Did you know that doctors are not trained at all in medical school in how to do a proper Thorazine withdrawal? It’s much easier to find a doctor who will put someone on a drug than it is to find a doctor skilled in titration or weaning off drugs.
Thorazine and other antipsychotic drugs alter, and some would say disable normal brain activity. Long term, this can spell trouble. A lifetime of taking antipsychotics is not necessarily the best way forward. There may be safer, milder, and more effective options to consider.
Do Your Symptoms
For close to 20 years now, Alternative to Meds antipsychotic withdrawal treatment has produced a legacy of success which can be seen in our published evidence. Underlying issues may have been overlooked entirely, sometimes resulting in misdiagnosis or ineffective treatments that really did not help. At the Alternative to Meds Center, our aim is to investigate and resolve those types of issues.
15 Years Experience by Professionals Who Understand Your Journey.
Perhaps the most concerning chlorpromazine or Thorazine withdrawal symptoms would be the return of symptoms that were unmanageable and that preceded the choice of Thorazine treatment in the first place. Chouinard et al found that 85% of a cohort of 26 patients who were switched over periods as long as 2 years, from 15 years on Thorazine to a different antipsychotic medication experienced withdrawal symptoms of concern.7
More encouraging, are the results of a 2013 clinical trial involving withdrawing 98 patients across an age range of 15-66 years of age, who had been taking antipsychotics for one year or longer. 43 of 98 patients successfully discontinued their prescribed antipsychotic drug without significant behavioral worsening and most experienced actual improvements in behavioral functioning as a result.12
Thorazine withdrawal symptoms may include:
Return of psychosis
Return of, and sometimes intensification of, original symptoms including deep depression, mania, rage, excitability, and aggressive or violent behavior
What Is Thorazine?
Thorazine, generic chlorpromazine, is classified as an antipsychotic medication prescribed for schizophrenia, manic episodes of bipolar disorder, and in children aged 1 to 12 years of age with severe behavioral problems. Thorazine is a drug from 1951 and was the first medication ever to be named an “antipsychotic” drug. Today it is described as a “low-potency cholinergic” medication.7 The brand name “Thorazine” is no longer used, but chlorpromazine is still very much in use. The drug provided a welcome change from earlier protocols for treating or subduing symptoms of psychoses and schizophrenia which mainly centered on heavy sedation, medical restraints to keep the patient tied to their bed, electroconvulsive shock treatment, insulin-induced coma style “treatment,” or lobotomy and the patients were quietly kept locked away for decades in old musty buildings.1
Even today, drugmakers and regulators clearly state they have no clear understanding of the mechanism of action of antipsychotic drugs, but a widely discussed theory is that all antipsychotic medications bind to certain dopamine receptors. Unfortunately, over the long-term, constant blockade of these receptors causes a deterioration of the patient’s health.15
In a practical sense, these drugs do have the capacity to effectively subdue or dampen violence or other behaviors that are difficult to manage. In our modern age, more attention is beginning to be placed on psychosocial treatments, using non-drug treatments where possible, and shorter treatment with neuroleptics and a more compassionate context has developed in the overall field of mental health. With insights from modern researchers and holistic psychiatrists such as the remarkable Dr. Peter Breggin and many others, this certainly looks like a positive evolutionary step.2
Today chlorpromazine is sold under other trade names such as Largactil, and others around the globe. Since the drug has been around for three-quarters of a century, a considerable body of data has accumulated on chlorpromazine. Below is an outline of various topics of information that might be considered recommended reading for anyone considering starting or stopping Thorazine or similar drugs.
What Is Thorazine (chlorpromazine) Used For?
Over the years and decades, there have been various uses and brand names of chlorpromazine approved by the FDA. Chlorpromazine was a derivative of drugs used in insecticide and deworming research, for their toxic effects. At its inception, chlorpromazine was mostly considered a candidate for anesthesia for surgical use. Psychiatrists however took a keen interest in experimenting with it on psychiatric patients, and the subject of psychopharmacology was born. Now we see the thousands of drugs that this branch of “medicine” has birthed because of an ongoing infatuation with drug-therapy-based mental health treatment.13
As an augmentative medication in the treatment of tetanus
As an adjunct treatment for serotonin syndrome
To prevent migraine-related nausea
As a pre-surgical tranquilizer
To prevent nausea and vomiting during surgery
For treating a group of diseases called porphyria. Acute porphyria is thought to be genetic in origin, involving imbalances of red blood cells, causing blisters, rash, fever, abdominal pain, and other symptoms.
Thorazine (chlorpromazine) Alternative Names and Slang
Sometimes antipsychotic drugs are nicknamed “drool drugs” as they can induce profuse salivation, and decrease the ability to swallow as the throat may become constricted. Drug-based therapy, especially long-term, can, unfortunately, cause the patient to become prone to this characteristic.
Thorazine, et. al, did not develop a known street presence as a drug of recreational use, although there is never a guarantee against the possibility of diversion-sourced drugs being covertly trafficked in the illicit or non-medical market. Freedom of Information materials released in 1977 and reported in the 1977 Washington Post, revealed that CIA-led experiments of the 50s and 50s used chlorpromazine reportedly under the brand name “Chlorapromise” and other drugs on students in top-secret operations at an estimated 80 private and public universities and schools in the United States.10
Despite its cloudy history, chlorpromazine remains on the WHO’s list of “essential” medications today.11
Thorazine (chlorpromazine) Side Effects
Thorazine, or chlorpromazine, produces a number of side effects. Weight gain is a rather notorious one for this drug, thought to be related to changes in glucose levels in the blood. However, this side effect usually reverts back to normal once the drug is stopped, though it may take several years for weight to normalize again.1
Other side effects of chlorpromazine include:
Motor movement disorders, i.e., tardive dyskinesia, tongue rolling, shuffling walk, tics, etc.
Swelling in body parts, face, eyes, extremities
Breast enlargement and discharge
Impotence, loss of libido, Anorgasmia
An allergic rash that can be fatal
Yellowing of the eyes or skin, indicating possible liver dysfunction
Itching or hives
Insomnia or disturbed sleep
Vision difficulties, i.e., blurring or inability to see in dim lighting
Unusual bleeding or bruising
Difficulty swallowing (constricted throat)
Muscle stiffness or rigidity
Slow motor movement
Discontinuing/Quitting Thorazine (chlorpromazine)
Quitting chlorpromazine should be discussed with your physician to look at other possible alternatives, but in any case, stopping chlorpromazine never be abrupt. A gradual taper would be a safer and milder approach if the decision were made to stop the long-term use of antipsychotic medications.
In today’s world of growing options for drug-free mental health treatment, there are many psycho-social and even nutritional protocols that might also be considered in overall treatment planning.2,3
Thorazine Withdrawal: FAQs
Thorazine, generic chlorpromazine, has been quite well-studied over the 70+ years since it was first marketed. Following are a number of topics that are frequently researched for more information on important health matters such as drug effects, overdose, diseases linked to Thorazine, and more.
What Does Thorazine Do to You?
Chlorpromazine is a member (derivative) of a group of chemical compounds termed “phenothiazines.” Phenothiazine drugs have the capability of influencing or acting upon the chemicals in the human brain and central nervous system, and the same systems in animals and insects.14
In the 1940s, phenothiazine and its derivatives were used as insecticides and for deworming due to their remarkably effective toxicity characteristics. As research continued, there were many derivatives produced, like chlorpromazine (untested on humans, tested on rats and other animals, in clinical trials, and to investigate negative effects on fertility/sterility).5 The drug became widely used for mental health treatment.
Can You Overdose on Thorazine?
Yes. Chlorpromazine is used to treat schizophrenia and manic or mixed episodes in bipolar disorders. The drug can interact with other drugs, and also can change the metabolism of the body.
When too much of the drug is taken, either purposefully or accidentally, it can result in an overdose. Signs of overdose require immediate medical intervention, and may include the following:
Loss of consciousness
Tachycardia (racing heartbeat)
Slowed or stopped breathing
Parkinsonism (slowed or restricted muscle movement, rigidity)
Severe extrapyramidal dyskinesia (motor movement compulsive and repetitive spasms)
Thorazine Withdrawal and General Information on Antipsychotics
Are there any diseases linked to antipsychotics?
