Chlorpromazine hydrochloride is indicated for the treatment of psychotic disorders, of schizophrenia, of nausea and vomiting, of restlessness and apprehension before surgery, of manic episodes, of intractable hiccups, and of severe behavioral problems in children.
CHLORPROMAZINE HYDROCHLORIDE- chlorpromazine hydrochloride tablet, film coated
Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Analyses of seventeen placebo-controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks), largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times the risk of death in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared to a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature. Observational studies suggest that, similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs, treatment with conventional antipsychotic drugs may increase mortality. The extent to which the findings of increased mortality in observational studies may be attributed to the antipsychotic drug as opposed to some characteristic(s) of the patients is not clear. Chlorpromazine hydrochloride is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis (see WARNINGS).
Chlorpromazine hydrochloride, a dimethylamine derivative of phenothiazine, has a chemical formula of 2-chloro-10-[3-(dimethylamino)propyl] phenothiazine monohydrochloride. It is available in tablets for oral administration. It has the following structural formula:
Chlorpromazine hydrochloride occurs as white or slightly creamy white, odorless, crystalline powder which darkens on prolonged exposure to light.
Each tablet, for oral administration, contains 10, 25, 50, 100, or 200 mg chlorpromazine hydrochloride. Inactive ingredients: D & C Red #30 Aluminum Lake, D & C Yellow #10 Aluminum Lake, FD & C Blue #2 Aluminum Lake, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose (monohydrate), magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, povidone, starch (corn), and titanium dioxide. The 50, 100, and 200 mg tablets also contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
The precise mechanism whereby the therapeutic effects of chlorpromazine are produced is not known. The principal pharmacological actions are psychotropic. It also exerts sedative and antiemetic activity. Chlorpromazine has actions at all levels of the central nervous system – primarily at subcortical levels – as well as on multiple organ systems. Chlorpromazine has strong antiadrenergic and weaker peripheral anticholinergic activity; ganglionic blocking action is relatively slight. It also possesses slight antihistaminic and antiserotonin activity.
For the management of manifestations of psychotic disorders.
For the treatment of schizophrenia.
To control nausea and vomiting.
For relief of restlessness and apprehension before surgery.
For acute intermittent porphyria.
As an adjunct in the treatment of tetanus.
To control the manifestations of the manic type of manic-depressive illness.
For relief of intractable hiccups.
For the treatment of severe behavioral problems in children (1 to 12 years of age) marked by combativeness and/or explosive hyperexcitable behavior (out of proportion to immediate provocations), and in the short-term treatment of hyperactive children who show excessive motor activity with accompanying conduct disorders consisting of some or all of the following symptoms: impulsivity, difficulty sustaining attention, aggressivity, mood lability and poor frustration tolerance.
Do not use in patients with known hypersensitivity to phenothiazines.
Do not use in comatose states or in the presence of large amounts of central nervous system depressants (alcohol, barbiturates, narcotics, etc.).
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Chlorpromazine hydrochloride is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis (see BOXED WARNING).
The extrapyramidal symptoms which can occur secondary to chlorpromazine may be confused with the central nervous system signs of an undiagnosed primary disease responsible for the vomiting; e.g., Reye’s syndrome or other encephalopathy. The use of chlorpromazine and other potential hepatotoxins should be avoided in children and adolescents whose signs and symptoms suggest Reye’s syndrome.
Tardive dyskinesia, a syndrome consisting of potentially irreversible, involuntary, dyskinetic movements may develop in patients treated with antipsychotic drugs. Although the prevalence of the syndrome appears to be highest among the elderly, especially elderly women, it is impossible to rely upon prevalence estimates to predict, at the inception of antipsychotic treatment, which patients are likely to develop the syndrome. Whether antipsychotic drug products differ in their potential to cause tardive dyskinesia is unknown.
Both the risk of developing the syndrome and the likelihood that it will become irreversible are believed to increase as the duration of treatment and the total cumulative dose of antipsychotic drugs administered to the patient increase. However, the syndrome can develop, although much less commonly, after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses.
There is no known treatment for established cases of tardive dyskinesia, although the syndrome may remit, partially or completely, if antipsychotic treatment is withdrawn. Antipsychotic treatment, itself, however, may suppress (or partially suppress) the signs and symptoms of the syndrome and therapy may possibly mask the underlying disease process. The effect that symptomatic suppression has upon the long-term course of the syndrome is unknown.
