Brand names of perphenazine

  • Apo-Perphenazine
  • Elavil Plus [CD]
  • Entrafon
  • Etrafon [CD]
  • Etrafon-A [CD]
  • Etrafon Forte [CD]
  • Perphenazine
  • Phenazine
  • PMS-Levazine
  • PMS-Perphenazine
  • Triavil [CD]
  • Trilafon

A common anti-psychotic drug, perphenazine, is classified as piperazinyl phenothiazine. This drug has been used clinically for several decades. Perphenazine is considered to be as much as five times more powerful compared to chlorpromazine; hence, perphenazine is thought to be an anti-psychotic drug of medium potency.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking perphenazine

As in the case of beginning treatment with any new drug, before you start taking perphenazine, it is important that you tell your physician or pharmacist if you have allergic reactions to this medication or any other phenothiazines like fluphenazine, chlorpromazine, promethazine (Phenergan), prochlorperazine (Compazine), trifluoperazine or thioridazine; or any other similar medications.

In addition, inform your physician and pharmacist regarding all the prescription and over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, vitamins and herbal products you are already taking or intend to take shortly. Also tell your physician if you are suffering from or have ever suffered from brain damage, any health condition that may affect your blood cells, liver ailments or any condition that is likely to have an influence on blood cell production by the bone marrow. In such cases, it is likely that your physician will advise you against taking perphenazine.

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Prior to starting treatment with perphenazine, it is essential to tell your physician if you still have or ever had pheochromocytoma (a tumour on a small gland in the vicinity of the kidneys); seizures; breast cancer; depression; an uncharacteristic EEG (electroencephalogram - a test undertaken to gauge the electrical actions within the brain); emphysema or any type of lung infection; any medical condition that may have an effect on the breathing like asthma; or any heart or kidney ailment. In addition, tell your physician if you are enduring alcohol withdrawal (a symptoms experienced by an individual when he/ she stops consumption of alcoholic beverages following drinking them for a prolonged period); if you have ever had to discontinue taking medications for treating mental ailments owing to serious side effects; or if you intend to use organophosphate insecticides (a type of chemical employed to eliminate insects).

In case you intend to use perphenazine to cure vomiting or nausea, it is essential to inform your physician beforehand regarding any additional symptoms experienced by you, particularly drowsiness, aggression, confusion, headaches, vision problems, seizures, lethargy, any problem related to hearing, speech or balance, constipation or cramps and/ or pain in the stomach. It may be noted that people experiencing vomiting or nausea associated with the symptoms mentioned here may be an indication of a graver health condition that should not be cured using perphenazine.

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Women who intend to use perphenazine should tell their physician if they are pregnant, particularly if they are in the last phase of their pregnancy; they are planning to become pregnant; or they are breast-feeding. In case any woman taking perphenazine becomes pregnant while undergoing treatment with this medication, they ought to call their physician at once. Using perphenazine may lead to problems among newborns soon after delivery provided the medication has been taken by their mothers during the last few months of their pregnancy.

Prior to undergoing any surgery, including a dental operation, you should tell your surgeon or dentist that you are already using perphenazine. You ought to be aware that using this medication may make you feel drowsy and this may have an influence on your thoughts as well as movements. Hence, it is advisable that you should not undertake any task that requires alertness, such as driving or operating machinery, till you are certain about the effects of this medication on you.

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Before taking perphenazine, you ought to also be aware of the fact that using perphenazine is like to result in vertigo, wooziness and fainting if you try to rise from a lying position too quickly. These side effects occur more frequently during the initial phase of using this medication. In order to prevent these, it is advisable that you get out of the bed slowly - first rest your feet on the floor for some minutes and then stand up.

People taking perphenazine should consult their physician regarding the safe use of alcohol while undergoing treatment with this drug. It may be noted that alcohol has the aptitude to worsen the side effects of perphenazine. In addition, if you are taking perphenazine, you ought to keep away from needless or prolonged exposure to the sun and also wear protective clothes, sunglasses as well as use sunscreen while going outdoors during the day. Perphenazine has the potential to turn your skin susceptible to sunlight. You ought to also be aware of the fact that perphenazine has the aptitude to make it further problematic for your body to become cold when it becomes extremely hot. Hence, it is advisable that you consult your physician prior to undertaking any rigorous exercise or before exposing yourself to extreme heat.


The anti-psychotic drug perphenazine is employed to cure specific types of mental or mood disorders, for instance, maniac phase of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. This drug assists the patient in having clear thoughts, having less nervousness and participating in their routine life. Perphenazine has the ability to lessen the destructive behaviour as well as the wish to hurt them or other people. In addition, this medication also has the aptitude to lessen hallucinations, for instance, seeing or hearing things that do not exist in reality. In effect, perphenazine is a psychiatric medicine of antipsychotic nature that functions by facilitating the restoration of the balance of specific natural substances in the brain, for instance, dopamine.

Besides using this medication for curing certain types of mental/ mood disorders, doctors also prescribe perphenazine to treat vomiting and nausea.

