Medication Monday: Thorazine 

The extra hour this weekend didn’t prevent Monday from coming, which means it is time once again for Medication Monday. This week, we are talking about Thorazine (Chlorpromazine).

Thorazine is an anti-psychotic that is used to treat a variety of mood and psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, psychosis, the manic phase of bipolar disorder, and behavioral problems in children not addressed by other medications. It can help patients control hallucinations and vomiting. It also has been shown to be effective in relieving prolonged hiccups, pre-surgical anxiety, and is helpful in treating tetanus. 

Like all medications, and particularly all mental health medications, Thorazine has a variety of side effects that users might experience. Such side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, dry mouth, nausea, constipation, weight gain, and trouble sleeping. 

When coming off the medication, it is important to consult your doctor. Stopping suddenly may exacerbate the underlying condition. It may also cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and shakiness. You should also tell your doctor if your condition worsens while taking this medication.  

As always, Medication Monday is not meant as a substitute for medical advice. If you have questions about this medication, or any other medication covered in this series, please consult your doctor. This series is meant as an informational introduction to the various medications that are available. Hopefully, by talking about these medications in an informative and non-judgmental way, we can reduce the stigma surrounding mental health medications, a stigma I know I have experienced at times and that I expect others have as well.

8 thoughts on “Medication Monday: Thorazine 

  1. This is interesting. I’ve heard Thorazine can also be used for treating persistent hiccups. Is it true that Thorazine was developed from promethazine (Phenergan)?

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    1. Thanks for the comment! Unfortunately my background research didn’t go into the development of the drug, so I don’t have an answer for you right now, but I’ll try to check on that and get back to you.

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    2. Well, considering Thorazine was the “gateway drug’ which pushed pharmacology from the use of anti-histamines to the use of anti-psychotics, I will say there is a very good chance Thorazine is derived from promethazine. It was originally designed to be an anesthetic, but doctors in psychiatry saw it made people aloof, easy to control, and didn’t knock them unconscious. They were also able too see the drug lowered dopamine levels, and this paved the way for the very prevalent (but also VERY poorly developed/researched) dopamine hypothesis of psychosis. There’s a reason it’s still only a hypothesis lol.

      Before it was really understood, 800+ miligrams was seen as the proper dose to make someone ready to “re-enter” life. It was also nicknamed the chemical lobotomy, and launched pharmaceuticals into a billion dollar industry and got rid of the physical lobotomies which had been thought as the “cure-all” by a handful of doctors at the time.

      I don’t think this article I’m providing the link for confirms promethazine as its derivative, BUT you may be able to find that information in the reference section: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2655089/

      My educational background is in psychology, and I’ve also been through psychosis. I also spend a lot of time in databases reading research because I’m lame lol.

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      1. Thank you for stopping by and adding your insights to the conversation. I’m looking forward to reading the article you linked. Have a wonderful day!

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      2. Oh wow, so interesting! Is 800mg a high dose? I’m assuming it is as Thorazine was then known as a chemical lobotomy. And as for the dopamine hypothesis, oh wow, I never knew it hasn’t been proven yet. When I studied psychology in college for one year in 2006-2007, my professor quite easily told us to memorize that too little dopamine = Parkinson’s and too much = schizophrenia. I never quite believed that simplistic view anyway.

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      3. 800mg is the maximum dose. Same as Seroquel. I have known people to get prescribed 1000mg of Seroquel, and they wound up with some heart trouble. Yeah, there are a lot of things in all areas of medical science that are more hypothesis than theory. The Chemical Imbalance is one. People call it a theory, but the research is poor. None of it is actual substantial enough to graduate that hypothesis to a theory. I’m not saying it’s wrong, or that biochemicals don’t play a part in our development, but there is no significant findings. Half of the medications they put out have poor efficacy results but the research either gets smudged from fraud or isn’t talked about/read. Not everyone has access to databases and journals. I once had a psychiatrist who prescribed me Abilify. I actually didn’t mind that medication back when I took them, but she kept wanting to up my dosage past 10mg. So I got out my Physicians Desk Reference from my job (I work at a mental health program) and found where they cited there is no significant difference in treatment results for greater than 10mg of Abilify. But . . . the company dishes out 30mg pills.

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      4. Oh, I never knew that about Abilify. I am on 30mg, but really want to lower my dose, as I did fine on 15mg (don’t remember about 10mg as I was on that only briefly) until my support level got decreased. Well just IMHO medication isn’t a substitute for proper support. I mean, I’m not even psychotic, never was, just takingthis for autistic irritability. So well yeah. Anyway, yes heard that about Seroquel. I remember learning about Risperdal when I was on it that the higest effective dose is 6mg, which is roughly equivalet to 600mg Seroquel.

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      5. By the way, I used to pull out the Dutch equivalent of the physician’s reference too (it’s available online), but I’m not educated enough to understand all the terminology.

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