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Stelazine (Trifluoperazine)

Stelazine (trifluoperazine) is a prescription medication that is used to control the symptoms of schizophrenia. Stelazine is considered a conventional antipsychotic medication and helps control abnormal excitement or emotions; it can also be used to help manage anxiety. Stelazine may provide relief of schizophrenia symptoms, but it is not a cure for the condition.


Stelazine has been discontinued by the manufacturer and is no longer for sale in the United States as of 2004.

Important Information Before Use

Older adults with signs of dementia should not take Stelazine. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever been diagnosed with blood or liver diseases, particularly conditions that impact the production of blood cells by bone marrow. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other prescription drugs or supplements before taking Stelazine. Some medications can interact with Stelazine, including anticoagulants, antidepressants, diuretics, and medications for Parkinson's disease or for seizures. If you have ever had kidney tumors, breast cancer, glaucoma, heart disease, or chest pain, you should tell your doctor about these conditions.

Important Information During Use

If you are having a spinal x-ray examination (myelogram), tell your doctor that you are taking Stelazine. If taken during pregnancy, this drug can cause problems in newborns. If you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Stelazine, you should talk to your doctor about alternative treatments for your condition. This medication can cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight, so use sunblock when you go outdoors. Your surgeon or anesthesiologist needs to know that you are taking Stelazine if you are having any type of surgery, including oral or dental surgery. Overdose symptoms include dizziness, loss of consciousness, kidney failure, seizures, and difficulty breathing. Avoid alcohol when you take Stelazine; alcoholic beverages can increase the drowsiness caused by this medication. This drug can make your body overheat easily and make it difficult to cool down after strenuous activity.

Side Effects

If you experience serious or severe side effects from Stelazine, you should call your doctor immediately. Serious side effects of this medication include:

  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Tightness in throat or neck; difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Mouth or tongue problems, including uncontrollable movements of the mouth, face, or jaw, a tongue that protrudes from the mouth, or unusual tongue movements
  • Vision problems, particularly in low or dim lighting
  • Neck cramps
  • Rash, hives, itching, or blisters
  • Facial or body swelling
  • Fever, sweating, or muscle stiffness; neck cramps
  • Erection lasting for hours
  • Flulike symptoms including fever, chills, and general malaise
  • Yellowed skin or eyes

Less serious side effects can include:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, or extreme tiredness
  • Weight gain or appetite changes
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Blank facial expression or shuffling walk; odd or unusual body movements
  • Insomnia or difficulty staying asleep
  • Headache
  • Widening or narrowing of the pupils
  • Women may experience breast enlargement, breast milk production, and missed menstrual periods
  • Decreased sexual ability in men
  • Difficulty urinating


Slowly reducing your dose over time is the best way to stop taking Stelazine. You can reduce the severity of any withdrawal symptoms you experience if you gradually taper off of this medication. Possible symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shakiness or dizziness


  1. Stelazine. (2014, August 12). Retrieved from http://www.drugs.com/mtm/stelazine.html

Page content reviewed by James Pendelton, ND


Last Update: 12-22-2014


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