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Stelazine Side Effects Center
Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Stelazine (trifluoperazine hydrochloride) is an anti-psychotic medication in a group of drugs called phenothiazines used to treat anxiety or psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. The brand name Stelazine is discontinued. This medication is available in generic form only. Common side effects of Stelazine (trifluoperazine hydrochloride) include drowsiness, dizziness, anxiety, dry mouth, stuffy nose, blurred vision, headache, tiredness, constipation, weight gain, trouble sleeping (insomnia), breast swelling or discharge, missed menstrual periods, swelling in your hands or feet, impotence, or trouble having an orgasm.
Dosage of trifluoperazine hydrochloride is adjusted to the needs of the individual. The lowest effective dosage should always be used. Trifluoperazine hydrochloride may interact with atropine, lithium, phenytoin, antibiotics, birth control pills or hormone replacement, blood thinners, asthma medications or bronchodilators, diuretics (water pills), drugs to treat high blood pressure or prostate disorder, incontinence medications, insulin or oral diabetes medications, medications for nausea, vomiting, or motion sickness, malaria medication, general anesthesia medications, drugs to prevent organ transplant rejection, numbing medicines, stimulants or ADHD medication, ulcer or irritable bowel medications, medicines to treat Parkinson's disease, restless leg syndrome, or pituitary gland tumor. Tell your doctor all medications you are taking. During pregnancy, trifluoperazine hydrochloride should be used only when prescribed. Babies born to mothers who have used this drug during the last 3 months of pregnancy may develop symptoms including muscle stiffness or shakiness, drowsiness, feeding/breathing difficulties, or constant crying. If you notice these symptoms in your newborn during their first month, tell the doctor. It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Similar drugs pass into breast milk, and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Our Stelazine (trifluoperazine hydrochloride) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
What is Patient Information in Detail?
Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.
Stelazine in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using trifluoperazine and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- twitching or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs;
- tremor (uncontrolled shaking), drooling, trouble swallowing, problems with balance or walking;
- feeling restless, jittery, or agitated;
- very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, feeling like you might pass out;
- decreased night vision, tunnel vision, watery eyes, increased sensitivity to light;
- seizure (black-out or convulsions);
- nausea and stomach pain, skin rash, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
- urinating less than usual or not at all;
- pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, fever, sore throat, flu symptoms;
- joint pain or swelling with fever, swollen glands, muscle aches, chest pain, vomiting, unusual thoughts or behavior, and patchy skin color; or
- slow heart rate, weak pulse, fainting, slow breathing (breathing may stop).
Less serious side effects may include:
- dizziness, drowsiness, anxiety, sleep problems (insomnia);
- blurred vision, headache;
- dry mouth, stuffy nose;
- breast swelling or discharge;
- missed menstrual periods;
- weight gain, swelling in your hands or feet; or
- impotence, trouble having an orgasm.
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Stelazine (Trifluoperazine)
What is Prescribing information?
The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.
Stelazine FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
Neuromuscular (Extrapyramidal) Reactions
These symptoms are seen in a significant number of hospitalized mental patients. They may be characterized by motor restlessness, be of the dystonic type, or they may resemble parkinsonism.
Depending on the severity of symptoms, dosage should be reduced or discontinued. If therapy is reinstituted, it should be at a lower dosage. Should these symptoms occur in children or pregnant patients, the drug should be stopped and not reinstituted. In most cases barbiturates by suitable route of administration will suffice. (Or, injectable Benadryl®" may be useful.) In more severe cases, the administration of an anti-parkinsonism agent, except levodopa (see PDR), usually produces rapid reversal of symptoms. Suitable supportive measures such as maintaining a clear airway and adequate hydration should be employed.
Motor Restlessness: Symptoms may include agitation or jitteriness and sometimes insomnia. These symptoms often disappear spontaneously. At times these symptoms may be similar to the original neurotic or psychotic symptoms. Dosage should not be increased until these side effects have subsided.
If this phase becomes too troublesome, the symptoms can usually be controlled by a reduction of dosage or change of drug. Treatment with anti-parkinsonian agents, benzodiazepines or propranolol may be helpful.
Dystonias: Symptoms may include: spasm of the neck muscles, sometimes progressing to torticollis; extensor rigidity of back muscles, sometimes progressing to opisthotonos; carpopedal spasm, trismus, swallowing difficulty, oculogyric crisis and protrusion of the tongue.
These usually subside within a few hours, and almost always within 24 to 48 hours, after the drug has been discontinued.
In mild cases, reassurance or a barbiturate is often sufficient. In moderate cases, barbiturates will usually bring rapid relief. In more severe adult cases, the administration of an anti-parkinsonism agent, except levodopa (see PDR), usually produces rapid reversal of symptoms. Also, intravenous caffeine with sodium benzoate seems to be effective. In children, reassurance and barbiturates will usually control symptoms. (Or, injectable Benadryl may be useful.) Note: See Benadryl prescribing information for appropriate children's dosage. If appropriate treatment with anti-parkinsonism agents or Benadryl fails to reverse the signs and symptoms, the diagnosis should be reevaluated.
