Dr. Jenni Jacobsen, PhD
Author: Dr. Jenni Jacobsen, PhD Medical Reviewer: Morgan Blair Last updated:

Prochlorperazine is an antipsychotic drug used to treat conditions like schizophrenia. It’s important to be cautious and stay in communication with your doctor when taking prochlorperazine, as it can cause serious adverse effects for some people [1].

Prochlorperazine brand names

The most common brand names of prochlorperazine include [2]:

  • Compazine®
  • Compro®
  • Procomp®

What is prochlorperazine prescribed for?

As an antipsychotic medication, prochlorperazin/disorder/schizoaffective-disordere is used for the treatment of disorders that present with psychosis. These include schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Prochlorperazine is FDA-approved for the treatment of these conditions and is especially effective for treating the positive symptoms of psychotic disorders, such as hallucinations, delusions, agitation, and chaotic speech and behavior [1].

Prochlorperazine may also be used for treating nausea and vomiting, especially that which occurs after chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It can also be beneficial before and after a surgery [1].

While not FDA-approved for this purpose, prochlorperazine may be used off-label for the treatment of migraine headaches [1].

How does prochlorperazine work?

Prochlorperazine is a first-generation antipsychotic drug. These medications work by blocking the activity of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is believed to cause psychotic symptoms when present in excess. Prochlorperazine may exert other effects, such as blocking the activity of histaminergic, cholinergic, and noradrenergic receptors [1].

How is prochlorperazine usually taken?

Prescription versions of prochlorperazine are typically available as an oral tablet or a liquid swallowed by mouth. Some versions come as an anal suppository. The brand name version, Compazine, is available as both a 5 mg and 10 mg tablet. Liquid syrups containing prochlorperazine typically come as a solution that contains 5 mg of Compazine per 5 mL [3].

Prochlorperazine is usually taken by mouth in tablet form. An adult dose of the medication is typically 3 to 4 tablets per day, while pediatric doses range from 1 to 3 daily tablets. In some instances, patients may take a suppository version of prochlorperazine, which is inserted in the anus twice per day [2].

If you have questions about how to take prochlorperazine, talk with your prescribing doctor or your pharmacist. Never take prochlorperazine without proper medical advice.

How long does prochlorperazine stay in your system?

The half-life of a drug gives you an indication of how long the drug will stay in your system [4]. The half-life of prochlorperazine is about 8 hours after oral administration, meaning that half of the initial dose will clear from the body within this time [5]. Given the half-life of the medication, you can expect it to be eliminated from the body within about 40 hours, but this can vary from person-to-person.

Prochlorperazine side effects

If your doctor has prescribed prochlorperazine, it is because they believe the benefits will outweigh the potential risks for you. However, if side effects are severe or persistent, contact your doctor immediately to discuss your options.

Below are the milder side effects associated with prochlorperazine, many of which will improve with time [2]:

  • Dizziness
  • Blurry vision
  • Dryness in the mouth
  • Stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Nausea
  • Changes in the size of the pupils
  • Weight gain
  • Feelingjittery
  • Agitation
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Blank facial expression
  • Drooling
  • Shaking uncontrollably
  • Walking in a shuffling fashion
  • Enlarged breasts
  • Production of breast milk
  • Skipped menstrual periods
  • Decreased sexual performance, especially in men

Some side effects of the medication, although rare, can be severe and may require prompt medical attention [2]:

  • Fever
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Falls
  • Confusion
  • Elevated or irregular heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Symptoms that appear similar to the flu
  • Yellowing ofthe skin or eyes
  • Signs of infection, including sore throat or chills
  • Neck cramping
  • Tongue sticking out of the mouth
  • Throat tightness
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Making worm-like tongue movements
  • Uncontrollable movements of the face, mouth, or jaw
  • Seizures
  • Rash or hives
  • Itchiness
  • Swollen eyes, face, mouth, lips, tongue, throat, limbs, or hands
  • Loss of vision, particularly at night
  • Brown-tinted vision
  • Enteringa coma
  • Having an erection that lasts for hours

