GENERIC NAME: thioridazine
DISCONTINUED BRAND (S): Mellaril
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Thioridazine is an oral antipsychotic medication used for the management of schizophrenia. Thioridazine is one of the older, first-generation antipsychotic medications. Examples of other first-generation antipsychotics include:
- prochlorperazine (Compazine, Compro, Procomp)
- chlorpromazine (Promapar, Thorazine)
- perphenazine (Trilafon)
- trifluoperazine (Stelazine)
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. Thioridazine is used when patients do not respond to other antipsychotics.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Thioridazine is used for the management of schizophrenia and depressive disorders.
SIDE EFFECTS WARNING:
Long-term use of thioridazine 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 thioridazine. Patients who develop this syndrome may have
- high fevers,
- muscle rigidity,
- altered mental status,
- irregular pulse or blood pressure,
- rapid heart rate,
- excessive sweating, and
- heart arrhythmias.
Tardive dyskinesia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome can result from thioridazine treatment. These side effects can be severe, and require medical help. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a medical emergency.
Other serious side effects and adverse reactions include
- Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotics are at an increased risk of death, and thioridazine should not be used for treating patients with dementia-related psychosis.
- Thioridazine may impair the mental and physical abilities required for driving a car or operating machinery.
- Life threatening abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias) may occur.
- Thioridazine may cause low blood pressure.
- A decrease in blood cell counts has been reported during treatment with thioridazine. Low white blood cell counts may increase the risk for infections.
- Thioridazine may increase blood levels of prolactin, a hormone.
- Thioridazine may increase the risk of seizures.
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