"Prescription use of benzodiazepinesâ€”a widely used class of sedative and anti-anxiety medicationsâ€”increases steadily with age, despite the known risks for older people, according to a comprehensive analysis of benzodiazepine prescribing in the Uni"...
(Generic versions may still be available.)
Etrafon Consumer (continued)
Drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, tiredness, weight gain, or trouble urinating may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
To relieve dry mouth, suck on hard candy or ice chips, chew gum, drink water, or use a saliva substitute.
Perphenazine may cause muscle/nervous system problems (extrapyramidal symptoms-EPS). Your doctor may prescribe another medication to decrease these side effects. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following side effects: drooling/trouble swallowing, mask-like expression of the face, restlessness/constant need to move, shaking (tremor), shuffling walk, stiff muscles, severe muscle spasms/cramping (such as twisting neck, arching back, eyes rolling up).
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: easy bruising/bleeding, signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat), severe stomach/abdominal pain, persistent nausea/vomiting, yellowing eyes/skin, persistent heartburn.
Perphenazine may cause a condition known as tardive dyskinesia. In some cases, this condition may be permanent. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any uncontrollable movements such as lip smacking, mouth puckering, tongue thrusting, chewing, or unusual arm/leg movements.
In rare cases, perphenazine may increase your level of a certain substance made by the body (prolactin). For females, this increase in prolactin may result in unwanted breast milk, missed/stopped periods, or difficulty becoming pregnant. For males, it may result in decreased sexual ability, inability to produce sperm, or enlarged breasts. If you develop any of these symptoms, tell your doctor immediately.
This medication may rarely cause a very serious condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Get medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms: fever, muscle stiffness/pain/tenderness/weakness, severe tiredness, severe confusion, sweating, fast/irregular heartbeat, dark urine, change in the amount of urine.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: signs of stroke (such as weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, confusion), eye pain/swelling/redness, vision changes (such as seeing rainbows around lights at night), signs of pneumonia from aspiration (such as cough, fever, trouble breathing), chest/jaw/left arm pain, severe dizziness/fainting, black stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, seizures.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Read the Etrafon (perphenazine and amitriptyline) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects
PRECAUTIONS: See also Warning section.
Before taking amitriptyline with perphenazine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other tricyclic antidepressants (such as nortriptyline); or to other phenothiazines (such as chlorpromazine, fluphenazine); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: bleeding problems, decreased bone marrow function, breathing problems (such as asthma, emphysema), liver problems, low blood pressure, recent heart attack, breast cancer, problems urinating (such as due to enlarged prostate), overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), personal or family history of glaucoma (angle-closure type), personal or family history of bipolar disorder, alcohol/substance abuse, family history of suicide, seizures, diabetes, conditions that may increase your risk of seizures (such as head injury, drug/alcohol withdrawal), a certain severe reaction to other medications (neuroleptic malignant syndrome), a certain adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma), restless legs syndrome, Parkinson's disease.
Perphenazine/amitriptyline may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can infrequently result in serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using perphenazine/amitriptyline, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death).
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, or eating disorders (such as bulimia). Talk to your doctor about using perphenazine/amitriptyline safely.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or cause blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Before having any surgery, procedure, or imaging (such as X-ray, CT-scan), tell your doctor or dentist about this medication and all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps. Use a sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater) and wear protective clothing when outdoors.
Caution is advised during hot weather because the perphenazine in this product can reduce sweating, increasing your risk for a severe reaction to too much heat (heatstroke). Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid strenuous exercise in hot weather. If you become overheated, promptly seek cooler shelter and/or stop exercising. Seek immediate medical attention if your body temperature is above normal or if you have mental/mood changes, headache, or dizziness.
Avoid exposure to certain chemicals used in gardening (organic phosphate insecticides). Seek immediate medical attention if you are exposed to garden chemicals and have an unusual headache, heavy sweating, or difficulty breathing.
If you have diabetes, this drug may increase your blood sugar levels. Check your blood sugar levels regularly as directed by your doctor. Tell your doctor immediately if you have symptoms such as increased thirst/urination, shakiness, unusual sweating, or hunger. Your anti-diabetic medication or diet may need to be adjusted.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, bleeding, constipation, difficulty urinating, uncontrolled movements, and QT prolongation (see above). Dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion can increase the risk of falling.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Babies born to mothers who have used this drug during the last 3 months of pregnancy may infrequently develop symptoms including muscle stiffness or shakiness, drowsiness, feeding/breathing difficulties, or constant crying. If you notice any of these symptoms in your newborn especially during their first month, tell the doctor right away.
Since untreated mental/mood problems (such as depression, schizophrenia) can be a serious condition, do not stop taking this medication unless directed by your doctor. If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, immediately discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy.
This medication passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
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