- What Kind of Doctor Do I Need? Slideshow
- Dental (Oral) Health Quiz
- Causes of a Heart Attack Slideshow
What is prochlorperazine, 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:
- fluphenazine (Permitil, Prolixin)
- chlorpromazine (Promapar, Thorazine)
- fluphenazine (Permitil, Prolixin)
- perphenazine, trifluoperazine (Stelazine)
- thioridazine (Mellaril)
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?
Is prochlorperazine available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for prochlorperazine?
What are the side effects of prochlorperazine?
Side effects associated with prochlorperazine treatment include:
- Amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
- Blurred vision
- Skin reactions
- Low blood pressure
The following also have been reported are movement disorders (extrapyramidal symptoms) including:
- Motor restlessness
- 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?
- 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.
Is prochlorperazine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Prochlorperazine has not been adequately evaluated in pregnant women. Due to the lack of conclusive safety data, prochlorperazine should be avoided in pregnancy except in cases of severe nausea and vomiting that requires treatment and potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
It is not known if prochlorperazine is excreted into human milk. Other phenothiazines are excreted into breast milk. If clearly needed, prochlorperazine should be used cautiously in females who are nursing.
What else should I know about prochlorperazine?
What preparations of prochlorperazine- are available?
- Prochlorperazine Edisylate solution for injection: 5 mg/ml
- Prochlorperazine Maleate oral tablet: 5 mg, 10 mg
- Prochlorperazine rectal suppository: 2.5, 5, 25 mg
How should I keep prochlorperazine stored?
Prochlorperazine injection solution is recommended to be stored below 30 C (86 F). All other dosage forms may be stored between 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).
Treatment of severe nausea and vomiting
- The dosage must be adjusted based on individual patient response.
- Patients are generally started on the lowest recommended dosage.
- Oral tablets: The usual recommended dose is one 5 mg or 10 mg tablet orally 3-4 times daily.
- Rectal suppository: 25 mg twice daily.
- Intramuscular injection: The usual starting dose is 5 to 10 mg injected deeply into the upper outer quadrant of the buttock. Additional doses may be given every 3 or 4 hours as necessary. Total daily dose should not exceed 40 mg per day except in resistant patients.
- Intravenous (IV) dosage: The usual recommended dose is 2.5 to10 mg by slow IV injection or infusion at a rate not to exceed 5 mg per minute. A single dose should not exceed 10 mg. The total daily dose should not exceed 40 mg per day.
Adult surgery patients with severe nausea or vomiting
- The total daily dose should not exceed 40 mg per day.
- Intramuscular injection: The usual recommended dose is 5 to 10 mg, 1 to 2 hours before the administration of anesthesia. A second dose may be given in 30 minutes if necessary. Repeat doses may also be given to control acute symptoms during and after surgery as needed.
- IV dosage: The usual recommended dose is 5 to 10 mg as a slow IV injection or infusion 15 to 30 minutes before the administration of anesthesia, or to control acute symptoms during or after surgery.
Adult psychiatric disorders
- Individual patient dosage is adjusted based on response and severity of the condition. Treatment is started with the lowest recommended dose.
- Oral dosage: non-psychotic anxiety: The usual recommended dose is 5 mg 3-4 times daily.
- Psychotic disorders including schizophrenia (mild): The usual recommended dose is 5 to 10 mg 3-4 times daily.
- Psychotic disorders including schizophrenia (moderate to severe conditions): The recommended usual starting dose in hospitalized or adequately supervised patients is 10 mg 3-4 times daily. Dosage should be increased in small increments every 2-3 days to minimize the occurrence of side effects. Some patients may have a satisfactory response to 50 to 75 mg per day. Patient with severe symptoms may require 100 to 150 mg per day.
- Intramuscular dosage: For the immediate control of severe schizophrenia symptoms in adult patients, patients may be started with an initial dose of 10 to 20 mg administered deeply into the upper outer quadrant of the buttock. Repeat injections may be given every 2 to 4 hours if necessary.
Pediatric use (dose calculation) is weight-based and the drug should not be used in children < 2 years old.
Prochlorperazine (Compazine, Compro) is an antimetic drug prescribed to treat nausea and vomiting in adults and the management of schizophrenia, and non-psychotic anxiety. Side effects, drug interactions, dosing and storage information, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Schizophrenia Quiz: What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a complex psychiatric disorder. Learn more about the challenges of mental illness with the Schizophrenia Quiz....
Surprising Reasons for Weight Gain
There are many reasons for sudden weight gain when there are no changes in diet or exercise. Sudden weight gain could be caused...
Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment
What is schizophrenia? Learn about schizophrenia symptoms, signs, and treatment. Read about schizophrenia types such as paranoid...
How to Get Rid of Nausea and Vomiting
What is nausea? Do you want to know how to get rid of nausea and how to stop vomiting? Learn home remedies for nausea,...
Epilepsy: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Learn about epilepsy stages, symptoms and treatment for this disorder of the brain's electrical system. Epileptic seizures cause...
Anxiety Disorder Pictures: Symptoms, Panic Attacks, and More with Pictures
Learn about generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). See if your worries are normal or something more by learning about symptoms,...
Postpartum Depression: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Postpartum depression is a treatable medical illness which affects women after giving birth. Learn about the symptoms, diagnosis...
Related Disease Conditions
Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on...
Panic attacks are sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep....
Schizophrenia is a disabling brain disorder that may cause hallucinations and delusions and affect a person's ability to...
Holiday Depression, Anxiety, and Stress
Though the holidays are a fun time for most, for others, they're a sad, lonely and anxiety-filled time. Get tips on how to avoid...
Separation anxiety disorder is a common childhood anxiety disorder that has many causes. Infants, children, older kids and adults...
Nausea and Vomiting (Causes, Natural Remedies, Diet, Medication)
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms...
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness that features schizophrenia and a mood disorder, either major depression or bipolar...
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems,...
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by odd behaviors, feelings, perceptions, and ways of relating to others that...
Migraine vs. Headache: Differences and Similarities
Headaches are the most common reason why a person goes to the doctor or other healthcare professional for treatment. There are...
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
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.
FDA Prescribing Information.