Sounds like 'PRO-klor-PER-a-zeen'

Key points about prochlorperazine

  • Prochlorperazine is used to treat nausea and vomiting.
  • Prochlorperazine is also called Stemetil or Nausafix. 
  • Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. 
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Prochlorperazine is used to treat nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting (being sick) due to a variety of causes including cancer medication, a migraine headache or following surgery. It's also used for vertigo from Meniere's disease or for short-term management of anxiety. It's thought that prochlorperazine works by blocking the action of dopamine, a chemical in your brain.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, prochlorperazine is available as tablets and can be given as an injection in the hospital.

May 2024: The Buccastem brand of 3mg prochlorperazine tablets is no longer available

The Buccastem brand of 3 mg prochlorperazine tablets is no longer available in New Zealand because another supplier has discontinued a product needed to make Buccastem. All prochlorperazine products are now only available on a prescription from your doctor.

An alternative brand of 3 mg tablets available to buy over the counter from a pharmacist is expected to be available in early 2025. Find out more about the Prochlorperazine (Buccastem) supply issue.(external link)

  • The dose of prochlorperazine will be different for different people, depending on what it's being used for.
  • Always take your prochlorperazine exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much prochlorperazine to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

Prochlorperazine tablets are available in 2 strengths.

Prochlorperazine tablets How to take them
5 mg tablet
  • Swallow the tablets with a glass of water.
  • Don't chew the tablets.
  • You can take these tablets with or without food
3 mg tablet 
  • These tablets are designed to dissolve in your mouth.
  • Place the tablet between your top gum and upper lip. Leave it in place and the tablet will dissolve slowly over the next hour or so.
  • Don't chew or swallow the tablet.

Here are some things to know when you're taking prochlorperazine. Other things may be important as well, so ask your healthcare provider what you should know about.

  • Alcohol: Limit or avoid alcohol while you're taking prochlorperazine. It can increase your chance of side effects, eg, drowsiness (makes you sleepy).
  • Sunlight: Prochlorperazine can make your skin sensitive to sunlight. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight for long periods or sun beds. Apply a good sunscreen (SPF30+) to all uncovered skin before going out in the sun.
  • Other medicines: Prochlorperazine interacts with some medications, herbal supplements and rongoā Māori, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting prochlorperazine and before starting any new products.
  • Indigestion medicines: Don't take medicines for indigestion within 2 hours of taking prochlorperazine.
  • Constipation: Prochlorperazine may cause constipation which can be serious. If you have fewer bowel motions than normal, or if you experience tummy discomfort, bloating, hard or dry poos, difficulty passing gas, nausea, vomiting, reduced appetite, or diarrhoea tell your doctor immediately – don't wait to see if they go away.

Like all medicines, prochlorperazine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Drowsiness (feeling sleepy)
  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling lightheaded or faint
  • Blurred vision
  • These are common.
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting to avoid falls. These effects put you at risk of falls and injuries, especially if you're an older person.
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty when passing urine (pee)  
  • Feeling hot or cold
  • Tell your doctor if these bother you.
  • To relieve dry mouth, suck ice chips, drink water, or use a saliva substitute.
  • Constipation
  • Unexplained fever or infection
  • Feeling like your heart is racing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring Healthline 0800 611 116.
  • Feeling shaky or restless
  • Strange muscle movements
  • These are not common.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring Healthline 0800 611 116.
  • Fever, sweating, yellow eyes or skin, shortness of breath
  • These are rare.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring Healthline 0800 611 116.

Read more about medicines and side effects and reporting a reaction that you think might be a side effect.


  1. Prochlorperazine(external link) New Zealand Formulary
  2. Nausafix(external link) Medsafe Data Sheet

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Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist, Healthify He Puna Waiora. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Stephanie Yee, Pharmacist, Auckland

Last reviewed: