Navigate Up

Full Library - A-Z Index


Print This Page

Chlorpromazine overdose

Chlorpromazine is a prescription medication used to treat psychotic disorders. It may also be used for other reasons, such as preventing nausea and vomiting.

Chlorpromazine overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medication. Use of this medication may also alter the metabolism and effect of other drugs.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Poisonous Ingredient

Chlorpromazine

Where Found

  • Thorazine
  • Largactil

Note: This list may not be all-inclusive.

Symptoms

Airways and lungs:

  • No breathing
  • Rapid breathing

Shallow breathing

Eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and throat:

  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Drooling
  • Dry mouth
  • Stuffy nose
  • Ulcers on the gums, tongue, or in the throat
  • Yellow eyes

Heart and blood:

  • High or severely low blood pressure
  • Rapid, irregular heartbeat

Muscles, bones, and joints:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Stiff muscles in neck or back

Nervous system:

Reproductive system:

  • Change in female menstrual pattern

Skin:

  • Bluish skin color
  • Rash

Stomach and intestines:

Home Care

Seek immediate medical help. Do NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care professional.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • Patient's age, weight, and condition
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
  • When it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed
  • If the medication was prescribed for the patient

Poison Control

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.

See: National Poison Control Center

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The patient may receive:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • EKG (electrocardiogram), or heart tracing
  • Breathing support
  • Intravenous (through the vein) fluids
  • Laxatives
  • Medication to treat symptoms
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage )

Outlook (Prognosis)

Recovery depends on the amount of damage. Survival past 2 days is usually a good sign. The most serious side effects are usually due to damage to the heart. If heart damage can be stabilized, recovery is likely. Some neurologic symptoms may be lifelong.

Prevention

Keep all medications in child-proof bottles and out of the reach of children.

References

Nockowitz RA, Rund DA. Psychotropic medications. In: Tintinalli JE, Kelen GD, Stapczynski JS, Ma OJ, Cline DM, eds. Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2004:chap 290.

Levine M, Burns MJ. Antipsychotic Agents. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 38.

Velez LI, Feng S-Y. Anticholinergics. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine - Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2013:chap 150.

Updated: 10/16/2013

Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com