What is perphenazine?

Perphenazine is an anti-psychotic medication in a group of drugs called phenothiazines (FEEN-oh-THYE-a-zeens). It works by changing the actions of chemicals in your brain.

Perphenazine is used to treat psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. It is also used to control severe nausea and vomiting.

Perphenazine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Precautions

Perphenazine is not for use in psychotic conditions related to dementia. Perphenazine may cause heart failure, sudden death, or pneumonia in older adults with dementia-related conditions.

You should not use perphenazine if you have liver disease, brain damage, bone marrow depression, a blood cell disorder (such as low platelets or low red or white blood cell counts), or if you are also using large amounts of alcohol or medicines that make you sleepy. You also should not use this medication if you are allergic to perphenazine or other phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Permitil), prochlorperazine (Compazine, Compro), promethazine (Adgan, Pentazine, Phenergan), thioridazine (Mellaril), or trifluoperazine (Stelazine).

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication. Before you take perphenazine, tell your doctor if you have:

  • severe or untreated depression;
  • heart disease or high blood pressure;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • severe asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problem;
  • a history of seizures;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • past or present breast cancer;
  • adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma);
  • enlarged prostate or urination problems;
  • low levels of calcium in your blood (hypocalcemia);
  • glaucoma; or
  • if you have ever had a serious side effect while using perphenazine or another phenothiazine.

Tell your doctor if you will be exposed to extreme heat or cold, or to insecticide poisons while you are taking perphenazine.

It is not known whether perphenazine is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Perphenazine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Older adults may be more likely to have side effects from this medication.

Perphenazine can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert. Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of perphenazine.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Perphenazine can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, and a sunburn may result. Wear sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) and protective clothing if you must be outdoors.

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Instructions

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Overdose symptoms may include dry mouth, constipation, bloating or stomach cramps, extreme drowsiness, dizziness, fast or pounding heartbeat; uncontrollable muscle movements, fainting, and seizure (convulsions).

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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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 perphenazine 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;
  • confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • decreased night vision, tunnel vision, watery eyes, increased sensitivity to light;
  • nausea and stomach pain, skin rash, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • high fever, stiff muscles, confusion, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats, rapid breathing;
  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, fever, sore throat, flu symptoms;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • 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;
  • blurred vision, headache;
  • sleep problems (insomnia), strange dreams;
  • constipation;
  • dry mouth or stuffy nose;
  • breast swelling or discharge;
  • changes in your menstrual periods;
  • weight gain, swelling in your hands or feet;
  • impotence, trouble having an orgasm; or
  • mild itching or skin rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Interactions

Cold or allergy medicine, sedatives, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression or anxiety can interact with perphenazine and cause medical problems or increase side effects. Tell your doctor if you regularly use any of these medicines, or any other anti-psychotic medications.

Also tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • atropine (Atreza, Sal-Tropine);
  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid);
  • gefitinib (Iressa), imatinib (Gleevec), or nilotinib (Tasigna);
  • an antibiotic;
  • birth control pills or hormone replacement estrogens;
  • blood pressure medication;
  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin);
  • certain asthma medications or bronchodilators;
  • heart rhythm medication;
  • HIV or AIDS medications;
  • incontinence medications;
  • insulin or diabetes medications you take by mouth;
  • medication for nausea, vomiting, or motion sickness;
  • medications to treat or prevent malaria;
  • medications used for general anesthesia;
  • medicines used to prevent organ transplant rejection;
  • numbing medicine such as lidocaine or Novocain;
  • a stimulant or ADHD medication;
  • ulcer or irritable bowel medications; or
  • medicines to treat Parkinson's disease, restless leg syndrome, or pituitary gland tumor (prolactinoma).

This list is not complete and there are many other medicines that can interact with perphenazine. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.

Other Names

Trilafon and perphenazine

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Disclaimer

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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