Prochlorperazine

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

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

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

What is prochlorperazine?

  • Prochlorperazine is used to treat nausea and vomiting or used to treat dizziness caused by vertigo.
  • It is thought to work by blocking the action of a chemical called dopamine which acts in the brain.
  • Prochlorperazine is available in different formulations such as tablets, suppositories and injection.

Dose

  • The dose of prochlorperazine will be different for different people. The dose will depend on the type of formulation you are taking and the reason you are taking it.
  • 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

Prochlorperazine tablets are available in 2 forms.

  • The standard5 milligram tablet (called Antinaus®):
    • Swallow these with a glass of water. 
    • You can take these tablets with or without food.
  • The3 milligram buccal tablets (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. 

Prochlorperazine suppositories

  • If the suppository is too soft to insert, chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or run cold water over it before removing the wrapper.
  • To insert the suppository, remove the wrapper and moisten the suppository by dipping it in cold water.
  • Lie down on your side and insert the suppository (pointed end first) gently into the rectum (bottom).
  • Try not to go to the toilet for at least 1 hour to allow the suppository to work

Special instructions

  • 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.

Possible side effects

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

Side effectsWhat should I do?
  • Drowsiness (feeling sleepy)
  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • 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)  
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • To relieve dry mouth, suck ice chips, drink water, or use a saliva substitute
  • Feeling shaky or restless
  • Strange muscle movements
  • Tell your doctor immediately

Interactions

Prochlorperazine can interact with a number of important medications and herbal supplements so check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more

The following links provide further information on prochlorperazine. Be aware that websites from other countries may contain information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.

Antinaus Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets (NZ) 
Stemetil Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets (NZ) 
Prochlorperazine Patient Info, UK  
 

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist.