perphenazine (Trilafon - discontinued)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: perphenazine



DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Perphenazine is an oral antipsychotic medication used for the management of schizophrenia. Perphenazine is one of the older, first-generation antipsychotic medications. Examples of other first-generation antipsychotics include:

Although the exact mechanism of antipsychotics is unknown, scientists believe that they may work by blocking the action of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (chemical) that nerves use to communicate with one another. Perphenazine is used when patients do not respond to other antipsychotics.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Perphenazine is used for the management of schizophrenia, severe nausea and vomiting in adults, and intractable hiccoughs (hiccups that last longer than a month).


  • Long-term use of perphenazine may lead to a potentially irreversible condition called tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movements of the jaw, lips, and tongue).
  • A potentially fatal complex referred to as neuroleptic malignant syndrome has been reported with anti-psychotic drugs, including perphenazine. Patients who develop this syndrome may have:
  • Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotics are at an increased risk of death, and perphenazine should not be used for treating patients with dementia-related psychosis.
  • Perphenazine may impair the mental and physical abilities required for to drive a car or operate machinery.
  • Like other antipsychotics neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) may occur.
  • Life threatening abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias) may occur.
  • Perphenazine may cause low blood pressure.
  • A decrease in blood cell counts has been reported during treatment with perphenazine. Low white blood cell counts may increase the risk for infection.
  • Perphenazine may increase blood levels of prolactin, a hormone that may cause women to develop a breast discharge and for men to develop breasts.
  • Perphenazine may increase the risk of seizures.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/22/2015

Quick GuideSchizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

RxList Logo

Need help identifying pills and medications?

Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors