Periciazine is a medication from the antipsychotic group used to treat behavioural and mood disorders, as well as the symptoms of illnesses such as schizophrenia involving agitation or uncontrolled movements.

In this article we’ll see what periciazine is, what it’s for, what its mechanism of action is, as well as its main and side effects , and contraindications to take into account.

What is periciazine?

Periciazine is an antipsychotic drug of the phenothiazine family that is used to treat people suffering from mood and behavioural disorders. Phenothiazines belong to the group of classical antipsychotics and, in addition to having antipsychotic properties, they have antiemetic effects.

There are three groups of phenothiazine-type antipsychotics: aliphatic compounds, piperidines and piperazines. Periciazine is included in the piperidine group .

Health professionals prescribe this medicine for the short-term treatment of anxiety and maintenance of psychotic disorders or schizophrenia. Its effectiveness over other antipsychotics has not yet been demonstrated.

What’s it for?

Periciazine, as an antipsychotic drug, has therapeutic effects on mood and behavioural abnormalities , whatever their origin. In this sense, it is a medication that has been used in a wide variety of disorders and conditions.

Generally, and always under medical prescription, this drug is indicated for the treatment of:

  • Character disorders and behavioral disorders (aggressive behavior, psychomotor agitation, defiant opposition, etc.).
  • Epilepsy, schizophrenia, psychotic symptoms, neurosis, alcoholism, psychopathy.
  • Acute episodes in psychosis and neurosis (obsessive).
  • Acute and chronic psychosis.

Mechanism of action

Periciazine is a first generation antipsychotic drug and its main effects are of a sedative type : as an adrenergic antagonist, blocking the actions of endogenous adrenergic neurotransmitters, epinephrine and norepinephrine; and as an antipsychotic, reducing pathological arousal and emotional tension in some patients with psychotic symptoms.

This drug belongs to the group of sedative phenothiazines with weak antipsychotic properties. It also has adrenolytic, anticholinergic, metabolic and endocrine effects, as well as an effect on the extrapyramidal system.

Periciazine acts mainly in subcortical areas, producing what has been described as a central adrenergic blockade . Phenothiazines, such as chlorpromazine or thioridazine, can cause hyperactive delirium preceded by restlessness and agitation, and it is suspected that this is due to their anticholinergic effects (by blocking the effects of acetylcholine).

Effects on cognitive functions

In normal subjects, the effects of neuroleptics such as periciazine on memory and cognitive performance are mild and variable. Higher cognitive functions are largely unaffected, and in some people performance may improve as existing disease improves.

For example, in patients suffering from schizophrenia, it has been shown that certain antipsychotics, such as trifluoperazine or haloperidol (although not belonging to the piperidine group) could improve short-term memory.

However, chlorpromazine and thoridazine (which, like periciazine, are also phenothiazines) may slightly impair short-term memory, but not visual immediate or long-term memory.

In those patients who already have dementia, antipsychotic drugs can accelerate cognitive decline. There is clinical evidence that Alzheimer’s patients who take these drugs are at increased risk of cognitive impairment.

Contraindications and side effects

Among the most common side effects after the consumption of periciazine are the following: drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, dry mouth, constipation or diarrhoea.

Another series of effects may also occur and if they persist, the doctor should be notified : uncontrolled muscle movements, sudden changes in mood, difficulty in sleeping, confusion or aggressiveness.

There are also a number of other unlikely but more serious side effects that should be reported to your doctor immediately, such as: changes in vision, mouth sores, burns or spots on the skin, weight gain, menstrual changes, and significant decrease in libido.

On the other hand, periciazine should not be used if you suffer from any of the following disorders :

  • If you have a diagnosis of Parkinson’s.
  • If there is an allergy or hypersensitivity to periciazin, phenothiazines or any of the components of the marketed product.
  • If you have a severe depressive disorder.
  • If you suffer from haematological alterations or diseases such as agranulocytosis or porphyria
  • If you have liver problems.
  • If alcoholism occurs.
  • If you have glaucoma (an eye disease that gradually reduces your vision).
  • If you have problems with your urethra or prostate, as well as urine retention

Periciazine for schizophrenia

People with a disease like schizophrenia often have symptoms that include auditory and visual hallucinations, as well as strange beliefs or delusions. The basic treatment for such symptoms is usually antipsychotic drugs.

Research has sought to ascertain whether periciazine, despite being a typical or first generation and relatively old antipsychotic (formulated in 1961), could have more beneficial effects than other atypical or second generation antipsychotic drugs, which have been marketed more recently.

Several studies comparing the efficacy of periciazine with other antipsychotic drugs, both older and newer, have failed to determine which is more effective.

On the other hand, in one of the studies it could be verified that the patients who consumed periciazine presented more side effects , such as involuntary agitation, tremors, excitability and spasms, compared to other typical and atypical antipsychotics.

No other studies have reported satisfactory results in terms of treatment and drug effectiveness. This lack of evidence calls for more attention and research in future trials on the primary and side effects of this drug, so that they can benefit the patients themselves.

Bibliographic references:

  • Gutierrez SF. Current treatment with antipsychotics for schizophrenia. Farm Hosp 1998; 22: 207- 212.
  • Snyder, S.H., Banerjee, S.P., Yamamura, H.I. and Greenberg, D., Drugs, neurotransmitters and schizophrenia, Science, 184 (1974) 1243 – 1253.
  • Tajima K, Fernández H, López-Ibor JJ, Carrasco JL, Díaz-Marsá M. Treatments for schizophrenia. Critical review on pharmacology and mechanisms of action of antipsychotics. Acta Esp Psiquitr 2009; 37: 330 – 342.