prochlorperazine (Compazine, Compro)

  • 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: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

What is prochlorperazine-rectal, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Prochlorperazine is an antiemetic (to control nausea and vomiting) and first generation antipsychotic agent. Prochlorperazine is one of the older first-generation piperazine phenothiazine antipsychotic medications. Examples of other phenothiazines include:

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.

The antiemetic benefits of prochlorperazine are due to dopamine blockade in the chemoreceptor trigger zone of the brain. Additionally, prochlorperazine has moderate effects on other neurotransmitters and receptors. Blockade of certain receptors called alpha-adrenergic receptors causes drowsiness, muscle relaxation, and adverse cardiovascular effects such as low blood pressure, reflex tachycardia, and changes in heart rhythm.

Prochlorperazine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1956.

What brand names are available for prochlorperazine-rectal?

Compazine, Compro

Is prochlorperazine-rectal available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for prochlorperazine-rectal?


What are the side effects of prochlorperazine-rectal?

Side effects associated with prochlorperazine treatment include:

The following also have been reported are movement disorders (extrapyramidal symptoms) including:

  • Motor restlessness
  • Dystonias
  • Pseudo-parkinsonism
  • Tardive dyskinesia

Additionally, cardiac (heart) and liver abnormalities have occurred in some patients.

Children are prone to develop extrapyramidal reactions more than adults.

Which drugs or supplements interact with prochlorperazine-rectal?

  • Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors may decrease the effectives of prochlorperazine. Centrally acting acetylcholinesterase inhibitors may increase the neurotoxic effects of antipsychotic agents.
  • Combining prochlorperazine with alcohol, kava kava, CNS depressants, and cannabis may increase the risk of CNS depressant side effects.
  • Antacids may decrease the absorption of prochlorperazine.
  • Prochlorperazine may cause anticholinergic side effects such as dry mouth, constipation, dry eyes, decreased urinary output, and mental confusion. Combining agents with similar anticholinergic effects increases the risk of experiencing such adverse events.
  • Prochlorperazine may increase the blood levels of dofetilide (Tikosyn). Use of both drugs is not recommended.
  • Deferoxamine (Desferal) may increase the risk of experiencing side effects of prochlorperazine treatment. Combination use has resulted in the prolonged loss of consciousness.
  • Metoclopramide (Reglan) may increase the side effects of antipsychotic agents. Combination use is not recommended.
  • Prochlorperazine may increase the CNS depressant effects of orphenadrine (Norflex) or paraldehyde (Paral). Combination use is not recommended.
  • Combining prochlorperazine and potassium chloride may result in an increase in the ulcerogenic effect of potassium chloride (Klor-Con). Combination use is generally not recommended.
  • Combining prochlorperazine with thalidomide (Thalomid) may increase the risk of experiencing CNS depressant side effects. This combination is generally not recommended.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/23/2015
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