Compazine

Generic Name

prochlorperazine
(proh klor PER a zeen)

 

Trade Name

Compazine  (5 mg tablets,10 mg tablets, 25 mg tablets, 10 mg capsules, 15 mg capsules, 30 mg capsules )
This drug is available in a generic form.

 

What is prochlorperazine?

This drug is a phenothiazine which is a category of drugs used to treat certain mental disorders. However, the effect of prochlorperazine in this area is very mild. Rather, the drug’s main and beneficial effect is on the nausea and vomiting center of the brain.

 

What is it used for?

In gastroenterology, the drug is used primarily to treat the symptoms of nausea and vomiting which may occur from many conditions.

 

How do I take it?

Follow your physician’s instructions carefully. Do not crush or chew the sustained release capsules. The tablets may be crushed and sprinkled on soft food if swallowing is difficult. It may be taken on an empty stomach or with food or milk. Keep all medications away from children. Never share your medications with anyone else.

 

What do I do for a missed dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and return to the regular schedule. Do not double up on this medicine.

 

Are there interactions with food or beverages?

Avoid alcohol while taking this drug. Prochlorperazine increases the sedative and intoxicating effect of alcohol.

 

Are there interactions with other drugs?

An interaction generally means that one drug may increase or decrease the effect of another drug. Also, the more medications a person takes, the more likely there will be a drug interaction.

Interactions with this drug may occur with the following:

  • antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium
  • blood thinners (Coumadin)
  • antiseizure drugs (Dilantin, Tegretol)
  • guanethidine
  • lithium
  • narcotic pain medication (Percocet, Vicodin)
  • sedatives (Xanax, Valium, Halcion)
  • propranolol (Inderal)
  • thiazide diuretics (Dyazide, HCTZ)

 

Is there a problem if I have another disorder or disease?

At times, a drug may have a different or enhanced effect when other diseases are present. At other times, the drug may worsen or effect another disease. Do not take the drug if tardive dyskinesia has previously occurred. This is a neurological disorder with spasms and twitching of the face and arms.

Alert your physician if you have had the following:

  • blood cell or bone marrow disorder
  • seizures or convulsions
  • diabetes
  • glaucoma
  • lupus erythematosus
  • prostate problems

 

What about allergies?

People who have known allergies or asthma may be at an increased risk for a reaction from any new medication. The physician should always know a patient’s allergy history. Signs of an allergic reaction are itching, hives, skin rash or low grade fever. Of course, a person should not take prochlorperazine if there has been a previous reaction to this or a similar drug.

 

What if I’m pregnant, considering pregnancy or breast-feeding?

Most females now know that, if possible, no drug, including alcohol, should be taken during pregnancy or lactation. The potential danger, of course, is an injury to the baby. However, some drugs are much safer than others in this regard. So, the FDA has a grading system for each drug which reflects what is known medically. It ranks drugs from A, where medical studies show no evidence for danger to the fetus or mother, to B, C, D and X, where the medical evidence indicates that the risk to the fetus outweighs any benefit to the mother. Prochlorperazine is ranked C. Always consult your physician before taking any drug during or when planning pregnancy.

 

What are the effects on sexual function?

In females, the prolonged use of prochlorperazine can alter menstrual patterns and cause breast enlargement with milk production. Males can also experience breast enlargement or tenderness, inhibited ejaculation and priapism (abnormal continued erection). The drug can also cause false pregnancy test results.

 

Are there other precautions?

This drug may cause drowsiness so observe caution while driving or performing other tasks requiring alertness. Use caution in very hot weather as this drug may increase your susceptibility to heat stroke. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, use sun blocks and wear protective clothing. Your eyes may also become light sensitive so it may be necessary to wear sunglasses. The liquid form of this drug is also sensitive to the light. Keep it in an opaque bottle. Use immediately after diluting. Avoid skin contact with liquid preparations as skin irritation may occur.

 

How long is it safe to take prochlorperazine?

You may need to take the drug for 12 to 24 hours to determine if it is effective. After prolonged or high dose therapy, there can be symptoms with sudden withdrawal. This can be avoided by gradual dose reduction. Otherwise, there are no known problems with long-term use.

 

How about side effects?

Adverse reactions can occur with any drug, even over-the-counter medications. Some of these are mild such as a stomach upset, which may be avoided by taking the medication with food. Minor reactions may go away on their own but if they persist, contact the physician. For major reactions, the patient should contact the physician immediately. If dizziness or fainting occurs, avoid sudden changes in posture.

For prochlorperazine, the following are the observed side effects:

Minor:

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • blurred vision
  • nasal congestion
  • fast heartbeat
  • constipation
  • altered menstrual pattern
  • difficult urination
  • rash
  • urine discoloration (pink or reddish brown)

Major:

  • muscle spasms
  • involuntary movements
  • tremors
  • fainting
  • sore throat
  • yellow color to skin or eyes
  • fever

 

A physician’s comment…

Prochlorperazine is a very old drug which still has uses in mild to moderate symptoms. However, the severe nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy tends to be poorly responsive to this drug. Taking prochlorperazine long-term or mixing it with other sedative drugs should be avoided.