Thorazine or chlorpromazine is linked with numerous diseases or conditions.4 Some of these are described below and include:
AAI (acute alcohol intoxication)
CD or cardiovascular disease
CNS depression (central nervous system depression)
Head injury from falls
Dystonic reactions: twisted spasmodic or fixed unusual body postures or motions.
Anticholinergic effects, where a drug aggressively blocks the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine resulting in dry mouth, dental problems, lung disease, digestive, and many other systemic dysfunctions, can lead to death.
Hematology toxicity, toxic changes to the blood platelets, etc.
NMS or neuroleptic malignant syndrome, symptoms including tremor, extreme (lead-pipe) muscle rigidity, high fever, drop in blood pressure, tachycardia, and increased rate of breathing. NMS is a potentially fatal condition.
Parkinsonism: a drug-induced condition resembling the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease such as shuffling walk, rigid muscles, slowed or impaired movements, etc.
Respiratory illness or dysfunction
Tardive dyskinesia: a typically irreversible condition characterized by rolling or spasmodic muscle motions of the face, tongue, lip-smacking, limbs hands feet twisting, etc.
What does chlorpromazine do to the brain?
Over nearly 20 years of observation and genetic testing and analysis, we have seen an association between impaired catecholamine methyltransferase and certain conditions linked to features of low and high moods, psychosis and mania.
A possible explanation resides in the manner in which the biological pathways of certain neurotransmitters function. We know that certain catecholamines perform an excitatory response to the part of the brain called the limbic or emotional region of the brain. These natural chemicals include dopamine, norepinephrine, and adrenaline.
A person with a low sense of reward may be drawn to using stimulants. Whereas, a person with an overly elevated sense of reward may appear manic. Therefore, where a person is genetically inhibited in the breakdown of dopamine, it would seem to follow that the person could be suffering from excessive dopamine levels. Thorazine may be de-escalating the expression of dopamine or other excitatory chemicals, which will, as a result, dampen the manic symptoms.
Unfortunately, the body does have the capacity to adapt, so this may not be a permanent solution. More research needs to be done in genetics, nutrition, environmental toxins, and related subjects to get a more complete understanding of psychosis, schizophrenia, and other disorders and better ways to treat these conditions successfully.
Treatment for chlorpromazine abuse and addiction?
The treatment for schizophrenia, bipolar symptoms, etc. has mostly centered on pharmaceutical drugs to sedate the patient. While drug-based therapy may prove beneficial for some, for others, there may come a time when the decision is made to discontinue antipsychotic medications and seek other holistic drug-free therapies.
A mild and gentle taper program, supported by holistic, psycho-social, and nutritional protocols may provide an excellent choice to consider. At Alternative to Meds Center, we have helped many patients to come off medications gently and gradually, along with these types of methods, genetics testing, targeted supplementation, etc., with much success.
Thorazine, chlorpromazine Withdrawal at Alternative to Meds Center
The center tests for and gently removes chemicals, environmental neurotoxins, heavy metals, and other sources of accumulated harmful toxins as a rudimentary step. Some of the methods used include orthomolecular medicine, nebulized glutathione, sauna, bentonite clay packs, and many other supportive actions.
Often, clients report a significant improvement in overall wellness from these procedures, such as improved sleep and appetite, improved mood, and higher energy levels. Beginning a taper at such a point allows for a more efficacious, enjoyable, and stable experience.
Perhaps you or a loved one are considering a change in focus and a more natural approach to mental health treatment.
8. Mann SK, Marwaha R. Chlorpromazine. [Updated 2022 May 17]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553079/ [cited 2022 Aug 3]
Diane is an avid supporter and researcher of natural mental health strategies. Diane received her medical writing and science communication certification through Stanford University and has published over 3 million words on the topics of holistic health, addiction, recovery, and alternative medicine. She has proudly worked with the Alternative to Meds Center since its inception and is grateful for the opportunity to help the founding members develop this world-class center that has helped so many thousands regain natural mental health.
Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.