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Psychotropic Drugs in Children: Thioridazine (Mellaril)

Last updated on: May 28, 2021


Table 4 Prescribing Information for Thioridazine (Mellaril ®)

Optimum Dosage

1-3 mg/kg/day

20-200 mg/day

Not recommended under 2 years of


Starting dose 10-25 mg b.i.d.

Drug Interactions

CNS depressants

Antacids decrease absorption


Anticonvulsants increase risk of seizures

Epinephrine increases hypotension



Minor Side-Effectsa

Anticholinergic effects (>30%)

Orthostatic hypotension (10%-30%)

Drowsiness, sedation, lethargy (10%-30%)

Amenorrhea and inhibition of ejaculation (10%-30%)

Tachycardia (2%-10%)

Photosensitivity and skin pigmentation (2%-10%)

Weight gain (10%-30%)

Gastrointestinal distressc

Nasal stuffinessc

Breast enlargement and galactorrheac

Peripheral edemac

Parotid swellingc


Hypersensitivity to other phenothiazines

History of blood dyscrasias

Do not use in “pure” attention deficit disorders, because of decrease in learning curve


Drug Withdrawal Effects

Tardive and withdrawal dyskinesia following long-term usage (>3-6 months) particularly in non-responders to treatment

Rebound behavioural phenomenon

Gastrointestinal distress

Insomnia, restlessness, irritability

Chills and cold sweats

Common practice to decrease over 1 month to minimize above phenomena


Major Side-Effects

Parkinsonism (2%-10%)b


Dystonic reactions (<2%)b

Cardiac arrhythmias (10%-30%)b

ECG abnormalities without cardiac injury (>30%)

Pigmentary retinopathy (10%-30%) after chronic therapy

Obstructive jaundice (<2%)

Blood dyscrasia (2%-10%) within 1-3 months

Dulling of intellectual performance0

Epileptic seizures (<2%)b

Concurrent Treatment and Alternatives

When used as a non-specific tranquilizer, the medication should be used in conjunction with one or more of the following:

Behaviour therapy

Family or caretaker therapy

Residential treatment

Remedial education

Other psychotherapies

a. Frequencies from Bezchilibnyk-Butler and Jeffries.b. Dose related.

c. Rare.

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