Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013


Chlorpromazine is part of a group of drugs used to treat psychotic symptoms.


Chlorpromazine is the active ingredient of Largactil.

General Information

Chlorpromazine is part of a group of drugs used to treat psychotic symptoms. Conditions for which it may be prescribed include schizophrenia, manic states and behavioural disturbances. Due to its highly sedative effect, it is useful in treating violent, agitated patients.

It is also caused to treat severe, prolonged cases of hiccups.

Chlorpromazine may cause the skin to be more sensitive towards sunlight. Prolonged sun exposure should be avoided, as skin discoloration may occur.

How does chlorpromazine work?

Psychotic illness is thought to be partly caused by over-activity of various neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly dopamine. Chlorpromazine reduces the effect of these neurotransmitters.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 5

Available as: Chlorpromazine is available as tablets, syrup and injection.

What does it do? Chlorpromazine has an anti-psychotic and sedative action.

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Is chlorpromazine available as a generic? No

Is chlorpromazine available on prescription only ? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: Within 60 minutes of oral dose

Duration of action: Up to 12 hours

Stopping this medicine: Do not discontinue this medication without consulting your doctor, as symptoms may recur with premature stoppage.

Prolonged use: Prolonged use may cause movement disorders.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug:

  • if you have kidney or liver disease
  • if you have or had heart disorders
  • if you have glaucoma
  • if you have phaeochromocytoma
  • if you have epilepsy
  • if you have Parkinson's disease
  • If you have a thyroid disorder
  • if you have asthma
  • if you are taking other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: This medication is safe to use.

Infants and children: Safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established for children under the age of 1.

Elderly: Caution is advised in the elderly, as side-effects may be more severe

Driving and hazardous work: Caution is advised, as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication, as sedative effects may be increased.

Possible side effects

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases




Low blood pressure



Dry mouth / constipation






Blurred vision



Dizziness / fainting



Rash / itchy skin



Yellow tinge to eyes / skin



Movement disorders




Drug interactions


Reduced effect of Chlorpromazine

Medication for high blood pressure

Blood pressure may be further lowered.

Medication for Parkinson's disease

Reduced efficacy of drugs for Parkinsonism and worsening of symptoms


Effect of both barbiturate and chlorpromazine reduced

Alcohol, benzodiazepines, antihistamines

Increased sedative effects

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

Effect of both TCA and chlorpromazine increased - Potential side effects

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have kidney or liver disease, have or had heart disorders, glaucoma, phaeochromocytoma, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, a thyroid disorder, or if you have asthma.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include severe drowsiness and abnormal heart rhythms.

Recommended dosage


25 mg 3 times daily until symptoms are controlled. The drug is then given as a single bedtime dose. The daily dose may range from 75 - 300 mg.

Hiccups: 25-50 mg 3-4 times daily


0.5mg/kg every 4-6 hours

Interesting fact

Chlorpromazine may reduce control of the heat-regulating centre in the brain, and those taking chlorpromazine should avoid exposure to excessive heat or cold.


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