What is thioridazine?

Thioridazine is a medication used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia when other medications are ineffective. It is classified as a conventional or typical antipsychotic. Thioridazine is the generic name of the drug and comes in tablet form. The brand name for thioridazine, Mellaril, was discontinued in 2005 due to potential long-term effects, but it is still available in the generic version.


Are there any major differences between thioridazine and other antipsychotics used to treat thioridazine?

Typical antipsychotics like thioridazine were the first generation of drugs used to treat schizophrenia. Typical antipsychotics tend to have more side effects, including long-term effects like tardive dyskinesia (TD). People are more frequently prescribed atypical antipsychotics, but a typical or conventional antipsychotic may be prescribed if several other medications have failed. Talk to your doctor about the risks and check in frequently when taking the medication to monitor for current side effects and long-term risks such as tardive dyskinesia and irregular heartbeat.


Can children take thioridazine?

Children are sometimes prescribed the drug in the short-term when they have problems with aggression or impulsive conduct and other medications have failed.


Are there potential interaction issues for people taking thioridazine and any other drugs?

There are hundreds of drugs which are known to interact with thioridazine in major, moderate, or mild ways, so let your doctor know what other medications you are taking before you begin taking the medication. Some of these include amiodarone (Cordarone), cisapride (Propulsid), disopyramide (Norpace), dofetilide (Tikosyn), erythromycin (E.E.S., E‑Mycin, Erythrocin), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), fluvoxamine (Luvox), moxifloxacin (Avelox), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), pimozide (Orap), pindolol (Visken), procainamide, propranolol (Inderal), quinidine, sotalol (Betapace, Betapace AF), and sparfloxacin (Zagam).


Are there any other medical conditions that would make someone ineligible for thioridazine therapy?

Talk to your doctor about other medical conditions before you take thioridazine, such as irregular heartbeat, long QT syndrome, seizures, breast cancer, dementia, high or low blood pressure, heart disease, or low potassium levels in your blood.


What is the typical dose that would be prescribed to someone taking thioridazine?

A starting daily dosage for adults typically ranges from 50 mg to 100 mg three times a day. A daily dosage above 800mg is not recommended. Dosages, however, will be different for different patients, depending on their condition and the strength of the medication.


What do I do if I miss a dose?

Take the dose of thioridazine when you remember, but skip the missed dose if it it’s almost time for your next dose. You should never take extra doses of the medication to make up for missed doses.


What are thioridazine’s most common side effects?

Most common side effects of thioridazine can include:

  • dizziness
  • difficulty urinating
  • restlessness
  • headache
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • stuffy nose
  • diarrhea
  • changes in menstrual cycle
  • constipation
  • vomiting
  • impotence
  • swelling in hands or feet
  • changes in sex drive.

If you experience any side effects, report them to your doctor. If you experience irregular or fast heartbeat, lightheadedness, or fainting, report to your doctor immediately. It also is recommended that you wait to drive or operate machinery until you know how the medication affects you. Report major side effects immediately, which can also include confusion, hives, fever, sweating, muscle stiffness, prolonged erection, vision problems, uncontrollable movements, difficulty swallowing or breathing, irregular heartbeat, or seizures. You can also report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online.


What are the potential long-term effects of taking thioridazine?

Your doctor should monitor for progression of potential long-term side effects, which can include tardive dyskinesia (TD). All antipsychotics are associated with increased risk of cardiac death due to irregular heartbeat, so your doctor may recommend an EKG.


Is it safe for a woman who is pregnant, about to become pregnant, or nursing to take thioridazine?

There have been no controlled human pregnancy studies on the effects of thioridazine, but it may cause medical problems in infants if taken during the last few months of pregnancy. It is not known whether the drug can be transferred via breast milk and harm a baby. Therefore, talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are nursing before you take thioridazine.


Can symptoms occur if thioridazine is discontinued?

It’s important not to discontinue use of the drug if you feel better. Maintain contact with your doctor and seek medical attention if necessary when discontinuing the drug. Withdrawal symptoms of thioridazine can include upset stomach, dizziness, shakiness, and diarrhea, as well as psychotic symptoms including delusions and hallucinations.


What should I do if I overdose on thioridazine?

An overdose of thioridazine could be fatal, so seek immediately help or call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 if you overdose. Overdose symptoms can include irregular heartbeat, confusion, seizures, agitation, restlessness, drowsiness, slowed movement, changes in body temperature, changes in pupils, blurred vision, constipation, dry mouth, slowed breathing, stuffed nose, and difficulty urinating.


Is thioridazine habit-forming?
Thioridazine has no habit-forming potential, but it is not recommended that you discontinue use of the drug before talking with your doctor, as withdrawal symptoms can occur.


How much does thioridazine cost?

Thirty capsules of 25 mg of generic thioridazine cost approximately $15.


Are there any disadvantages to thioridazine?

The biggest disadvantages of thioridazine are the potential long-term side effects, which include tardive dyskinesia and arrhythmia. Because of these long-term effects, the medication is not typically prescribed unless others prove ineffective and the benefits outweigh the costs.


DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider.  This article mentions drugs that were FDA-approved and available at the time of publication and may not include all possible drug interactions or all FDA warnings or alerts. The author of this page explicitly does not endorse this drug or any specific treatment method. If you have health questions or concerns about interactions, please check with your physician or go to the FDA [link] site for a comprehensive list of warnings.




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Last Updated: Nov 25, 2018