Do phenothiazines have any side effects?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Side effects of phenothiazines often involve the central nervous system and may be severe. These include trouble staying still, repetitive involuntary movements, abnormal postures, drowsiness, and increased salivation. Some people have developed neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Symptoms include rigid muscles, fever, and delirium. 

Other side effects include dry mouth, blurry vision, deposits in the lens or cornea of the eye, problems with body temperature, reduced sweating, changes in heart rhythm, itching, nausea, constipation, and not being able to urinate. A person's skin may become sensitive to light. Men often have erection or ejaculation problems. Women may produce milk and have changes in their menstrual cycle. Phenothiazines can make it dangerous to drive or to operate machinery. 

Long-term use of phenothiazines can cause fine particles to be deposited in the lens or cornea of the eye. These may cause vision problems. 

Older people who take antipsychotic drugs have a higher risk of death, especially from heart problems or infection. 

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor. 

Continue Learning about Antipsychotic

What are the side effects of atypical antipsychotics?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
No matter what medication you are taking, you need to be aware of the side effects. While they d...
More Answers
What are dibenzapine derivatives?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Dibenzapine derivatives are second-generation (atypical) antipsychotic drugs. They work by blocking ...
More Answers
Do antipsychotic medications cause problems in children and adolescents?
Mark Moronell, MDMark Moronell, MD
Children and adolescents who take antipsychotic medications often experience significant side ef...
More Answers
What are benzisoxazole derivatives?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Benzisoxazole derivatives are second-generation (atypical) antipsychotic drugs. They work by blockin...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.