Thioridazine

Brand names of thioridazine

  • Apo-Thioridazine
  • Mellaril
  • Mellaril-S
  • Millazine
  • Novo-Ridazine
  • PMS-Thioridazine
  • SK-Thioridazine

Thioridazine belongs to the class of drugs known as phenothiazines. An anti-psychotic medication, thioridazine acts by means of altering the activities of chemicals present within the brain. This medication is employed to cure psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia. Normally, thioridazine is prescribed when all other medicines that have been tried by the patient failed to yield the desired results, especially in curing schizophrenia.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking thioridazine

Like in the case of using any other prescription drug, prior to starting treatment with thioridazine, you need to tell your physician or pharmacist whether you have any allergic reactions to this medication, any of its ingredients, any other phenothiazines (for instance, chlorpromazine), or have any other types of allergy. Thioridazine may enclose a number of inactive ingredients that may possibly cause allergic reactions or result in additional health problems. If you are not sure about the ingredients of this medication, ask your pharmacist to provide you with a list of the same.

People enduring specific health conditions should not use thioridazine. Hence, before you start taking this drug, tell your physician or pharmacist if you have a particular serious problem related to the central nervous system (especially, acute CNS depression) and/ or very serious problems related to blood pressure. In addition, never give thioridazine to any patient while he/ she is unconscious.

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Prior to using thioridazine, it is important that you tell your physician everything about your medical history, particularly if you have or have ever had specific problems related to the blood (for instance, a low count of white blood cell); a history of seizures; Parkinson's disease; and/ or low enzymes that are necessary to get the body rid of the drugs.

Before you start taking thioridazine, you ought to be aware of the fact that taking this medication may result in a condition that changes the heart rhythm (a condition known as QT prolongation). People suffering from this condition may sporadically be susceptible to severe, seldom fatal, rapid anomalous heartbeat as well as additional symptoms, including acute dizziness and fainting which may necessitate instant medical aid. The risk of developing QT prolongation is likely to be augmented provided you already suffer from specific medical conditions or are taking additional medications, which may possibly have an effect on the heart rhythm. Hence, it is advisable that prior to beginning treatment with thioridazine, it is important that you inform your physician or pharmacist whether you suffer from specific health conditions, including a family history of problems related to the heart (for instance, sudden cardiac death, QT prolongation in the EKG) and/ or specific heart disorders (such as slow heartbeat, heart failure, QT prolongation in the EKG).

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Poor levels of magnesium or potassium in the bloodstream are also likely to augment the risk of developing QT prolongation. In addition, the risk may also be augmented in case you are using specific drugs, for instance diuretics, also called 'water pills'; or if you are suffering from health conditions like profuse sweating, severe diarrhea or vomiting. Therefore, you need to consult your physician regarding the safe use of thioridazine.

However, you should never stop taking this medication without consulting your physician or taking his/ her consent, as discontinuing with this drug all of a sudden may result in several serious side effects and may also aggravate some of your conditions.

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Using thioridazine may possibly make you feel lightheaded or drowsy. Therefore, it is advisable that you should not undertake any task that requires alertness and clear vision till you are confirmed about the effect of this drug on you as well as if you can accomplish these activities safely. In order to lessen the dizziness and nausea, you need to get up slowly while standing up from a seated or lying position. People taking this medication ought to essentially restrict their consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Thioridazine has the potential to make you further susceptible to sunlight; therefore, you need to exercise caution to keep away from prolonged exposure to the sun, sunlamps and avoid tanning booths. Additionally, you will benefit if you use any good sunscreen and also wear protective clothes when you are going outdoors.

In case you require undergoing any surgery, including dental surgery, you should tell your surgeon or dentist that you are already taking thioridazine.

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Elderly people who are taking thioridazine should exercise additional caution because they are more susceptible to the side effects of this medication and may particularly experience heart problems, difficulty in passing urine as well as drowsiness.

This medication should be given to pregnant women when it is absolutely necessary for their condition. It is advisable that before using thioridazine, pregnant women should talk to their physician regarding the benefits and risks of using this medication. It is worth mentioning here that babies who are born to mothers who have been taking this medication during the final three months of their pregnancy are likely to occasionally develop a number of symptoms, such as drowsiness, difficulties in feeding and/ or breathing, rigidity of the muscles, tremors and/ or persistent crying. Call your physician right away provided you notice any of these symptoms in your newborn on any occasion during the first month.

Since it is yet to be ascertained whether thioridazine passes onto the breast milk, new mothers taking this drug should consult their physician prior to breast-feeding.

