Trifluoperazine

Brand names of trifluoperazine

  • Apo-Trifluoperazine
  • Novo-Flurazine
  • PMS-Trifluoperazine
  • Solazine
  • Stelabid
  • Terfluzine
  • Trifluoperazine

Trifluoperazine is a psychiatric medication and belongs to the class of medicines known as phenothiazine antipsychotics. Mental or mood disorders like schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are treated with trifluoperazine when natural substances in the brain have lost their balance.

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Trifluoperazine reduces aggressive behavior and the desire to inflict pain on oneself and others by helping to think with clarity. The patient feels less helpless and more willing to take part in day to day life. Hallucinatory images and sounds seen because of mental illness can also be reduced with trifluoperazine.

Things you need to tell your physician before taking trifluoperazine

The doctor must know if you are allergic to trifluoperazine or any other medications. You need to list out the prescribed and non-prescribed remedies you might be taking or plan to take like vitamins, nutritional substances and herbal products. Specify especially if you are taking any of the following anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin) which are blood thinners. Also to be mentioned are antidepressants, antihistamines, atropine, barbiturates, diuretics, medications for anxiety, mental disease, motion sickness beside medicine for irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson's disease, urinary problems and ulcers.

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If you are on narcotic based medicines for pain or medicine for seizures such as phenytoin (Dilantin), your doctor should be told and also if you are on sedatives, sleeping pills or tranquilizers. This comprehensive list is required as the doctor may have to change the dosage of your medications or monitor you for side effects.
For some conditions like liver disease and any condition where the bone marrow affects the production of blood cells your doctor would advise you against taking trifluoperazine. Mention also if you have had or are suffering from a tumour in a small gland near the kidney known as pheochromocytoma, or breast cancer. If you suffer from gradual loss of vision due to glaucoma or have seizures, chest pain and heart disease your doctor should know.

Other conditions that the doctor needs to know about before you begin treatment with trifluoperazine are if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you do become pregnant while on this medication inform your doctor right away. If you are headed for a surgery, even a dental one, your surgeon and dentist both need to know you are on this drug. If a myelogram is scheduled, the doctor and the radiographer should be told you are on the medication before the x-ray of the spine is taken. You will probably be advised not to take trifluoperazine 2 days prior to the x-ray and one day after the myelogram.

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The doctor should be told if you work with insecticides like organophosphorus or if you have suffered side-effects from any other medication for mental illness. Sometimes at the start of the treatment trifluoperazine can cause drowsiness and in case of such an occurrence you must avoid driving a car or operating machinery. Another precaution to be considered is to avoid the sun or use sunscreen, sunglasses and protective clothing if you need to be in the sun for long; for this medication can cause skin sensitivity. Vigorous exercising and exposure to heat should also be avoided as trifluoperazine makes it hard for the body to cool down quickly. Full precautions need to be taken if you have alcohol during treatment as it could result in some side-effects becoming worse with alcohol.

Any person who handles the medication must avoid touching the tablets directly as trifluoperazine can develop skin rashes.

Usage

Trifluoperazine is taken for certain mental disorders like schizophrenia. Fuzzy thoughts, unclear perceptions or emotions are some characteristics of this psychotic condition.

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The medication is sometimes used to treat anxiety though its use can be avoided as other drugs used to treat anxiety are much safer than trifluoperazine. Nausea and vomiting are also treated with this drug sometimes.

How to use trifluoperazine

Trifluoperazine is usually taken once or twice a day in the form of a tablet that is swallowed down with water. The directions on the prescription label should be followed exactly and if there is confusion get the pharmacist to explain the prescription to you. The tablet must be taken at the same time everyday and also as directed for taking too much of it or too less could not have the desired result.

Usually the doctor begins with a low dose and any increase is gradual. If your symptoms are controlled enough the doctor can also decrease the dose.

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Do not stop taking the medication without talking it over with the doctor even if you feel well because trifluoperazine does not cure the mental condition only controls the symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, shakiness and dizziness could be experienced if trifluoperazine is suddenly stopped. If your doctor deems it fit he will allow for a gradual decrease in the medication.

Any medication side-effects you notice on first taking trifluoperazine will disappear soon and within 2 to 3 weeks you will begin to feel better. To get the full benefits of the medication it must be taken regularly. However if your condition worsens or shows no improvement then consult the doctor again.

How trifluoperazine works

Dopamine, a chemical that transmits impulses to the nerves is blocked by trifluoperazine in the central nervous system. This produces a tranquilizing effect on the mind reducing the psychotic condition.

Side effects

Serious:
  • confusion
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty swallowing
  • disorientation
  • high fever
  • neck stiffness
  • rapid heartbeat
  • seizures
  • sweating
  • swelling of the tongue
Common:
Less common:

Possible interactions

Drowsiness could worsen with herbal treatment like kava kava and valerian. Kola and ma huang could reverse the calming effect of trifluoperazine. Ginseng partly works as an MAO inhibitor and so it is best avoided when in combination with trifluoperazine. With a long term use of trifluoperazine a riboflavin (vitamin B2) supplement is recommended and vitamin E lowers movement disorders.

Beverages with caffeine could somewhat reduce the tranquilizing effect of this medicine. Alcohol together with phenothiazines like trifluoperazine, induce a sedative reaction and can cause depressed brain functions and lowered blood pressure. The intoxicating effects of alcohol can increase too.

Smoking tobacco shows no reaction but marijuana causes moderate drowsiness and orthostatic hypotension is accentuated. Any latent psychosis could be triggered off along with a confused mental state and could cause reactions to medications.

Avoid both heat as well as cold. Trifluoperazine could weaken the mechanisms that regulate body temperature and so a heatstroke could occur. Patients should avoid exposure to the cold as this medication can cause hypothermia in older patients. It can also cause photosensitivity to the sun.

Discontinuation

It is best not to stop the medicine abruptly as it could lead to recurrence of schizophrenia. A gradual withdrawal, spanning several weeks is ideal especially after long term usage.

Storage instructions

Keep trifluoperazine out of reach of children in the same container as it came in. Make sure the lid is tight enough to prevent heat and moisture getting in. Do not store the medicine in the bathroom and dispose unused medicine that is outdated in accordance with the pharmacist's suggestions.

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