Trilafon (perphenazine) is from a group of drugs called phenothiazines. It is a conventional or typical antipsychotic medication that is only available via a doctor or psychiatrist’s prescription.
This psychotropic medication is used to treat some of the symptoms of schizophrenia, including hallucinations, delusions, loss of interest in life, and erratic behavior. It works by reducing excessive levels of excitement in the brain. This medication will not cure schizophrenia, but it will help control the extreme thoughts and behaviors that often accompany the condition. In some cases, this medication may also be used to treat extreme cases of nausea or vomiting.
- How do I get the most out of my treatment with this drug?
Psychotropic medication can help many people achieve a higher quality of life and/or undergo effective treatment for mental health conditions in the face of debilitating symptoms. Medication alone, however, fails to address many of the emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and environmental factors that contribute to mental health issues. Finding a qualified therapist or counselor to complement your treatment if you are prescribed an antipsychotic drug can help you better understand your mental health diagnosis as well as provide you with coping strategies such as breathing exercises, meditation, or cognitive restructuring to ensure better, longer-lasting results with your mental health treatment.
- How should I take this medication?
Trilafon comes in oral tablet form and is usually taken two to four times per day. This medication should be taken consistently for best results. Your doctor may recommend that you start out on an average dose, and then increase or decrease the dose over time in order to find what is ideal for you.
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If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if you are close to the time for your next scheduled dose, then skip the missed dose completely. You may increase the risk of an overdose if you take too much of this drug too quickly.
- What should I do if I overdose on this medication?
Call your doctor or a poison helpline immediately. An overdose of Trilafon may be deadly. Common symptoms of overdose include fast or erratic heartbeat, convulsions, difficulty responding to surroundings, and loss of consciousness.
This medication is not recommended for treatment in older adults with dementia-related psychosis, as it may increase the risk of death. Excessive use of this drug may lead to the development of tardive dyskinesia, a serious and potentially permanent movement condition. Women and seniors are at higher risk for developing tardive dyskinesia.
If you have or have ever had brain damage, blood cell or bone marrow issues, breast cancer, an abnormal electroencephalogram, heart disease, an enlarged prostate, urinary problems, or lung infections, you should speak to your doctor before beginning treatment with this drug. Tell your doctor if you are affected by breathing issues such as asthma or emphysema, or if you have experienced lung problems in the past. You should also mention if you have had any other serious reactions to similar drugs. If you work now or plan on working with organophosphorus insecticides, you should not take this medication. Also let your doctor know if you are experiencing depression, or if you are pregnant.
Trilafon may interact with other medications or supplements, including antihistamines, antidepressants, barbiturates, sleeping pills, antianxiety medications, muscle relaxers, minerals, vitamins, herbal products, and more. If you are taking other prescription drugs or supplements, you ask your doctor or pharmacist about any interactions before taking this drug.
This drug increases certain risks for the person taking it. If you are prescribed Trilafon, your doctor or pharmacist should share the following health information:
- This drug may affect the results of home pregnancy tests. If you become pregnant while taking this drug, you should talk to your doctor about alternative treatment options for your condition. This medication may cause withdrawal symptoms, fussiness, limp or rigid muscles, feeding issues, difficulty breathing, and shaking in newborns if a mother takes this drug during the last three months of the pregnancy. Perphenazine, the active ingredient in Trilafon, may pass into breast milk and harm a nursing infant. Do not stop taking this drug unless advised to do so by your doctor.
- This drug may make you extremely drowsy; therefore, avoid driving, climbing, operating heavy machinery, or engaging in any potentially hazardous activity until you are sure how this medication affects you.
- You may experience bouts of dizziness if you stand up quickly from a sitting position, or after lying down. To minimize the risk of possible injury, stand up slowly.
- Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking this medication as it may increase the severity of side effects.
- Avoid spending excessive amounts of time in sunlight. Wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and use sunscreen if you need to spend a lot of time outside. This medication may make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays.
- Your surgeon or anesthesiologist needs to know that you are taking this medication if you plan on having any type of surgery, including oral surgery.
If you experience severe or persistent side effects after using this medication, you should call your doctor right away. Serious side effects may include:
- Flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, high fever, sweating, or chills
- Irregular or fast heartbeat; slowed heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing or a noticeable tightness of the throat
- Skin conditions such as severe rash, itching, or hives
- Yellowing eyes or skin
- Swelling of face, eyes, or extremities
- A swollen tongue or uncontrollable tongue movements
- Trouble with night vision or seeing in dimly lit areas
- Tense muscles or tension in the neck
- Decreased thirst
- Eye discoloration or pain; seeing everything with a brown tint
Less serious side effects may include:
- Drowsiness, dizziness, or tiredness
- Sleep issues, strange dreams, or insomnia
- Feelings of paranoia
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Restlessness or agitation
- Pale skin or changed skin color
- Upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation
- Increased skin sensitivity to sunlight
- Difficulty urinating, frequent urination, or inability to control urination
- Breast enlargement or breast milk production
- Missed menstrual periods
- Blurred vision or changes in pupil size
- Blank expression, shuffling walk, or unusual, uncontrollable body movements
- Decreased sexual ability in men
It is important to come off of this medication slowly in order to avoid withdrawal reactions, even if you plan on replacing Trilafon with a different medication. Although Trilafon is not addictive, your body may have become accustomed to having the drug in its system. Always consult your doctor before reducing or stopping this medication. Possible symptoms of withdrawal may include:
- Upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Return of psychotic symptoms
- Drugs.com. (2014). Trilafon. Retrieved from http://www.drugs.com/mtm/trilafon.html
- Medline Plus. (2011). Perphenazine. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682165.html
Page content reviewed by James Pendleton, ND.
Last Update: 03-30-2015
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 information on GoodTherapy.org's position on psychotropic medication, click here..