Sulpiride is an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia. It's important to use this medication exactly as prescribed and to inform your doctor of other medications you are taking because sulpiride can cause interaction effects.

Sulpiride brand names

Sulpiride is available under several brand names:

  • Dogmatil
  • Dolmatil
  • Eglonyl
  • Espiride 
  • Modal
  • Sulpor

What is sulpiride prescribed for?

Sulpiride is not approved by the FDA for use in the United States. Internationally, it is used primarily to treat patients with schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medications like sulpiride may also be used to treat a range of psychiatric disorders including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, Tourette's syndrome, autism, and dementia.[2]

How does sulpiride work?

Sulpiride works similarly to other antipsychotic drugs, in the sense that it blocks the activity of a brain chemical called dopamine. People who display psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia are believed to have elevated dopamine levels. By blocking dopamine activity, sulpiride can treat symptoms of schizophrenia. Sulpiride is also believed to have antidepressant effects.[1] 

How is sulpiride usually taken?

In most cases, sulpiride is taken orally in tablet form. A common sulpiride tablet contains 200 mg of the drug. A typical starting dose for adults is 400 to 800 mg daily, taken as one to two tablets twice per day.[1]

The ideal daily dose of sulpiride will vary based upon a patient’s unique needs. Individuals with positive symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations, typically benefit from higher doses and may need up to 1,200 mg of sulpiride per day. Those with primarily negative symptoms, such as flat affect, typically do well with 800 mg per day.[1] A prescribing physician will determine the best dose for a patient’s situation. 

How long does sulpiride stay in your system?

The half-life of sulpiride is around 8 hours. This means that it will be eliminated from the body in about 32 to 40 hours, or around a day and a half.[1] 

Sulpiride side effects

Antipsychotic medications like sulpiride can cause some unpleasant side effects. In many instances, side effects are mild and improve as a person adjusts to their medication. 

The following side effects are common with sulpiride:[1]

  • Hyperprolactinaemia (a common abnormality in the body’s hormonal system)
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Tremors
  • Inability to sit still 
  • Involuntary muscle movements
  • Constipation
  • Rash 
  • Milky discharge from the nipples
  • Breast pain
  • Weight gain

If these side effects do not improve over time or are so severe that they interfere with daily functioning, talk with your doctor. You may require a dose adjustment or a change to a different medication to treat your symptoms.

Some less common but severe side effects of sulpiride include labored breathing, anaphylactic shock, low blood pressure, oculogyric crisis (spastic movements that fix the eyes in an upward position), irregular heartbeat, cardiac arrest, aspiration pneumonia, breast enlargement, loss of period, and sexual dysfunction.[1] Talk to your doctor if you experience these side effects, or seek immediate medical attention if side effects are serious, such as in the case of labored breathing or aspiration pneumonia.

Sulpiride precautions

Some people should not take sulpiride. The medication should be used with caution in children and adolescents. Its safety has not been established for pregnant women, so it is generally not recommended for use during pregnancy.[1]

Caution should be used in patients with Parkinson’s disease or epilepsy. Sulpiride can cause convulsions. People with epilepsy will need to be carefully monitored by a doctor or healthcare professional when taking sulpiride.[1]

Sulpiride may be unsafe for use in people with glaucoma, ileus, congenital digestive stenosis, urine retention, or hyperplasia of the prostate. People with kidney disease should take lower doses of sulpiride. It is likely unsafe for people with cardiovascular conditions or irregular heart rhythms to take sulpiride.[1] 

It is generally not recommended that people with high blood pressure, especially elderly patients, take sulpiride.[1] 

Sulpiride interactions

It is important to tell your doctor about all medications you are taking before you begin taking sulpiride. Some medications may cause dangerous interaction effects with sulpiride and should not be taken with this medication. In some cases, certain medications may be potentially dangerous when taken with sulpiride, and a doctor will need to closely monitor your side effects.

The following list is not exhaustive, but the medications below can interact with sulpiride: [1]

  • Levodopa
  • Ropinirole and other antiparkinsonian drugs
  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers like diltiazem and verapamil
  • Clonidine
  • Digitalis 
  • Certain diuretics
  • Stimulant laxatives 
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Quinidine
  • Disopyramide 
  • Amiodarone
  • Sotalol 
  • Pimozide
  • Haloperidol
  • Methadone and other narcotics like oxycodone or hydrocodone 
  • Certain antidepressant drugs
  • Lithium
  • Cisapride
  • Thioridazine
  • Erythromycin
  • Halofantrine
  • Pentamidine 
  • Antihistamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Anxiety-reducing drugs

Sulpiride also should not be combined with alcohol, as alcohol will increase the sedative effects of sulpiride. 

Sulpiride storage

For safety, sulpiride should be kept in its original prescription bottle with the label intact. This prevents someone from mistakenly taking medication that does not belong to them. Sulpiride should also be kept out of reach of children. 

Sulpiride should be stored at room temperature, away from excessive heat. It should not be stored at temperatures above about 77 degrees Fahrenheit.[1] 

What to do if you overdose on sulpiride

Fatal sulpiride overdoses are rare, but it’s still important to exercise precaution and be aware of sulpiride overdose signs. Overdoses are most common when sulpiride is mixed with other substances.[1]

Some signs of sulpiride overdose include restlessness, agitation, confusion, low blood pressure, altered state of consciousness, and coma. If you or someone you know shows signs of sulpiride overdose, seek medical attention immediately. Medical treatment may be needed to reverse side effects of sulpiride overdose, and it’s important to be medically monitored for complications like irregular heartbeat.[1] 

Sulpiride FAQ

If you’re looking for information on sulpiride, you may also be interested in the answer to the following frequently asked question.

What alternatives to Sulpiride are available?

Because sulpiride is not FDA approved in the United States, those who live in this country will need to use sulpiride alternatives for the treatment of schizophrenia and related conditions. Medications, including bromperidol, chlorpromazine, haloperidol, perphenazine, trifluoperazine, and zuclopenthixol, have been found to be comparable to sulpiride in effectiveness.[3] 

Ask your doctor about which antipsychotic medications are approved for use in the United States. A doctor can help you to determine the best antipsychotic medication for your situation. 

Resources:

  1. EMC. (2019). Sulpiride 200mg tablets. Retrieved November 6, 2022, from https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/2430/smpc#gref
  2. Maglione M., Maher A.R., Hu J., et al. (2011). Off-label use of atypical antipsychotics: An update [Internet]. Comparative Effectiveness Reviews, 43. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK66074/
  3. Wagstaff, A.J., Fitton, A., & Benfield, P. (1994). Sulpiride. CNS Drugs, 2, 313-333. https://doi.org/10.2165/00023210-199402040-00007