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Zuclopenthixol (Clopixol)

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Zuclopenthixol may slow your reactions and make you feel drowsy. Do not drive or use tools or machines.

Keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your progress can be checked.

Type of medicineAn antipsychotic medicine
Used forSchizophrenia and other similar mental health disorders in adults
Also calledClopixol®
Available asTablets, injection and long-acting ('depot') injection

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that causes disordered ideas, beliefs and experiences. Symptoms of schizophrenia include hearing, seeing, or sensing things that are not real, having mistaken beliefs and feeling unusually suspicious. Zuclopenthixol helps to ease these symptoms. It works on the balance of chemical substances in your brain.

You may be given an injection of zuclopenthixol acetate (Clopixol Acuphase®) for a short time to get your symptoms under control, or you may be prescribed tablets to take. A long-acting, or 'depot', injection may be recommended for you once your symptoms have improved. Zuclopenthixol decanoate is a depot injection which slowly releases zuclopenthixol into your body to prevent your symptoms from coming back. It is given every 1-4 weeks. The main advantage of a depot injection is that you do not have to remember to take tablets every day.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking zuclopenthixol, it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have a heart condition or blood vessel disease.
  • If you have liver, kidney or prostate problems.
  • If you have any problems with your breathing.
  • If you have any of the following: epilepsy, depression, Parkinson's disease, raised pressure in your eye (glaucoma) or a condition which causes muscle weakness, called myasthenia gravis.
  • If you have ever had yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice) or a blood disorder.
  • If you have a tumour on your adrenal gland (a condition called phaeochromocytoma).
  • If you have a rare inherited blood disorder called porphyria.
  • If you have had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about zuclopenthixol and it will also provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • If you have been prescribed tablets, your dose will be adjusted to suit your condition, so take them exactly as your doctor tells you to. You may be started on a smaller dose which will then be gradually increased. The total number of tablets that you need to take each day will be divided into at least two doses. Try to get into the habit of taking your doses at the same times each day, as this will help you to avoid missing any. The directions for taking the tablets will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you about what the doctor said to you. Zuclopenthixol tablets are not affected by food in your stomach so you can take your doses either before or after meals. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
  • If you have been prescribed an injection, it will be given to you by a doctor or nurse. It will be injected into a muscle of your buttock or upper leg. If you haven't received an injection like zuclopenthixol before, sometimes a small dose is given as a test before you have a normal dose. This is to see how well you tolerate the injection.
  • Your treatment will require careful monitoring to make sure that you get the best possible benefit from zuclopenthixol. Keep your regular doctor's appointments so that your progress can be checked. You will need to have some tests from time to time.
  • If you miss an appointment for a maintenance long-acting ('depot') injection, contact your doctor to arrange for another appointment as soon as possible. This is so that you can be given the injection without any further delay.
  • If you are due to have any dental treatment or an operation, please tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are on zuclopenthixol. This is important because it may interfere with any anaesthetic you receive.
  • Some medicines similar to zuclopenthixol can cause the skin to become more sensitive to sunlight than normal. It may be advisable to use a sunscreen in bright sunlight until you know how your skin reacts.
  • If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently, as zuclopenthixol may affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will advise you about this.
  • If you drink alcohol, please ask your doctor for advice. Alcohol increases the risk of side-effects from zuclopenthixol, so it should be avoided.
  • If you buy or take any 'over-the-counter' medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take with zuclopenthixol.
  • Treatment with zuclopenthixol is usually long-term unless you experience an adverse effect. Keep taking it unless your doctor tells you otherwise. When zuclopenthixol has been taken for a while, stopping treatment suddenly can cause problems. If you have been taking it regularly for a year or so, your doctor will want you to reduce your dose gradually if this becomes necessary.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with zuclopenthixol. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Zuclopenthixol side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Feeling dizzy or sleepy, blurred visionDo not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol
Dry mouthTry chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets
HeadacheAsk your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Feeling shaky or restless, slowed movement, unusual or uncontrollable muscle movementsSpeak with your doctor
Indigestion, feeling or being sick, upset stomachStick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods
Changes in weight and appetite, difficulty sleeping, feeling anxious or confused, changes in sexual ability, breast swelling or discomfort, menstrual problems, producing more saliva than usual, fast heartbeats, feeling short of breathDiscuss these with your doctor if any become troublesome

Important: if you experience symptoms such as muscle stiffness, a very high temperature, feeling confused, a fast heartbeat and sweating, you should contact your doctor immediately. These can be signs of a rare but serious condition known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
3325 (v24)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
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