. If this occurs, stop using this drug and get medical help right away, or permanent problems could occur.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: severe dizziness, fainting, slow/shallow breathing.
This medication may rarely cause a very serious condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Get medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms: fever, muscle stiffness/pain/tenderness/weakness, severe tiredness, severe confusion, sweating, fast/irregular heartbeat, dark urine, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Before taking chlorpromazine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other phenothiazine drugs (such as perphenazine, thioridazine); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver problems, kidney problems, heart problems (such as angina, heart attack, fast/irregular heartbeat), low blood pressure, glaucoma, seizures, enlarged prostate, breathing problems (such as severe asthma, emphysema, lung infections), blood or blood clotting problems (such as low white blood cell count, low platelets, anemia, hemophilia), a certain adrenal gland problem (pheochromocytoma), drug/alcohol/substance use disorder, Parkinson’s disease.
Chlorpromazine may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using chlorpromazine, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death).
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/”water pills”) or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using chlorpromazine safely.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or cause blurred vision. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness or clear vision until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Before having surgery or imaging procedures (such as certain X-rays, CT scans) requiring the use of contrast dye (such as metrizamide), tell your doctor or dentist that you are using this medication and about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness.
This medication may make you sweat less, making you more likely to get heat stroke. Avoid doing things that may cause you to overheat, such as hard work or exercise in hot weather, or using hot tubs. When the weather is hot, drink a lot of fluids and dress lightly. If you overheat, quickly look for a place to cool down and rest. Get medical help right away if you have a fever that does not go away, mental/mood changes, headache, or dizziness.
Children with acute illnesses (such as a viral infection, dehydration) are at increased risk for serious muscle problems during chlorpromazine treatment. Consult the doctor for more details.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, uncontrollable movements, constipation, difficulty urinating, blurred vision, and QT prolongation (see above). Drowsiness, dizziness, and lightheadedness can increase the risk of falling.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Avoid use of chlorpromazine near the due date because it may cause low blood pressure in the mother. Also, babies born to mothers who have used this drug during the last 3 months of pregnancy may rarely develop symptoms such as muscle stiffness or shakiness, drowsiness, feeding/breathing difficulties, or constant crying. If you notice any of these symptoms in your newborn, especially during their first month, tell the doctor right away.
Since untreated mental/mood problems (such as schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder) can be a serious condition, do not stop using this medication unless directed by your doctor. If you are planning a pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, discuss with your doctor right away the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy.
This medication passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug are: drugs that increase the amount of dopamine in your body (such as cabergoline, levodopa, pergolide, ropinirole), lithium, tretinoin.
Many drugs besides chlorpromazine may affect the heart rhythm (QT prolongation), such as amiodarone, dofetilide, pimozide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol, macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), among others.
The risk of serious side effects (such as slow/shallow breathing, severe drowsiness/dizziness) may be increased if this medication is used with other products that may also cause drowsiness or breathing problems. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
This medication may interfere with certain lab tests (such as certain pregnancy tests, phenylketonuria tests), possibly causing false test results. Make sure lab personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.Information last revised September 2019. Copyright(c) 2019 First Databank, Inc.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as liver function tests, complete blood counts, eye exams) should be done while you are using this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.