Phenothiazine Antipsychotics

  • 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.

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Phenothiazines affect heart rhythm and the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, especially when they are combined with other drugs that also affect heart rhythm. Examples include:

What formulations of phenothiazine antipsychotics are available?

  • All phenothiazine antipsychotics are available in oral tablet form.
  • Prochlorperazine also is available as a rectal suppository.
  • Fluphenazine and mesoridazine are available as injections.
  • Fluphenazine and mesoridazine are available in oral liquid form.

What about taking phenothiazine antipsychotics during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

Safe and effective use of phenothiazine antipsychotics during pregnancy has not been established. Newborns exposed to phenothiazine antipsychotics are at risk for extrapyramidal and withdrawal symptoms following delivery. Phenothiazine antipsychotics should only be used if clearly needed when benefits outweigh potential risks to the fetus.

Phenothiazine antipsychotics may enter breast milk; therefore, they should be used with caution in women who are breastfeeding. To avoid potential risks to the newborn, a decision should be made whether to discontinue the drug or to discontinue nursing.

REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2014
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