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Etrafon (Generic Perphenazine)

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Perphenazine is an antipsychotic medication used to treat conditions like schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Like many medications, it carries some risks and potential side effects:

  • Extrapyramidal Symptoms (EPS): These are movement disorders that can include muscle stiffness, tremors, restlessness, and involuntary movements. These symptoms can be uncomfortable and may affect coordination and movement.
  • Tardive Dyskinesia (TD): This is a potentially irreversible movement disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements, particularly of the face and tongue. It can develop after long-term use of antipsychotic medications like perphenazine.
  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS): This is a rare but serious reaction to antipsychotic medications, characterized by fever, muscle stiffness, confusion, and other symptoms. It requires immediate medical attention.
  • Sedation and Drowsiness: Perphenazine can cause drowsiness, which may impair your ability to operate machinery or perform tasks requiring mental alertness.
  • Orthostatic Hypotension: A sudden drop in blood pressure upon standing, which can cause dizziness or fainting.
  • Weight Gain: Some people may experience weight gain while taking perphenazine, which can increase the risk of other health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
  • Increased Prolactin Levels: Perphenazine can increase levels of the hormone prolactin, which may lead to side effects such as breast enlargement or milk production in both men and women.
  • Other Side Effects: Other potential side effects include blurred vision, dry mouth, constipation, and sexual dysfunction.

It’s important to discuss any concerns or potential side effects with a healthcare provider before starting perphenazine or any other medication. They can provide guidance on managing side effects and help determine if the benefits of the medication outweigh the risks for an individual patient.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Perphenazine is a medication primarily prescribed for the treatment of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia and other related conditions. It belongs to a class of medications called typical antipsychotics, which work by blocking the action of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is believed to play a role in psychotic disorders. It may also be prescribed for other psychotic disorders such as schizoaffective disorder, psychotic depression, and bipolar disorder with psychotic features. Perphenazine is sometimes used off-label to manage severe nausea and vomiting.

How should this medicine be used?

Here’s how Perphenazine tablets are typically used:

  • Dosage: The dosage of Perphenazine can vary depending on the individual’s condition, medical history, and response to treatment. It’s crucial to follow the dosage instructions provided by your healthcare provider.
  • Administration: Perphenazine tablets are usually taken orally, with or without food. It’s essential to take the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the dosage without consulting your healthcare provider.
  • Frequency: Perphenazine is typically taken once or twice daily. Again, follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the frequency of dosage.
  • Duration: It’s important to continue taking Perphenazine even if you feel well, as abruptly stopping the medication can lead to a recurrence of symptoms. Your doctor will determine the appropriate duration of treatment for your condition.
  • Monitoring: While taking Perphenazine, your doctor may periodically monitor your progress and adjust the dosage if necessary. They may also conduct regular check-ups to assess any potential side effects or changes in your condition.
  • Storage: Store Perphenazine tablets at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the medication out of reach of children.
  • Precautions: Inform your doctor about any other medications, supplements, or herbal products you are taking, as they may interact with Perphenazine. Also, disclose any medical conditions you have, especially liver or kidney problems, as well as any history of seizures or other neurological disorders.
  • Side Effects: Like all medications, Perphenazine may cause side effects. Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, dry mouth, constipation, and weight gain. If you experience any severe side effects or allergic reactions, seek medical attention immediately.

Always consult your healthcare provider for personalized medical advice and guidance regarding the use of Perphenazine or any other medication.

Other uses for this medicine

Perphenazine, besides its primary use in treating psychotic disorders, may have some off-label or less common uses. These may include:

  • Severe Nausea and Vomiting: As mentioned earlier, perphenazine is sometimes used off-label to manage severe nausea and vomiting, particularly in cases where other antiemetic medications have not been effective.
  • Anxiety Disorders: In some cases, perphenazine may be prescribed off-label to help manage symptoms of anxiety disorders, particularly when other medications have not been successful or are not suitable.
  • Agitation: Perphenazine might be used off-label to help manage agitation, particularly in healthcare settings or situations where other medications are not available or appropriate.

What special precautions should I follow?

