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Chlorpromazine overdose

Definition

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.

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
  • Bladder and kidneys
  • 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 Treatment

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, or a local emergency number

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
  • Fluids by IV
  • Laxative
  • Medicines to help treat symptoms of the poisoning
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)

Expectations (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.

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.


Review Date: 12/15/2011
Reviewed By: Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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