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Sulpiride for schizophrenia and Tourette's syndrome

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Sulpiride for schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome

This leaflet is about the use of sulpiride for the treatment of schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome.

Information Standard quality markThis leaflet has been written specifically for parents and carers about the use of this medicine in children. The information may differ from that provided by the manufacturer. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

Do not stop giving sulpiride suddenly, as your child is likely to get withdrawal effects.

Name of drug

Sulpiride
Brand names:
Dolmatil®, Sulpor®

Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?

Sulpiride changes the levels of some important chemicals in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin.

For children with schizophrenia, sulpiride will reduce their symptoms and help their mood and behaviour to be more stable.

For children with Tourette’s syndrome, sulpiride will help to reduce the severity and frequency of tics.

What is sulpiride available as?

  • Tablets: 200 mg, 400 mg
  • Liquid medicine (Sulpor): 200 mg in 5mL

When should I give sulpiride?

Sulpiride is usually given twice each day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Ideally, these times are 10–12 hours apart, for example some time between 7 and 8 am, and between 7 and 8 pm.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of sulpiride (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

Your doctor may suggest that your child starts on a low dose. They may then increase the dose over a period of days or weeks depending on how your child does.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.

How should I give sulpiride?

TabletsTablets should be swallowed with a glass of water, milk or juice. Your child should not chew the tablet.
You can crush the tablet and mix it with a small amount of soft food such as yogurt, honey or jam. Make sure your child swallows it straight away, without chewing

Liquid medicine with oral syringeLiquid medicine: Measure out the right amount using an oral syringe or  medicine spoon. You can get these from your pharmacist. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the right amount.

When should the medicine start working?

This depends on what your child is being treated for.

  • If your child gets hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there), these should start to get better after a week or so. It may take longer than this for delusions (thinking something is real that is not) to stop.
  • It may take 6–8 weeks before your child’s mood and behaviour begin to seem more normal.
  • It is likely to take 4–6 weeks for symptoms of tics or Tourette’s syndrome to get better.
  • It is important that you continue to give sulpiride during this time. If you worried about whether the medicine is helping, contact your doctor.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

  • If your child is sick less than 30 minutes after having a dose of sulpiride, give them the same dose again.
  • If your child is sick more than 30 minutes after having a dose of sulpiride, you do not need to give them another dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

What if I forget to give it?

If you remember up to 4 hours after you should have given a dose, give your child the missed dose. For example, if you usually give a dose at about 7 am, you can give the missed dose at any time up to 11 am. If you remember after that time, do not give the missed dose. Just give the next dose as usual.

What if I give too much?

It may be dangerous to give too much sulpiride.

If you think you may have given your child too much sulpiride, contact your doctor or NHS Direct (0845 4647 in England and Wales; 08454 24 24 24 in Scotland). Have the medicine or packaging with you if you telephone for advice.

Are there any possible side-effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects).

Side-effects that you must do something about

Contact your doctor straight away if your child has any of the following:

  • muscle spasms (stiffening of the muscles), twitching in the face and body, or uncontrolled movements of the tongue or jaw
  • they become restless and cannot control their movements
  • fever (temperature over 38°C), sore throat, rash or mouth ulcers (sores)
  • a racing heart (they may say they have a fluttery feeling in the chest or that their heart is racing).
Other side-effects you need to know about
  • Your child may feel sleepy, tired or weak when they first start taking this medicine, or feel stiffness in their muscles.
  • Your child may get stomach ache and feel sick (nausea). They may also get constipated (difficulty doing a poo).
  • Your child may feel light-headed or dizzy when they stand up, or may faint. Encourage them to stand up slowly, and to sit or lie down if they feel dizzy or light-headed. If this happens often, contact your doctor to check your child’s blood pressure, as it may be too low.
  • They may find that their eyesight seems blurred (fuzzy).

If any of the above side-effects are still a problem after 2 weeks, contact your doctor.

  • Your child may feel listless (they may not want to do anything) or have a low mood. However, some children become agitated and find it difficult to relax.
  • Your child may be more hungry than usual. Encourage them to eat fruit and vegetables and low-calorie foods, rather than foods that contain a lot of calories (avoid crisps, cakes, biscuits and sweets), and to have plenty of exercise. Otherwise they may put on weight.
  • In girls, sulpiride can cause irregular periods and the breasts may get larger.
  • Your child may find it difficult to regulate their body temperature and feel hot and cold.

There may, sometimes, be other side-effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor.

Can other medicines be given at the same time as sulpiride?

  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.
  • Sulpiride should not be taken with some medicines that you get on prescription. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about any other medicines your child is taking before giving sulpiride.
  • Sulpiride should not be taken at the same time as medicines for indigestion. You should allow at least 2 hours before or after giving sulpiride if you need to give your child an indigestion remedy. 
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.

Is there anything else I need to know about this medicine?

Do not change the dose without talking to your doctor first, and do not suddenly stop giving your child sulpiride, as they may get withdrawal symptoms (difficulty sleeping, tremor, anxiety, nausea and vomiting).

  • If you or your child wants to stop sulpiride, discuss this with your doctor. They may want to reduce the dose bit by bit so that your child doesn’t get withdrawal symptoms.  
  • Teenagers should be aware that if they drink alcohol while taking sulpiride, the effects will be stronger. Ideally, they should not drink alcohol.
  • Sulpiride can affect the ability to do skilled tasks such as driving.
  • Your doctor may check your child’s heart and take blood samples to check that their liver and kidney function has not been affected by this medicine.

General advice about medicines

  • Try to give medicines at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
  • If you are not sure a medicine is working, contact your doctor but continue to give the medicine as usual in the meantime. Do not give extra doses, as you may do harm.
  • Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.

If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor straight away.

  • Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you will run out.
  • Make sure that the medicine you have at home has not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

Where I should keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. It does not need to be kept in the fridge.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who to contact for more information

Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about sulpiride and about other medicines used to treat schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome.

You can also get useful information from: 
Publication date: 
17/08/2011

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