Amisulpride

Sounds like 'AM-i-SULP-i-ride'

Easy-to-read medicine information about amisulpride – what it is, how to take amisulpride safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Antipsychotic
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as atypical antipsychotics 
  • Solian®
  • Sulprix®

What is amisulpride?

Amisulpride is used to treat some types of mental illness such as schizophreniaIt does not cure this condition, but is used to help ease the symptoms and help you on your recovery path. It  can help improve symptoms such as the experience of hearing voices (hallucinations), ideas that distress you and don't seem to be based in reality (delusions), and difficulty in thinking clearly (thought disorder). Amisulpride belongs to a group of medicines called antipsychotics. Read more about antipsychotic medication.

In New Zealand, amisulpride is available as tablets or a liquid solution.

Dose

  • The dose of amisulpride is different for different people, depending on your condition and your response to the medication. Doses range from 50 milligrams a day to 800 milligrams a day.
  • Some people may require higher doses, up to 1,200 milligrams a day.
  • Always take your amisulpride exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much amisulpride to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

How to take amisulpride

  • Depending on your dose, you can take amisulpride once a day (lower doses) or twice a day, in the morning and evening (for higher doses). Take your amisulpride dose at the same times each day.
  • Swallow your amisulpride tablets with a glass of water. If you have problems swallowing tablets, talk to your doctor about changing to the liquid solution. 
  • It is best to take your amisulpride dose before food.
  • If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
  • Keep taking amisulpride every day. It usually takes a few weeks to start working and it can take several months before you feel the full benefits.
  • Do not stop taking amisulpride suddenly as your symptoms may return if stopped too early; speak to your doctor or nurse before stopping.

Precautions – before starting amisulpride

  • Do you have any heart problems such as an irregular heartbeat or low blood pressure?
  • Do you have Parkinson’s Disease or epilepsy?
  • Do you have diabetes or problems with high cholesterol?
  • Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • Are you taking any other medicines, including medicines you can buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines?

If any of these apply, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start amisulpride. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care, that your pharmacist will tell you about.

Precautions – while taking amisulpride

  • Alcohol: avoid alcohol while you are taking amisulpride, especially when you first start treatment. Drinking alcohol while taking amisulpride can cause drowsiness and affect concentration, putting you at risk of falls and other accidents. It can also cause agitation, aggression and forgetfulness. If you do drink alcohol, drink only small amounts and see how you feel. Do not stop taking your medication.
  • Weight: let your doctor know if you notice that you are putting on a lot of weight, especially when you first start taking amisulpride.
  • Blood tests and other monitoring: amisulpride may cause changes in your blood glucose level, your cholesterol level and in your heart function. To keep an eye out for these effects, your doctor will check your physical health. You will have your weight measured regularly. You may also need to have blood tests to check your kidneys, liver, cholesterol and glucose levels. You may also have your blood pressure measured and an ECG test to check your heart rate.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, amisulpride can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?*
  • Feeling sleepy, drowsy, or tired
  • This can last a few hours after the dose
  • Do not drive or use tools or machinery
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome – ask your doctor if you can take your medicine at a different time
  • Feeling shaky, feeling restless (cannot sit still)
  • Eyes or tongue may move on their own
  • This is a well-known side effect and is not dangerous
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Feeling dizzy
  • This usually happens when you start your medication, and should wear off in a few weeks
  • Try not to stand too quickly – you are at risk of falls
  • If you feel dizzy, do not drive
  • Feeling like your heart is racing
  • Feeling too hot or too cold
  • Tell your doctor
  • Weight gain
  • Have a healthy diet and exercise regularly
  • Limit sugary or fatty foods
  • Speak with your doctor if you think you are putting on weight
  • Constipation
  • Constipation is very common
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe a suitable laxative, which you need to take on a regular basis
  • Eat more fruit, vegetables, brown bread, bran-based breakfast cereals and drink plenty of water
 
  • Signs of changes in hormones such as, in women, it can affect breasts (including milk being leaked) and irregular or no periods.
  • In men, it can cause impotence (trouble maintaining an erect penis) and chest changes. 
 
  • These changes are due to raised levels of a hormone called prolactin, and it can be very distressing
  • Discuss with your doctor
*Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product

Interactions

Amisulpride interacts with many other medications and herbal supplements so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting amisulpride or before starting any new medicines.

Learn more

The following links have more information on amisulpride. Be aware that websites from other countries may contain information that differs from New Zealand recommendations. 

Med-ucation medication benefits & side effects Talking Minds, NZ  
Amisulpride
Medsafe Consumer Information, NZ
Amisulpride Patient Info, UK

References

  1. Amisulpride New Zealand Formulary
  2. Antipsychotic drugs New Zealand Formulary
  3. Prescribing atypical antipsychotics in general practice BPAC, 2011
  4. Managing patients with dementia: What is the role of antipsychotics? BPAC, 2013
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 05 Mar 2018