How to use perphenazine

Perphenazine is taken orally, generally once to thrice every day either with or without food. You may also take this medication according to your physician's direction. The dosage of perphenazine is mainly dependent on the patient's medical condition and his/ her response to the treatment. It is possible that your physician will ask you to begin treatment with perphenazine with a low dosage of the medication and gradually increase the dosage with a view to diminish the possibilities of the side effects of this drug, for instance, muscle seizure. It is essential that people undergoing treatment with this medication should strictly follow the instructions of their physician.

In the initial stages of treatment with perphenazine, patients may require to visit their physician quite frequently with a view to help the physician to decide on the dosage of the medication that is most appropriate for them. Therefore, it is important that they should always keep all the appointments with their physician and the laboratory.

In order to derive the utmost benefit of using perphenazine, this medication should be taken on a regular basis. In addition, to help you remember that you have to take perphenazine, take this medication at the same time(s) daily.

While it is possible that you will detect a number of side effects of using perphenazine soon after beginning treatment with this medication, normally it takes about four to six weeks of regular usage of this medication before you are able to experience the full benefits of taking perphenazine. It is advisable that you should never discontinue using this medication without the consent of your physician. In fact, your condition may deteriorate further if you stop taking this medication all of a sudden. Always decrease the dosage of perphenazine gradually before you stop taking it anymore.

Contact your physician right away if your condition persists or worsens even after few weeks of treatment with the anti-psychotic drug perphenazine.

How perphenazine works

The anti-psychotic drug perphenazine acts by blocking the dopamine receptors in the central nervous system. Dopamine is a chemical that facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses. It is believed that this action of the drug results in a sedative or anti-psychotic effect.

Side effects

  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty swallowing
  • excessive sweating
  • heart palpitation
  • neck stiffness
  • neuroleptic malignant syndrome (characterized by high fever, disorientation, confusion, and spasms or stiffness
  • seizures
  • tongue's swelling
  • blurred vision
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • reduced sweating
  • shaking of hands
  • stiffness
  • stooped posture
Less common:
  • breast swelling or pain
  • chills
  • difficult urination
  • fever
  • heart palpitations
  • increased skin sensitivity sunlight
  • itching
  • menstrual irregularities
  • skin rash
  • sore throat
  • uncontrolled tongue's movements
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • weight gain

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
Use of some herbal products or dietary supplements may interact with perphenazine and, hence, they should not be used in conjunction, for instance, the herb St. John's wort and this medication may work to augment the susceptibility to sunlight. In addition, never take ginseng with perphenazine, as the herb may partially work as a MAO inhibitor. The herbs valerian and kava kava are likely to worse drowsiness when used together. Therefore, avoid any such combination. Moreover, antacids that contain magnesium or aluminum are also likely to lessen the absorption of the drug by the body.
If you are taking perphenazine for a prolonged period, it is essential that you also take a riboflavin supplement. Adding vitamin E to your diet is likely to help in reducing the risks of developing movement disorders - a common side effect of this medication.
Ingestion of certain foods, especially those containing high amounts of vitamin E, may assist in lowering the risks associated with movement disorders. However, consuming foods that contain vitamin C in excess may dull the benefits of taking this medication.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages while taking perphenazine may augment the tranquilizing effects of taking phenothiazines and also augment the depressant effect of these drugs on the functioning of the brain as well as blood pressure. In addition, use of phenothiazines may also augment the inebriating effects of alcohol use.
Tobacco smoking:
People undergoing treatment with perphenazine should lessen or avoid smoking tobacco as it will help to reduce the drowsiness caused by the use of this antipsychotic drug.
Marijuana smoking:
If you are smoking marijuana while undergoing treatment with perphenazine, it is likely that there will be a reasonable increase in stupor; augmented risk of developing precipitating latent psychoses; stress on orthostatic hypotension; medication reactions and puzzling the measurement of mental status.
Exposure to heat:
While undergoing treatment with perphenazine, you also need to exercise caution to keep away from extreme heat whenever it is possible. This drug has the aptitude to augment the chances of having a heat stroke as well as impairing the chances of regulating body temperature.
Exposure to cold:
Using perphenazine may augment the chances of developing hypothermia in aged patients.
Exposure to sun:
You need to exercise caution while taking perphenazine because a number of phenothiazines, the class of drugs to which this medication belongs, may result in photosensitivity.


Individuals who have been using perphenazine for a prolonged period should never stop taking this medication abruptly or without consulting their physician. It is advisable that before you stop taking perphenazine, you should gradually reduce the dosage of the drug under the direct supervision of your physician for a period of over two to three weeks. It may be noted that the possibility of schizophrenia relapse is anything between 50 per cent and 60 per cent.

Storage instructions

Perphenazine should always be stored at room temperature between 20°C and 25°C and in a place that is far from light and dampness. Never store this medication in your bathroom, which is mostly damp. In addition, it is important to keep all medications in a place that is beyond the reach of children and pets.

It is important to note that unless you have been directed otherwise, you should never dispose of any medication by flushing it down the toilet or pouring it into a drain. You should always dispose of this medication in an appropriate and safe manner. If necessary, talk to your pharmacist or any neighbourhood waste disposal company for further information regarding the safe disposal of all medications.


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