Prochlorperazine

Sounds like 'PRO-klor-PER-a-zeen'

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

Type of medicine Also called
  • Medicine used to treat nausea and vomiting
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as antiemetics
  • Stemetil®
  • Nausafix®
  • Buccastem®

What is prochlorperazine?

Prochlorperazine is used to treat nausea and vomiting due to a variety of causes such as cancer medication, a migraine headache or following surgery. It is also used for vertigo due to Meniere's disease or for short-term management of anxiety. It is thought that prochlorperazine works by blocking the action of dopamine, a chemical in the brain. In New Zealand, prochlorperazine is available as tablets and can be given as an injection in the hospital.

A lower strength of prochlorperazine tablets (Buccastem) can be bought from a pharmacy without a prescription after consultation with a pharmacist.

Dose

  • The dose of prochlorperazine will be different for different people, depending on its use.
  • Always take your prochlorperazine exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much prochlorperazine to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take prochlorperazine

Prochlorperazine tablets are available in 2 strengths.

Prochlorperazine tablets How to take them
5 mg tablet
  • Swallow the tablets with a glass of water.
  • Do not chew the tablets.
  • You can take these tablets with or without food
3 mg tablet(called Buccastem®)
  • These tablets designed to dissolve in your mouth.
  • Place the tablet between your top gum and upper lip. Leave it in place and the tablet will dissolve slowly over the next hour or so.
  • Do not chew or swallow the tablet.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol while you are taking prochlorperazine. It can increase your chance of side effects such as drowsiness (makes you sleepy).
  • Prochlorperazine can make your skin sensitive to sunlight. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight for long periods or sun beds. Apply a good sunscreen (SPF30+) to all uncovered skin before going out in the sun.

Precautions – before taking prochlorperazine

  • Do you have problems with your liver or kidneys?
  • Do you have problems with your heart?
  • Do you have prostate problems or problems passing urine (wee)?
  • Do you have breathing problems?
  • Do you have epilepsy?
  • Do you have Parkinson’s disease?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Do you suffer from depression?
  • Do you have a thyroid condition?
  • Do you have a condition called ‘Myasthenia gravis’?
  • Do you have glaucoma (increased pressure in your eye)?
  • Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • Are you taking or using any other medicines? This includes any medicines being taken which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.

If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start prochlorperazine. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, prochlorperazine 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?
  • Drowsiness (feeling sleepy)
  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling lightheaded or faint
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting to avoid falls. These effects put you at risk of falls and injuries, especially if you're are elderly
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty when passing urine (pee)  
  • Feeling hot or cold
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • To relieve dry mouth, suck ice chips, drink water, or use a saliva substitute
  • Feeling like your heart is racing
  • Tell your doctor immediately
  • Feeling shaky or restless
  • Strange muscle movements
  • Tell your doctor immediately
  • Fever, sweating, yellow eyes or skin, shortness of breath
  • Tell your doctor immediately

Interactions

Prochlorperazine may interact with some medicines and herbal supplements so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting prochlorperazine or before starting any new medicines.

Learn more

The following links have more information on prochlorperazine
Antinaus Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets

References

  1. Prochlorperazine New Zealand Formulary
  2. Buccastem Medsafe Data Sheet
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 12 Apr 2019