Special precautions should be taken when using perphenazine. Here are some important points to consider:

  • Medical History: Before taking perphenazine, inform your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have a history of certain medical conditions such as liver or kidney disease, heart disease, seizures, glaucoma, or any blood disorders.
  • Allergies: Inform your doctor if you have any allergies to perphenazine or any other medications.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: It’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of taking perphenazine if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, as well as if you are breastfeeding. Perphenazine may pass into breast milk and could potentially harm a nursing infant.
  • Interactions: Inform your doctor about all the medications, supplements, and herbal products you are currently taking, as perphenazine can interact with certain medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, anticonvulsants, and medications that affect heart rhythm.
  • Alcohol and CNS Depressants: Avoid consuming alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants while taking perphenazine, as they can increase drowsiness and other side effects.
  • Driving and Operating Machinery: Perphenazine may impair your ability to drive or operate machinery, so it’s important to avoid these activities until you know how the medication affects you.
  • Regular Monitoring: Your doctor may need to monitor you regularly while you are taking perphenazine to check for any potential side effects or complications.

Always follow your doctor’s instructions and advice carefully when taking perphenazine or any other medication. If you have any concerns or questions about your treatment, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary restrictions associated with Perphenazine. However, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is generally recommended for overall well-being and to support the effectiveness of the medication. If you have any concerns or specific dietary needs, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized advice.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Perphenazine, like many medications, can cause side effects, although not everyone will experience them. Some common side effects of Perphenazine include:

  • Drowsiness or sedation: Perphenazine can cause drowsiness, which may impair your ability to concentrate or perform tasks that require alertness.
  • Dry mouth: This is a common side effect of Perphenazine and may increase the risk of dental problems such as tooth decay.
  • Blurred vision: Perphenazine may cause temporary blurred vision or difficulty focusing.
  • Constipation: Perphenazine can slow down bowel movements, leading to constipation.
  • Weight gain: Some people may experience weight gain while taking Perphenazine, which can be concerning for some individuals.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness: Perphenazine may cause dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when standing up quickly from a sitting or lying position.
  • Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS): These are movement disorders that can include symptoms such as muscle stiffness, tremors, restlessness, and involuntary movements.
  • Orthostatic hypotension: Perphenazine can cause a drop in blood pressure when changing positions, leading to dizziness or fainting.
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight: Perphenazine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, increasing the risk of sunburn.
  • Sexual dysfunction: Some people may experience sexual side effects such as decreased libido or difficulty achieving orgasm while taking Perphenazine.
  • Elevated prolactin levels: Perphenazine can increase levels of the hormone prolactin, which may lead to symptoms such as breast enlargement or lactation (even in men), menstrual irregularities, or fertility issues.
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS): Although rare, Perphenazine can potentially cause NMS, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition characterized by fever, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, and autonomic dysfunction.

It’s important to report any side effects you experience while taking Perphenazine to your healthcare provider. They can help determine whether the side effects are manageable or require adjustments to your treatment plan. Additionally, if you experience severe or concerning side effects such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe dizziness, or sudden changes in mood or behavior, seek medical attention immediately.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

When it comes to storage and disposal of Perphenazine, here’s what you should know:


  • Keep Perphenazine in its original container, tightly closed, and away from moisture and light.
  • Store Perphenazine at room temperature, away from heat and direct sunlight.
  • Keep Perphenazine out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not store Perphenazine in the bathroom or near the kitchen sink, where it may be exposed to moisture.


  • If you have expired or unused Perphenazine, it’s essential to dispose of it properly.
  • Do not flush Perphenazine down the toilet or pour it down the drain unless instructed to do so by your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
  • Instead, check with your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for proper disposal instructions. They may have specific guidelines for disposing of medications safely.
  • Some communities have drug take-back programs or special disposal containers where you can safely dispose of unused medications.


In case of emergency/overdose

  • If you suspect an overdose of Perphenazine or experience severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, seizures, or severe dizziness, call emergency services immediately.
  • You can also contact the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for guidance on what to do in case of overdose.

What other information should I know?

  • Inform any healthcare provider who treats you about all the medications you’re taking, including Perphenazine, to avoid potential drug interactions.
  • Attend all scheduled appointments with your doctor for monitoring of your condition and response to Perphenazine.
  • Do not stop taking Perphenazine abruptly without consulting your doctor, as this can lead to withdrawal symptoms or a worsening of your condition.
  • Perphenazine may interact with certain medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and medications that affect heart rhythm, so inform your doctor about all the medications and supplements you’re taking.
  • If you’re planning to have surgery, inform your surgeon or healthcare provider that you’re taking Perphenazine, as you may need to adjust your medication regimen before the procedure.

By following these guidelines and being aware of important information about storage, disposal, emergencies, and other considerations, you can use Perphenazine safely and effectively as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

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