Given these considerations, antipsychotics should be prescribed in a manner that is most likely to minimize the occurrence of tardive dyskinesia. Chronic antipsychotic treatment should generally be reserved for patients who suffer from a chronic illness that, 1.) is known to respond to antipsychotic drugs, and, 2.) for whom alternative, equally effective, but potentially less harmful treatments are notavailable or appropriate. In patients who do require chronic treatment, the smallest dose and the shortest duration of treatment producing a satisfactory clinical response should be sought. The need for continued treatment should be reassessed periodically.
If signs and symptoms of tardive dyskinesia appear in a patient on antipsychotics, drug discontinuation should be considered. However, some patients may require treatment despite the presence of the syndrome.
A potentially fatal symptom complex sometimes referred to as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) has been reported in association with antipsychotic drugs. Clinical manifestations of NMS are hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status and evidence of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and cardiac dysrhythmias).
The diagnostic evaluation of patients with this syndrome is complicated. In arriving at a diagnosis, it is important to identify cases where the clinical presentation includes both serious medical illness (e.g., pneumonia, systemic infection, etc.) and untreated or inadequately treated extrapyramidal signs and symptoms (EPS). Other important considerations in the differential diagnosis include central anticholinergic toxicity, heat stroke, drug fever and primary central nervous system (CNS) pathology.
The management of NMS should include 1) immediate discontinuation of antipsychotic drugs and other drugs not essential to concurrent therapy, 2) intensive symptomatic treatment and medical monitoring, and 3) treatment of any concomitant serious medical problems for which specific treatments are available. There is no general agreement about specific pharmacological treatment regimens for uncomplicated NMS.
If a patient requires antipsychotic drug treatment after recovery from NMS, the potential reintroduction of drug therapy should be carefully considered. The patient should be carefully monitored, since recurrences of NMS have been reported.
An encephalopathic syndrome (characterized by weakness, lethargy, fever, tremulousness and confusion, extrapyramidal symptoms, leukocytosis, elevated serum enzymes, BUN and FBS) has occurred in a few patients treated with lithium plus an antipsychotic. In some instances, the syndrome was followed by irreversible brain damage. Because of a possible causal relationship between these events and the concomitant administration of lithium and antipsychotics, patients receiving such combined therapy should be monitored closely for early evidence of neurologic toxicity and treatment discontinued promptly if such signs appear. This encephalopathic syndrome may be similar to or the same as neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).
Patients with bone marrow depression or who have previously demonstrated a hypersensitivity reaction (e.g., blood dyscrasias, jaundice) with a phenothiazine should not receive any phenothiazine, including chlorpromazine, unless in the judgment of the physician, the potential benefits of treatment outweigh the possible hazard.
Chlorpromazine may impair mental and/or physical abilities, especially during the first few days of therapy. Therefore, caution patients about activities requiring alertness (e.g., operating vehicles or machinery).
The use of alcohol with this drug should be avoided due to possible additive effects and hypotension.
Chlorpromazine may counteract the antihypertensive effect of guanethidine and related compounds.
Safety for the use of chlorpromazine during pregnancy has not been established. Therefore, it is not recommended that the drug be given to pregnant patients except when, in the judgment of the physician, it is essential. The potential benefits should clearly outweigh possible hazards. There are reported instances of prolonged jaundice, extrapyramidal signs, hyperreflexia or hyporeflexia in newborn infants whose mothers received phenothiazines.
Reproductive studies in rodents have demonstrated potential for embryotoxicity, increased neonatal mortality and nursing transfer of the drug. Tests in the offspring of the drug-treated rodents demonstrate decreased performance. The possibility of permanent neurological damage cannot be excluded.
Neonates exposed to antipsychotic drugs, during the third trimester of pregnancy are at risk for extrapyramidal and/or withdrawal symptoms following delivery. There have been reports of agitation, hypertonia, hypotonia, tremor, somnolence, respiratory distress and feeding disorder in these neonates. These complications have varied in severity; while in some cases symptoms have been self-limited, in other cases neonates have required intensive care unit support and prolonged hospitalization.
Chlorpromazine hydrochloride should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
There is evidence that chlorpromazine is excreted in the breast milk of nursing mothers. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from chlorpromazine, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
In clinical trial and postmarketing experience, events of leukopenia/neutropenia and agranulocytosis have been reported temporally related to antipsychotic agents.
Possible risk factors for leukopenia/neutropenia include preexisting low white blood cell count (WBC) and history of drug induced leukopenia/neutropenia. Patients with a preexisting low WBC or a history of drug induced leukopenia/neutropenia should have their complete blood count (CBC) monitored frequently during the first few months of therapy and should discontinue chlorpromazine hydrochloride tablets USP at the first sign of a decline in WBC in the absence of other causative factors.
Patients with neutropenia should be carefully monitored for fever or other symptoms or signs of infection and treated promptly if such symptoms or signs occur. Patients with severe neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count <1000/mm3) should discontinue chlorpromazine hydrochloride tablets USP and have their WBC followed until recovery.
Given the likelihood that some patients exposed chronically to antipsychotics will develop tardive dyskinesia, it is advised that all patients in whom chronic use is contemplated be given, if possible, full information about this risk. The decision to inform patients and/or their guardians must obviously take into account the clinical circumstances and the competency of the patient to understand the information provided.
Chlorpromazine should be administered cautiously to persons with cardiovascular, liver or renal disease. There is evidence that patients with a history of hepatic encephalopathy due to cirrhosis have increased sensitivity to the CNS effects of chlorpromazine (i.e., impaired cerebration and abnormal slowing of the EEG).
Because of its CNS depressant effect, chlorpromazine should be used with caution in patients with chronic respiratory disorders such as severe asthma, emphysema and acute respiratory infections, particularly in children (1 to 12 years of age).
Because chlorpromazine can suppress the cough reflex, aspiration of vomitus is possible.
Chlorpromazine prolongs and intensifies the action of CNS depressants such as anesthetics, barbiturates and narcotics. When chlorpromazine is administered concomitantly, about 1/4 to 1/2 the usual dosage of such agents is required. When chlorpromazine is not being administered to reduce requirements of CNS depressants, it is best to stop such depressants before starting chlorpromazine treatment. These agents may subsequently be reinstated at low doses and increased as needed.
Note: Chlorpromazine does not intensify the anti-convulsant action of barbiturates. Therefore, dosage of anticonvulsants, including barbiturates, should not be reduced if chlorpromazine is started. Instead, start chlorpromazine at low doses and increase as needed.
Use with caution in persons who will be exposed to extreme heat, organophosphorus insecticides, and in persons receiving atropine or related drugs.
Antipsychotic drugs elevate prolactin levels; the elevation persists during chronic administration. Tissue culture experiments indicate that approximately one-third of human breast cancers are prolactin-dependent in vitro, a factor of potential importance if the prescribing of these drugs is contemplated in a patient with a previously detected breast cancer. Although disturbances such as galactorrhea, amenorrhea, gynecomastia and impotence have been reported, the clinical significance of elevated serum prolactin levels is unknown for most patients. An increase in mammary neoplasms has been found in rodents after chronic administration of antipsychotic drugs. Neither clinical nor epidemiologic studies conducted to date, however, have shown an association between chronic administration of these drugs and mammary tumorigenesis; the available evidence is considered too limited to be conclusive at this time.
Chromosomal aberrations in spermatocytes and abnormal sperm have been demonstrated in rodents treated with certain neuroleptics.
As with all drugs which exert an anticholinergic effect, and/or cause mydriasis, chlorpromazine should be used with caution in patients with glaucoma.
Chlorpromazine diminishes the effect of oral anticoagulants.
Phenothiazines can produce alpha-adrenergic blockade.
Chlorpromazine may lower the convulsive threshold; dosage adjustments of anticonvulsants may be necessary. Potentiation of anticonvulsant effects does not occur. However, it has been reported that chlorpromazine may interfere with the metabolism of phenytoin and thus precipitate phenytoin toxicity.
Concomitant administration with propranolol results in increased plasma levels of both drugs.
Thiazide diuretics may accentuate the orthostatic hypotension that may occur with phenothiazines.
The presence of phenothiazines may produce false-positive phenylketonuria (PKU) test results.
Drugs which lower the seizure threshold, including phenothiazine derivatives, should not be used with metrizamide. As with other phenothiazine derivatives, chlorpromazine should be discontinued at least 48 hours before myelography, should not be resumed for at least 24 hours postprocedure, and should not be used for the control of nausea and vomiting occurring either prior to myelography or postprocedure with metrizamide.
To lessen the likelihood of adverse reactions related to cumulative drug effect, patients with a history of long-term therapy with chlorpromazine and/or other antipsychotics should be evaluated periodically to decide whether the maintenance dosage could be lowered or drug therapy discontinued.
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