Usage

Thioridazine is used to cure restrained to acute psychiatric conditions, such as manic conditions, schizophrenia, depression, nervousness, sleep disorders as well as psychosis produced by medications. In addition, this medication is also prescribed for treating severe behaviour disorders in children, in addition to anxiety and bewilderment in older adults.

How to use thioridazine

Thioridazine is available in tablet form and is taken orally with or without food. Usually, this medication is taken once every day. Alternately, you may also take thioridazine as per the instructions of your physician. The dosage of this phenothiazine is essentially dependent on the patient's medical condition as well as response to the treatment. When you have taken this medication for a while your condition improves and you start feeling better, your physician may ask you to lessen the normal dosage of the medication over a period of time. However, you should never stop taking thioridazine all of a sudden or even lower the dosage of the medication without consulting and seeking the consent of your physician. If you stop taking this medication suddenly, it is possible that a number of your symptoms may deteriorate further. Hence, it is advisable that you reduce the dosage gradually before discontinuing with the medication totally.

In order to obtain the utmost benefit from using thioridazine, it is important that you use this medicine on a regular basis. In order to remember taking thioridazine, you may take the medication at the same time every day. In case your condition persists or deteriorates further even after starting treatment with thioridazine, you should contact your physician right away.

How thioridazine works

The drug thioridazine works by obstructing the dopamine receptors present in the central nervous system (CNS). Dopamine is a chemical that helps in transmitting signals from the nerves in the brain to different parts of the body. It is understood that the use of thioridazine causes a sedative as well as anti-psychotic action.

Side effects

Serious:
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty swallowing
  • heartbeat
  • neck stiffness
  • neuroleptic malignant syndrome characterized by spasms or stiffness of the muscles, high fever, and disorientation or confusion
  • profuse sweating
  • seizures
  • swelling of the tongue
Common:
  • constipation
  • decreased sweating
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • faintness
  • nasal congestion
  • stiffness
  • trembling or shaking of the hands
Less common:

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
As the combined use of thioridazine and the herb St. John's wort is likely to further deteriorate sensitivity to sunlight, it is advisable that people taking this phenothiazine should exercise additional caution. Use of other herbs like valerian and kava together with thioridazine may make the drowsiness - a side effect of using this medication - worse. As the herb ginseng may partially work akin to an MAO inhibitor, is it advisable not to use this herb in conjunction with thioridazine.
If you are using thioridazine for a prolonged period, it may be necessary to take a riboflavin supplement. In addition, taking vitamin E is likely to assist in lessening the risks of developing disorders related to movements. However, before you include any of these herbs in the list of your medicines, it is important that you consult your physician and seek his/ her consent.
Alcohol:
Consumption of alcoholic beverages while taking thioridazine may enhance the tranquilizing action of phenothiazines. In addition, this medication may heighten its depressant actions on the functioning of the brain as well as blood pressure. You ought to always bear in mind that simultaneous use of alcohol and thioridazine may enhance the inebriating effects.
Tobacco smoking:
If people taking thioridazine continue to smoke tobacco it may result in lessening stupor caused by this medication.
Marijuana smoking:
Smoking marijuana along with taking thioridazine may increase the drowsiness reasonably, while heightening orthostatic hypotension. In addition, it may also enhance the risks of hastening potential psychoses resulting in confusion in the analysis of the mental condition as well as the response to the therapy.
Exposure to heat:
It is advisable that if you are taking thioridazine to treat psychiatric disorders you need to exercise caution and make your best efforts to keep away from being exposed to extreme heat. Use of this medication may possibly harm the regulation of your body temperature as well as enhance the chances of having a heatstroke.
Exposure to cold:
Aged people using thioridazine should exercise additional caution as this medication may augment the risks of developing hypothermia.
Exposure to sun:
People taking thioridazine ought to exercise caution while going out in the sunlight, as some medicines belonging to the class of drugs called phenothiazines may result in photosensitivity.

Discontinuation

Following a prolonged use, it is not advisable that you stop taking thioridazine all of a sudden and without consulting your physician. It is recommended that when you do not require taking this medication any longer, you should gradually decrease its dosage over a period of anything between two and three weeks under the supervision of your physician and then discontinue with it totally. It is essential to seek the consent of your physician prior to discontinuing thioridazine.

Storage instructions

Thioridazine should always be stored in the container in which it came. Seal the lid of the container securely and keep it in a place that is beyond the reach of children. In addition, you need to store this medication at room temperature and at a place that is away from too much heat and dampness. Never keep this medication in your bathroom. Whenever any medication becomes outdated or is needed no longer you should discard it in a safe and proper manner. If necessary, talk to your pharmacist or any local waste disposal company regarding the safe disposal of unwanted medicines.

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