Pseudo-parkinsonism: Symptoms may include: mask-like facies; drooling; tremors; pill-rolling motion; cogwheel rigidity; and shuffling gait. Reassurance and sedation are important. In most cases these symptoms are readily controlled when an anti-parkinsonism agent is administered concomitantly. Anti-parkinsonism agents should be used only when required. Generally, therapy of a few weeks to 2 to 3 months will suffice. After this time patients should be evaluated to determine their need for continued treatment. (Note: Levodopa has not been found effective in pseudo-parkinsonism.) Occasionally it is necessary to lower the dosage of Stelazine (trifluoperazine HCl) or to discontinue the drug.
Tardive Dyskinesia: As with all antipsychotic agents, tardive dyskinesia may appear in some patients on long-term therapy or may appear after drug therapy has been discontinued. The syndrome can also develop, although much less frequently, after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses. This syndrome appears in all age groups. Although its prevalence appears to be highest among elderly patients, especially elderly women, it is impossible to rely upon prevalence estimates to predict at the inception of antipsychotic treatment which patients are likely to develop the syndrome. The symptoms are persistent and in some patients appear to be irreversible. The syndrome is characterized by rhythmical involuntary movements of the tongue, face, mouth or jaw (e.g., protrusion of tongue, puffing of cheeks, puckering of mouth, chewing movements). Sometimes these may be accompanied by involuntary movements of extremities. In rare instances, these involuntary movements of the extremities are the only manifestations of tardive dyskinesia. A variant of tardive dyskinesia, tardive dystonia, has also been described.
There is no known effective treatment for tardive dyskinesia; anti-parkinsonism agents do not alleviate the symptoms of this syndrome. If clinically feasible, it is suggested that all antipsychotic agents be discontinued if these symptoms appear. Should it be necessary to reinstitute treatment, or increase the dosage of the agent, or switch to a different antipsychotic agent, the syndrome may be masked.
It has been reported that fine vermicular movements of the tongue may be an early sign of the syndrome and if the medication is stopped at that time the syndrome may not develop.
Adverse Reactions Reported with Stelazine (trifluoperazine HCl) or Other Phenothiazine Derivatives: Adverse effects with different phenothiazines vary in type, frequency, and mechanism of occurrence, i.e., some are dose-related, while others involve individual patient sensitivity. Some adverse effects may be more likely to occur, or occur with greater intensity, in patients with special medical problems, e.g., patients with mitral insufficiency or pheochromocytoma have experienced severe hypotension following recommended doses of certain phenothiazines.
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) has been reported in association with antipsychotic drugs. (See WARNINGS.)
Not all of the following adverse reactions have been observed with every phenothiazine derivative, but they have been reported with one or more and should be borne in mind when drugs of this class are administered: extrapyramidal symptoms (opisthotonos, oculogyric crisis, hyperreflexia, dystonia, akathisia, dyskinesia, parkinsonism) some of which have lasted months and even years-particularly in elderly patients with previous brain damage; grand mal and petit mal convulsions, particularly in patients with EEG abnormalities or history of such disorders; altered cerebrospinal fluid proteins; cerebral edema; intensification and prolongation of the action of central nervous system depressants (opiates, analgesics, antihistamines, barbiturates, alcohol), atropine, heat, organophosphorus insecticides; autonomic reactions (dryness of mouth, nasal congestion, headache, nausea, constipation, obstipation, adynamic ileus, ejaculatory disorders/impotence, priapism, atonic colon, urinary retention, miosis and mydriasis); reactivation of psychotic processes, catatonic-like states; hypotension (sometimes fatal); cardiac arrest; blood dyscrasias (pancytopenia, thrombocytopenic purpura, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, eosinophilia, hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia); liver damage (jaundice, biliary stasis); endocrine disturbances (hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, glycosuria, lactation, galactorrhea, gynecomastia, menstrual irregularities, false-positive pregnancy tests); skin disorders (photosensitivity, itching, erythema, urticaria, eczema up to exfoliative dermatitis); other allergic reactions (asthma, laryngeal edema, angioneurotic edema, anaphylactoid reactions); peripheral edema; reversed epinephrine effect; hyperpyrexia; mild fever after large I.M. doses; increased appetite; increased weight; a systemic lupus erythematosus-like syndrome; pigmentary retinopathy; with prolonged administration of substantial doses, skin pigmentation, epithelial keratopathy, and lenticular and corneal deposits.
EKG changes-particularly nonspecific, usually reversible Q and T wave distortions-have been observed in some patients receiving phenothiazine antipsychotics. Although phenothiazines cause neither psychic nor physical dependence, sudden discontinuance in long-term psychiatric patients may cause temporary symptoms, e.g., nausea and vomiting, dizziness, tremulousness.
Note: There have been occasional reports of sudden death in patients receiving phenothiazines. In some cases, the cause appeared to be cardiac arrest or asphyxia due to failure of the cough reflex.
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Stelazine (Trifluoperazine)
Additional Stelazine Information
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