IMPORTANT: The best person to discuss medication with is your health care provider. GoodTherapy.org is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. For more information on GoodTherapy.org’s position on psychotropic medication, click here.
Prolixin (fluphenazine) is prescribed by doctors to reduce and control the delusions, extreme emotions, hallucinations, hostility, and other symptoms that may accompany schizophrenia. Prolixin is part of a group of medications known as typical antipsychotics and affects neurotransmitters in the brain in order to help curb intrusive or disturbing thoughts and behaviors associated with psychotic conditions. While this medication can help control the symptoms of schizophrenia, it is not proven to cure it. Typically people with schizophrenia also seek treatment with a mental health professional.
- What is the safest way to take this medication?
Prolixin comes in tablet and liquid form (elixir and concentrate) and may be taken orally with or without food. This drug is usually taken several times a day. It is important to take this medication as directed by your doctor. It may take several weeks to feel the full effect of this medication, because the drug builds up in a person's system gradually.
- Are there any warnings with the Prolixin elixir?
Prolixin elixir may develop a wispy or globular precipitate if left to stand for a prolonged period of time. By shaking the elixir gently, you will redistribute the flavoring oils and the solution will become clear once again. Do not use the elixir if the solution does not clarify.
- I forgot to take my medication. What should I do?
Take the missed dose as soon as possible. But if it will soon be time for your next scheduled dose, do not take the missed dose. Never take a double dose in order to make up for a missed dose, as having too much of this drug in your system may lead to an overdose.
- How do I know if I have overdosed on this medication?
Overdose symptoms include difficulty breathing, rigid muscles or muscle weakness, low blood pressure, and coma.
- What should I do if I have overdosed on this drug?
Seek urgent medical attention or call a poison control center immediately if you take more of this medication than what your prescription calls for.
Find a Therapist
In many cases where psychotropic medication is prescribed to treat mental health conditions, it may help finding a qualified therapist or mental health professional to aid in your treatment. While medication may treat unpleasant symptoms associated with a condition such as schizophrenia, medication does not teach a person to develop positive methods of coping when behaviors, thoughts, or emotions arise or become triggered. A therapist or counselor can help you understand what you are experiencing in a safe space, teach you more about your condition, and help you develop healthy ways to improve the quality of your life.
- What is the safest way to store this medication? This drug should be stored in its original container, with the lid tightly closed. Do not store the container in a room that experiences excess heat or moisture (for example, the kitchen or bathroom). Keep this medication out of the reach of children.
Let your doctor know if you experience allergic reactions to fluphenazine or other phenothiazines. Elderly people who are experiencing dementia or dementia-related psychosis should not take Prolixin as it may increase the risk of mortality during treatment.
If you currently experience or have ever been diagnosed with glaucoma, enlarged prostate, seizures, thyroid issues, kidney disease, breathing issues such as asthma and emphysema, brain damage, brain tumor, adrenal gland tumor, bone marrow suppression, blood cell issues, or liver problems, you should talk to your doctor before you start to take this drug. Let your doctor know if you regularly consume large amounts of alcohol, are exposed to extreme weather conditions, or regularly handle insecticide poisons or similar chemicals.
Prolixin may interact with other medications, including antihistamines, sleep aids, pain relievers, muscle relaxers, thyroid medications, minerals, vitamins, herbal products, and more. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking this medication if you are already taking other prescription drugs or supplements.
Using this drug over an extended period of time may lead to the development of serious health issues such as tardive dyskinesia, akathisia, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome.
There are certain risks to consider when using antipsychotic medications. If you are prescribed this drug, make sure you cover the following information with your doctor and/or pharmacist:
- Avoid getting Prolixin elixir or liquid concentrate on your skin as it may cause irritation.
- If you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Prolixin, you should talk to your doctor about other possible treatments for your condition. This drug may cause problems in newborns if taken during the third trimester of pregnancy. Avoid breastfeeding as it is not known whether this drug is able to pass into breast milk. You should not reduce or stop your regular dosing schedule unless advised to do so by your doctor.
- If this medication upsets your stomach, you can take it with food or just after a meal to reduce this common side effect.
- Avoid smoking or tobacco products when taking this medication; tobacco use can reduce the effectiveness of this drug.
- This drug may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use sun block or wear protective clothing if you plan to spend time outside.
- Your surgeon or anesthesiologist needs to know that you are taking this medication if you plan to have any type of surgery, including dental surgery.
- This medication may cause drowsiness. Avoid driving, climbing, or operating heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages while on this medication. Alcohol may increase the number or severity of side effects associated with this medication.
- Continue to take this medication as directed by your doctor, even if you are feeling well.
If you experience serious or severe side effects from Prolixin, you should call your doctor immediately. Serious side effects may include:
- Muscle spasms in jaw, neck, or back
- Flu-like symptoms, including fever, sweating, chills, or sore throat
- Irregular or fast heartbeat
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Severe rash, itching, or hives
- Yellowed eyes or skin
- Extreme constipation
- Frequent urination or difficulty urinating
- Blurry vision
- Changes in sex drive or ability
- Speech difficulties
- Shuffling walk
- Tremors, shaking, or the inability to sit still
Less serious side effects may include:
- Drowsiness or tiredness
- Sleep disturbances, insomnia, and nightmares
- Dry mouth
- Anxiety, restlessness, or excitement
- Changes in appetite or weight gain
- Stomach upset
- Increased skin sensitivity to sunlight
You should not stop taking this drug abruptly. It is important to taper off of this medication slowly to avoid serious adverse reactions. Possible symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Nausea or diarrhea
- Dizziness or shakiness
- Stomach pain
- The return of psychotic symptoms, including delusions or hallucinations
- Drugs.com. (2014). Prolixin. Retrieved from http://www.drugs.com/mtm/prolixin.html
- Medline Plus. (2011). Fluphenazine. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682172.html
- RxList. (2009). Prolixin. Retrieved from http://www.rxlist.com/prolixin-drug.htm
Page content reviewed by James Pendleton, ND.
Last Update: 03-18-2015
Search by Drug Name
Psychotropic Medication Articles
Psychiatrist Calls for Reclassification of Psychedelic Drugs
Do Psychiatric Drugs Do More Harm Than Good?
Women Like Me: Mental Health and Your Cycle
Are We Overprescribing Pills and Underprescribing Therapy?
Can a Drug Boost Compassion? Research Suggests So