Side effect What is it? What should I do if it happens to me?
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
Dry mouth. Not much saliva or spit. Sugar-free boiled sweets, chewing gum or eating citrus fruits
usually helps. If not, your doctor can give you a mouth spray.
A change in medicine or dose may be possible.
Blurred vision Things look fuzzy and you can’t focus properly. See your
doctor if you are worried. You won’t need glasses.
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.
Difficulty in passing urine Contact your doctor now.
Feeling shaky or having a tremor. Your neck
may twist back. Your eyes and tongue may
move on their own.
It is not usually dangerous. If it is bad or worries you, tell
your doctor. They can give you something for it.
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
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.
WEIGHT GAIN Eating more and putting on weight. 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.
DROWSINESS Feeling sleepy or sluggish. Don’t drive or use machinery. As your treatment continues
you should feel less drowsy.
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
Finding it hard to have an orgasm. No desire for
sex. Men can become impotent.
Discuss this with your doctor when you next meet.
The injection site swells. It feels painful and
Report it to your nurse. Warm baths and regular exercise
like walking can help.
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
What about alcohol?
It is officially recommended that people taking pipotiazine should not drink alcohol. This is because both pipotiazine and alcohol can
cause drowsiness. If the two are taken at the same time, severe drowsiness can result. 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 people are used to taking
medication, they can sometimes drink alcohol in small amounts without any harm. Avoid alcohol altogether for the first one or two
months. After this, if you want a drink, try a glass of your normal drink and see how you feel. If this doesn’t make you feel drowsy, then
it is probably OK to drink small amounts. It pays to be very cautious 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.
Remember, leaflets like this can only describe some of the effects of medication. You may find other
books or leaflets also 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
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