Stelazine® (Trifluoperazine hydrochloride)

Brand Name: Stelazine®
Generic name: Trifluoperazine hydrochloride

Pronounced: TRY-flue-oh-pear-ah-zine

Why is Trifluoperazine hydrochloride prescribed?

Trifluoperazine is used for the treatment of schizophrenia (severe disruptions in thought and perception). It is also prescribed for anxiety that does not respond to ordinary tranquilizers.
Most important fact about Trifluoperazine hydrochloride

Trifluoperazine may cause tardive dyskinesia–a condition marked by involuntary muscle spasms and twitches in the face and body. This condition may be permanent and appears to be most common among the elderly, especially women. Ask your doctor for information about this possible risk.
How should you take Trifluoperazine hydrochloride?

If taking trifluoperazine in a liquid concentrate form, you will need to dilute it with a liquid such as a carbonated beverage, coffee, fruit juice, milk, tea, tomato juice, or water. You can also use puddings, soups, and other semisolid foods. Trifluoperazine should be diluted just before you take it.

You should not take trifluoperazine with alcohol.

–If you miss a dose…

If you take 1 dose a day, take the dose you missed as soon as you remember. Then go back to your regular schedule. If you do not remember until the next day, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule.

If you take more than 1 dose a day, take the dose you missed if it is within an hour or so of the scheduled time. If you do not remember until later, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

–Storage instructions…

Store at room temperature. Protect the concentrate from light.
Trifluoperazine hydrochloride side effects

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking trifluoperazine.

* Side effects may include:
Blood disorders, convulsions, dry mouth, headache, muscle stiffness or rigidity, nausea, restlessness, Parkinson’s–like movements, tardive dyskinesia (see “Most important fact about Trifluoperazine hydrochloride”)

Why should Trifluoperazine hydrochloride not be prescribed?

You should not be using trifluoperazine if you have liver damage, or if you are taking central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, barbiturates, or narcotic pain relievers. Trifluoperazine should not be used if you have an abnormal bone marrow or blood condition.
Special warnings about Trifluoperazine hydrochloride

You should use trifluoperazine cautiously if you have ever had a brain tumor, breast cancer, intestinal blockage, the eye condition called glaucoma, heart or liver disease, or seizures. Be cautious, too, if you are exposed to certain pesticides or extreme heat. Be aware that trifluoperazine may hide the signs of overdose of other drugs and may make it more difficult for your doctor to diagnose intestinal obstruction, brain tumor, and the dangerous neurological condition called Reye’s syndrome.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any major tranquilizer similar to trifluoperazine.

Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and tremors can result if you suddenly stop taking trifluoperazine. Follow your doctor’s instructions when discontinuing Trifluoperazine hydrochloride.

Tell your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as a fever or sore throat, mouth, or gums. These signs of infection may signal the need to stop trifluoperazine treatment. Notify your doctor, too, if you develop flu-like symptoms with fever.

Trifluoperazine can cause Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), a dangerous–and possibly life-threatening–condition marked by high body temperature, rigid muscles, irregular pulse or blood pressure, rapid or abnormal heartbeat, excessive sweating, and high fever. Seek medical attention immediately if you develop any of these symptoms.

This drug may impair your ability to drive a car or operate potentially dangerous machinery, especially during the first few days of treatment. Do not participate in any activities that require full alertness if you are unsure about your ability.

If you have any trouble with your vision, tell your doctor. Trifluoperazine has been known to cause vision problems.

Trifluoperazine concentrate contains a sulfite that may cause allergic reactions in some people, especially in those with asthma.
Possible food and drug interactions when taking Trifluoperazine hydrochloride

Extreme drowsiness and other potentially serious effects can result if trifluoperazine is combined with alcohol, tranquilizers such as Valium, narcotic painkillers such as Percocet, antihistamines such as Benadryl, and barbiturates such as phenobarbital.

If trifluoperazine is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining trifluoperazine with the following:

Antiseizure drugs such as Dilantin
Atropine (Donnatal)
Blood thinners such as Coumadin
Lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith)
Propranolol (Inderal)
Thiazide diuretics such as Dyazide
Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Pregnant women should use trifluoperazine only if clearly needed. The effects of trifluoperazine during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Trifluoperazine appears in breast milk and may affect a nursing infant. If Trifluoperazine hydrochloride is essential to your health, your doctor may have you discontinue breastfeeding while you are taking it.
Recommended dosage for Trifluoperazine hydrochloride


Nonpsychotic Anxiety

Doses usually range from 2 to 4 milligrams daily. This amount should be divided into 2 equal doses and taken twice a day. Do not take more than 6 milligrams a day or take Trifluoperazine hydrochloride for more than 12 weeks.


The usual starting dose is 4 to 10 milligrams a day, divided into 2 equal doses; doses range from 15 to 40 milligrams daily.


Doses are based on the child’s weight and the severity of his or her symptoms.

Schizophrenia in Children 6 to 12 Years Old Who Are Closely Monitored or Hospitalized

The starting dose is 1 milligram a day, taken all at once or divided into 2 doses. Your doctor will increase the dosage gradually, up to 15 milligrams a day.


Older people usually take trifluoperazine at lower doses. Because you may develop low blood pressure while taking Trifluoperazine hydrochloride, your doctor will watch you closely. Older people (especially older women) may be more susceptible to tardive dyskinesia–a possibly permanent condition characterized by involuntary muscle spasms and twitches in the face and body. Consult your doctor for information about these potential risks.

Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose of trifluoperazine, seek medical help immediately.

* Symptoms of trifluoperazine overdose may include:
Agitation, coma, convulsions, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, extreme sleepiness, fever, intestinal blockage, irregular heart rate, low blood pressure, restlessness

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