perphenazine (Trilafon): Schizophrenia Drug Side Effects & Interactions

What is perphenazine? What is perphenazine used for?

Perphenazine is an oral antipsychotic medication used for the management of
schizophrenia. Perphenazine is one of the older, first-generation antipsychotic medications. Examples of other first-generation antipsychotics include:

Although the exact mechanism of antipsychotics is unknown, scientists believe that they may work by blocking the action of
dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (chemical) that nerves use to communicate with one another. Perphenazine is used when patients do not respond to other antipsychotics.

What brand names are available for perphenazine?


Is perphenazine available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for perphenazine?


What are the side effects of perphenazine?

Perphenazine causes extrapyramidal side effects such as:

  • Abnormal muscle contractions
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Neck spasms

Other side effects include:


Schizophrenia is the most disabling mental illness.
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What is the dosage for perphenazine?

  • The recommended dose of perphenazine for treating schizophrenia is 4 to 16 mg every 6 to 12 hours. The maximum daily dose is 64 mg.
  • The dose for treating nausea and vomiting is 8 to 16 mg daily in divided doses and given every 6 to 12 hours. The maximum dose is 24 mg daily.
  • The dose for treating intractable hiccoughs is 8 to 16 mg daily in divided doses and given every 8 to 12 hours. The maximum dose is 24 mg daily.

Which drugs or supplements interact with perphenazine?

Combining perphenazine with medications such as procainamide (Pronestyl), sotalol (Betapace), amiodarone (Cordarone), and dofetilide (Tikosyn) that affect heart rate and rhythm can cause abnormal heart beats.

Antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft) and tricyclic antidepressants may reduce the breakdown of perphenazine, leading to increased blood levels and side effects of perphenazine.

Perphenazine should be used with caution with medications that depress the central nervous system and cause sedation or drowsiness. Examples include alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), zolpidem (Ambien), codeine, morphine, and alcohol. Such
combinations can cause excessive sedation, drowsiness, weakness, confusion, speech impairment, and in severe cases coma or death.
Combining alcohol with perphenazine also increases the risk of low blood pressure.

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Is perphenazine safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Use of perphenazine during pregnancy has not been adequately studied. Neonates exposed to antipsychotics during the third trimester of pregnancy are at risk for extrapyramidal and withdrawal symptoms after birth. Symptoms reported included agitation, hypertonia, hypotonia, tremor, somnolence,
depressed breathing, and feeding disorder.

Safe use of perphenazine by
nursing mothers has not been established.

What else should I know about perphenazine?

What preparations of perphenazine are available?

Tablets: 2, 4, 8 and 16 mg.

How should I keep perphenazine stored?

Perphenazine tablets should be stored between 2 C and 25 C (36 and 77 F).

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