What Are the Most Common Chlorpromazine Side Effects?

Meshell Powell

Most chlorpromazine side effects are relatively mild in nature, although some can cause potentially serious health concerns. Some of the most frequently reported side effects of this antipsychotic medication include dry mouth, drowsiness, and nausea. Other common chlorpromazine side effects include insomnia, nasal congestion, and constipation. Symptoms that may indicate more serious complications and should be reported to a doctor right away include seizures, irregular heartbeat, and a worsening of psychotic thoughts or behaviors. Questions or concerns about potential chlorpromazine side effects in an individual situation should be discussed with the prescribing physician.

A common side effect of chlorpromazine is drowsiness.
A common side effect of chlorpromazine is drowsiness.

Drowsiness is a common side effect of antipsychotic medications and can range from mild to debilitating. Caution should be used when performing tasks that require focus or concentration, such as operating a vehicle while taking this drug. Excessive drowsiness may be managed by reducing the dose or switching to a different medication, but this must be done under the close supervision of a doctor.

Excessive sweating and an irregular heartbeat are considered serious side effects of chlorpromazine.
Excessive sweating and an irregular heartbeat are considered serious side effects of chlorpromazine.

Dry mouth, nausea, and nasal congestion are possible chlorpromazine side effects. Rinsing the mouth with water several times per day or eating hard candy such as peppermint may alleviate the dry mouth issue. Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea may lead to complications such as loss of appetite or dehydration. Over-the-counter or prescription medications may be helpful in treating severe nasal congestion, although this symptom is usually mild.

Insomnia or constipation may occur as chlorpromazine side effects. Some people may experience an increased sensitivity to sunlight when taking this medication, so sunscreen and protective clothing should be worn when exposed to direct or indirect sunlight. Breast sensitivity and milk production among women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding should be reported to a doctor for further evaluation.

Tremors or involuntary muscle movements sometimes develop as a result of chlorpromazine and should be discussed with the prescribing physician, especially if these symptoms become severe enough to affect quality of life. Seizures, irregular heartbeat, and excessive sweating may indicate the development of a potentially severe complication known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome. In some cases, a patient may experience a worsening of psychotic symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, or aggression. Allergic reactions can become fatal without immediate emergency assistance and can cause difficulty breathing, facial swelling, or loss of consciousness. Any new or bothersome symptoms that develop after beginning treatment with this medication should be discussed with a doctor so that any necessary adjustments can be made to the treatment plan.

Insomnia is one common chlorpromazine side effect.
Insomnia is one common chlorpromazine side effect.

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