Stelazine (trifluoperazine)

Stelazine (trifluoperazine)

Brand name: Stelazine®.
Active ingredient name: Trifluoperazine.
Type of medication: Typical antipsychotic.
Available in Canada from: Smith Kline Beecham Pharma Inc.
Form: Oral tablets.
Generic: No.
Listed on Ontario formulary: No.
OHIP+ coverage: No.

What is Stelazine used for?

Stelazine is used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses in adults and children over 6 years of age.

How should I take Stelazine?

  • Stelazine is available in 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg tablets. It is also available as syrup in 1 mg and 10 mg/mL concentrations.
  • Adults: The usual starting dosage for adults with schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses is 2 mg - 5 mg twice a day. Most people will show optimum response on 15 mg or 20 mg daily, although some may require 40 mg a day or more. Discuss your individual dose with your doctor.
  • Children: The starting dose is 1 mg administered once or twice daily. Your child’s dosage may be increased gradually.

What are the most common side effects seen with Stelazine

The most common side effects of Stelazine include:
  • Abnormal movements (extrapyramidal symptoms)
  • Changes in monthly menstrual cycle (amenorrhea)
  • Decreased sexual interest and/or function
  • Swelling of breasts and milk production in males and females
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blurred vision

What are rare but potentially serious adverse effects with Stelazine?

  • Decrease in white blood cell count (agranulocytosis)
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS)
  • Sudden cardiac death (heart attack)
  • Torsades de pointes (serious heart arrhythmia)


Elderly individuals with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic medication are at an increased risk of death compared to individuals not receiving antipsychotics. Most deaths appear to be either cardiovascular or infectious. Stelazine is not approved for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis. Some individuals with dementia may, however, be treated with this medication. Discuss the potential risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor for this indication.

What medications interact with Stelazine?

Tell all your doctors, pharmacists and dentist that you are taking Stelazine. You should also tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications, including those obtained without a prescription, and herbal and vitamin products.

The following types of medications may interact with Stelazine:

  • Certain medications for allergies (e.g., Benadryl [diphenhydramine])
  • Certain medications for sleep (e.g., lorazepam, zopiclone)
  • Certain medications for pain (e.g., fentanyl)
  • Anti-Parkinson agents
Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while taking Stelazine.