AMISULPRIDE (‘Solian’) SULPIRIDE (‘Dolmatil’)
Am - ee - sul - pride Sul - pi - ride
Why have I been prescribed amisulpride or sulpiride?
Amisulpride and sulpiride are medicines used to help treat schizophrenia and similar conditions, such as psychosis.
When they have schizophrenia, many people hear voices talking to them or about them. They may also become
suspicious or paranoid. Some people also have problems with their thinking and feel that other people can read their
thoughts. These are called "positive symptoms". Amisulpride and sulpiride can help to relieve these symptoms. Many
people with schizophrenia also experience "negative symptoms". They feel tired and lacking in energy and may
become quite inactive and withdrawn. Amisulpride and sulpiride may help relieve these symptoms as well.
Amisulpride and sulpiride are sometimes prescribed for people who have had bad side effects with older
antipsychotics, such as unpleasant movements and shaking.
What exactly are amisulpride and sulpiride?
Amisulpride and sulpiride are antipsychotics from a class of medicines called the benzamides. Schizophrenia and
similar disorders are sometimes referred to as psychoses, hence the name given to this group of medicines, which is
the “antipsychotics”. They are sometimes also called the neuroleptics or (incorrectly) major tranquillisers.
Amisulpride and sulpiride are similar in the way they work. Sulpiride has been available for many years, while
amisulpride is newer. The trade or brand name of amisulpride is Solian’. The trade or brand names of sulpiride include
‘Dolmatil’, ‘Sulpitil and ‘Sulparex.
Are amisulpride and sulpiride safe to take?
It is usually safe to have amisulpride or sulpiride regularly as prescribed by your doctor, but they don’t suit everyone.
Let your doctor know if any of the following apply to you, as extra care may be needed:
a) If you have epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, or suffer from kidney trouble or have a condition called
phaeochromocytoma;
b) If you are taking any other medication. This includes medicines from your pharmacist, such as antihistamines;
c) If you are pregnant, breast feeding, or wish to become pregnant.
What is the usual dose of amisulpride and sulpiride?
For amisulpride, the usual dose is 400mg to 800mg a day. Some people need to be on a lower dose such as 50mg to
300mg a day. The maximum total daily dose is 1200mg. Amisulpride is usually taken twice a day.
For sulpiride, the usual dose is 400mg to 800mg a day. The maximum total daily dose is 2400mg. Sulpiride is usually
taken twice a day.
How should I take amisulpride or sulpiride?
Look at the label on your medicine. It should have all the necessary instructions on it. Follow this advice carefully. If
you have any questions, speak to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. Normally medicines are dispensed with an
information leaflet for you to read.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
Never change your dose without checking with your doctor. If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember, as
long as it is within a few hours of the usual time.
What will happen to me when I start taking amisulpride or sulpiride?
Antipsychotics do not work straight away. For example, it may take several days or even weeks for some of the
symptoms to reduce. To begin with, most people find that this medication will help them feel more relaxed and calm.
Later, after one or two weeks, other symptoms should begin to improve.
Unfortunately, you might get some side effects before you start to feel any better. Most side effects should go away
after a few weeks. Look at the table over the page. It tells you what to do if you get any of the usual side effects. Not
everyone will get the side effects shown. There are many other possible side effects. Ask your pharmacist, doctor or
nurse if you are worried about anything else that you think might be a side effect.
Side effect What is it? What should I do if this happens to me?
COMMON
INSOMNIA or
AGITATION
Feeling restless or not being able to get to
sleep at night.
Discuss with your doctor. They may change the time of
your dose.
MOVEMENT
DISORDERS
Feeling shaky or having a tremor. Your neck
may twist back. Your eyes and tongue may
move on their own.
Your doctor may be able to give you something for it.
Alternatively, your doctor can change your medication to
one that doesn't have this side effect.
RAISED
PROLACTIN
Prolactin is a natural chemical we all have.
High levels can affect periods in women or
cause impotence in men. It may also cause
breast tenderness and milk secretion, in men
as well as women.
This sometimes wears off in a few weeks, but discuss this
with your doctor anyway. It may be that a change in dose
or different drug will help.
UNCOMMON
AKATHISIA You feel restless, unable to feel comfortable
unless you are moving.
Tell your doctor about this. It may be possible to change
your drug or dose, or give you something to reduce these
feelings.
CONSTIPATION Feeling "bunged up" inside. You can't pass a
motion or stool.
Eat more fibre e.g. bran, fruit and vegetables. Do more
walking. Make sure you drink plenty of fluid. A mild
laxative from a pharmacy might help.
DROWSINESS Feeling sleepy or sluggish. It can last for a few
hours after taking your dose
Don't drive or use machinery. Ask your doctor if you can
take your medicine at a different time.
NAUSEA and
VOMITING
Feeling sick or being sick. Taking each dose with or after food may help. If it is bad,
contact your doctor.
RARE
HYPOTENSION A low blood pressure. You may feel faint when
you stand up.
Try not to stand up too quickly. If you feel dizzy, don’t
drive. This dizziness is not dangerous
NMS Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome includes a
high body temperature, muscle stiffness and
being unable to move.
It usually occurs within a few weeks of a dose change.
Contact your doctor immediately. Keep cool, with fans or
cool water.
WEIGHT GAIN Eating more and putting on weight, especially
just after you start taking amisulpride or
sulpiride.
Avoid fatty foods like chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks. A
diet full of vegetables and fibre will usually help, as will
physical activities such as walking. If it becomes a
problem or you are worried, ask to see a dietician.
What about alcohol?
It is normally recommended that if you are taking amisulpride or sulpiride you should not drink alcohol. This is because
amisulpride, sulpiride and alcohol can all cause drowsiness. If amisulpride or sulpiride are taken with alcohol, severe
drowsiness will occur. This can lead to falls or accidents. As well as this, drinking alcohol often makes psychosis
worse. Excessive drinking is especially likely to do this. Once you are used to this medication, you may find that small
amounts of alcohol do not cause any problems with it. It is, however, best to avoid alcohol altogether for the first one or
two months that you are taking it. It pays to be very cautious if you do decide to drink because alcohol affects people in
different ways, especially when they are taking medication.
Don't stop taking your medication because you fancy a drink. Discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor,
pharmacist or nurse. If you do drink alcohol, drink only small amounts. Never drink any alcohol and drive.
When I feel better, can I stop taking amisulpride or sulpiride?
If you stop taking amisulpride or sulpiride suddenly your original symptoms are likely to return, but this may not be for 3
to 6 months after you stop the drug. You and your doctor should decide together when you should come off it. Most
people need to be on amisulpride or sulpiride for quite a long time, sometimes years. This is not thought to be harmful.
Remember, leaflets like this can only describe some of the effects of medication. You may also find
other books or leaflets useful. If you have access to the internet you may find a lot of information there
as well, but be careful, as internet based information is not always accurate.
2001 United Kingdom Psychiatric Pharmacy Group www.ukppg.org.uk
This leaflet is to help you understand about your medicine. It is not an official manufacturer's Patient Information
Leaflet. For more information call the UKPPG National Telephone Helpline, 11am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
on 020 7919 2999 or visit www.nmhct.nhs.uk/pharmacy
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