Phenothiazine Antipsychotics (cont.)

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Although, the exact mechanism of phenothiazine 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. Phenothiazine antipsychotics are used when patients do not respond to other antipsychotics.

What are examples of phenothiazine antipsychotics available in the US?

Examples of phenothiazine antipsychotics are:

  • prochlorperazine (Compazine, Compro, Procomp),
  • chlorpromazine (Promapar, Thorazine),
  • fluphenazine (Permitil, Prolixin),
  • perphenazine,
  • trifluoperazine (Stelazine),
  • thioridazine (Mellaril), and
  • mesoridazine (no longer available in the United States).

What are the side effects of phenothiazine antipsychotics?

There are many side effects of phenothiazine antipsychotics. Common side effects include:

Phenothiazine antipsychotics may cause extra-pyramidal symptoms such:

  • as abnormal muscle contractions,
  • difficulty breathing and swallowing,
  • neck spasms, and
  • movement abnormalities on face, arms, and legs.

Constipation also is common.

Phenothiazine antipsychotics can also cause neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), which include symptoms of:

All phenothiazine antipsychotics carry a boxed warning of increased deaths in elderly patients when used for dementia-related psychosis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2014


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