Fluphenazine

Fluphenazine is one of many drugs called phenothiazines. It is a type of antipsychotic medication and is one of the older neuroleptics. Brand names for this medication are Prolixin® and Permitil®.

What it’s used to treat

Like all the antipsychotic medications, fluphenazine is primarily used to treat schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, such as delusional disorder.

How it works

Like other drugs in this category, fluphenazine works on neurotransmitters in the brain. An overproduction of these brain chemicals are believed to play a role in the psychotic symptoms which are part of schizophrenia.

How it’s administered

Fluphenazine can be taken in tablet or liquid forms. It is also available as both a rapid-acting injection as well as a long-acting injection.

Potential Side Effects

As with all neuroleptics, fluphenazine has many potential side effects. Some are fairly mild and merely cause discomfort, while others can be very serious. Some of the more common side effects of fluphenazine include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Rash
  • Light-headedness
  • Menstrual disruptions in women
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Weakness or some degree of loss of control in the muscles
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulties moving or walking
  • Parkinson’s symptoms (such as drooling, shakiness, shuffling)

Like many neuroleptics, taking fluphenazine may lead to the development of tardive dyskinesia. It may also occasionally cause neuroleptic malignant syndrome, which is a very serious and potentially fatal side effect.

Precautions

As with any medication, you need to let your doctor know of any history of drug allergies or medical problems before taking fluphenazine, particularly kidney or heart disease, lung disorders, seizures or glaucoma. Also, a history of depression may be problematic with this medication. Caution must be used if pregnant of nursing.

written by Dr. Cheryl Lane, PsyD


schizophrenia