Prochlorperazine precautions

Certain people should not take prochlorperazine or should monitor themselves closely for adverse reactions, in consultation with their doctor. The following precautions should be taken with this medication [2] [3]:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, as prochlorperazine can cause problems to newborns whose mothers took the medication during the last months of pregnancy.
  • If you’re having an x-ray examination of your spine, you must tell your doctor that you’re taking prochlorperazine, as you will likely be told not to take it in the days leading up to, and immediately after, the examination.
  • Use caution if you regularly do vigorous exercise or will be exposed to extreme heat, as this medication can make it harder to cool down.
  • If you must drive or operate heavy machinery, do not do so until you know how prochlorperazine affects you; since the medication causes drowsiness, it may impair your ability to do these things.
  • This medication should not be used in children under the age of 2, or who weigh under 20 pounds.
  • Tell your doctor if you have glaucoma before taking prochlorperazine; this medication should be used with caution in people with this condition.
  • Prochlorperazine can cause low blood pressure, so people with impaired cardiovascular functioning should not use large doses of the drug and should be monitored closely.
  • Patients should use caution when taking prochlorperazine over the long-term, and should see a doctor regularly to determine if their dose can be reduced or discontinued.
  • Children who have illnesses such as chickenpox and measles should not take this medication.
  • Patients aged 65 and older are likely to be more sensitive to the effects of prochlorperazine and should use caution when taking this medication.

Prochlorperazine interactions

Certain substances, including medications and supplements, can cause dangerous interaction effects when combined with prochlorperazine. For this reason, it is important to tell your doctor about all medications and substances you are taking, to determine whether it is safe to take prochlorperazine when also taking these substances.

While the following list is not exhaustive, it contains numerous substances that may be dangerous in combination with prochlorperazine [2]:

  • Anticoagulant medications such as warfarin
  • Antidepressant drugs
  • Antihistamines
  • Atropine (which is in Motofen, Lomotil, and Lonox)
  • Barbiturate drugs like pentobarbital (Nembutal)
  • Diuretics, including water pills
  • Epinephrine
  • Ipratropium
  • Lithium
  • Anxiety medications
  • Medications used to treat irritable bowel disease
  • Certain psychiatric medications
  • Medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease
  • Medications that treat motion sickness
  • Medications used in the treatment of ulcers
  • Medications for the treatment of urinary problems
  • Anti-seizure medications, including phenytoin
  • Narcotic pain medications
  • Propranolol
  • Sedative medications, including sleeping pills and tranquilizers

It is also not advisable to consume large amounts of alcohol in combination with prochlorperazine, as this can enhance the depressant effects of the drug on the central nervous system [3].

Prochlorperazine storage

Your medication should be kept out of reach of children in its original, tightly closed container to prevent a child or someone else from mistakenly accessing the medication. The medication should be stored at room temperature, and not in excessively hot or moist environments, such as the bathroom [2].

What to do if you overdose on prochlorperazine

Prochlorperazine overdose is possible and requires immediate medical attention. Someone who has overdosed may show some or all of the following symptoms [2]:

  • Agitated behavior
  • Jitteriness
  • Having a hard time sleeping
  • Blank facial expression or drooling
  • Uncontrollable shaking of the body
  • Walking in a shuffling pattern
  • Sleepiness
  • Loss of consciousness, including coma
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Dryness in the mouth
  • Constipation

If you or someone in your presence has a seizure, collapses, is struggling to breathe, or cannot be awakened after taking prochlorperazine, call 911 immediately to connect with emergency medical care [2].

  1. Din, L., & Preuss, C.V. (2023). Prochlorperazine. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved August 20, 2023, from
  2. (2018). Prochlorperazine.National Library of Medicine. Retrieved August 20, 2023, from
  3. (2004).Compazine. FDA. Accessed August 20, 2023, from
  4. Hallare, J., & Gerriets, V. (2023). Half life.National Library of Medicine. Retrieved August 10, 2023, from
  5. (2023). Prochlorperazine. Retrieved August 10, 2023, from
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Dr. Jenni Jacobsen, PhD
Author Dr. Jenni Jacobsen, PhD Medical Reviewer, Writer

Dr. Jenni Jacobsen, PhD is a medical reviewer, licensed social worker, and behavioral health consultant, holding a PhD in clinical psychology.

Published: Oct 6th 2023, Last edited: Oct 24th 2023

Morgan Blair
Medical Reviewer Morgan Blair MA, LPCC

Morgan Blair is a licensed therapist, writer and medical reviewer, holding a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Northwestern University.

Content reviewed by a medical professional. Last reviewed: Oct 6th 2023