Flupentixol (INN), also known as flupenthixol (former BAN), marketed under brand names such as Depixol (UK) and Fluanxol (AU, AT, BD, BE, BG, CA, CH, CL, CN, CZ, DE, DK, EE, FI, FR, GE, GR, HK, IE, IL, LT, LV, MT, NL, NO, NZ, OM, PH, PL, PT, RU, SE, SG, SI, SK, TH, TW, UK, ZA) is a typical antipsychotic drug of the thioxanthene class. In addition to single drug preparations, it is also available as Anxiset, Deanxit, Mixit—a combination product containing both melitracen (a tricyclic antidepressant) and flupentixol.

Flupentixol is not approved for use in the US. It is, however, approved for use in the UK,[1] Australia,[2] Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and various other countries.

Medical uses

Flupentixol's main use is as a long-acting injection given once in every two or three weeks to individuals with schizophrenia who have poor compliance with medication and suffer frequent relapses of illness, though it is also commonly given as a tablet. There however is little evidence to support its use for this indication.[1][3]

Flupentixol is also used in low doses as an antidepressant.[1][4][5][6][7][8][9]

Adverse effects

Adverse effect incidence[10][1][2][11][12]

Common (>1% incidence) adverse effects include
  • Extrapyramidal side effects such as: (which usually become apparent soon after therapy is begun or soon after an increase in dose is made)
- Muscle rigidity
- Hypokinesia
- Hyperkinesia
- Parkinsonism
- Tremor
- Akathisia
- Dystonia
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Hypersalivation — excessive salivation
  • Blurred vision
  • Diaphoresis — excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Somnolence
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Overactivity
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Fatigue
  • Myalgia
  • Hyperprolactinaemia and its complications such as: (acutely)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Amenorrhoea — cessation of menstrual cycles
- Gynaecomastia — enlargement of breast tissue in males
- Galactorrhoea — the expulsion of breast milk that's not related to breastfeeding or pregnancy
and if the hyperprolactinaemia persists chronically the following adverse effects may be seen:
- Reduced bone mineral density leading to osteoporosis (brittle bones)
- Infertility
  • Dyspepsia — indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Nasal congestion
  • Polyuria — passing more urine than usual.
Uncommon (0.1-1% incidence) adverse effects include
  • Fainting
  • Palpitations
Rare (<0.1% incidence) adverse effects include
  • Blood dyscrasias (abnormalities in the cell composition of blood), such as:
- Agranulocytosis — a drop in white blood cell counts that leaves one open to potentially life-threatening infections
- Neutropaenia — a drop in the number of neutrophils (white blood cells that specifically fight bacteria) in one's blood
- Leucopenia — a less severe drop in white blood cell counts than agranulocytosis.
- Thrombocytopenia — a drop in the number of platelets in the blood. Platelets are responsible for blood clotting and hence this leads to an increased risk of bruising and other bleeds.
- Hyperthermia
- Muscle rigidity
- Rhabdomyolysis
- Autonomic instability (e.g. tachycardia, diarrhoea, diaphoresis, etc.)
- Mental status changes (e.g. coma, agitation, anxiety, confusion, etc.)
Unknown incidence adverse effects include
  • Jaundice
  • Abnormal liver function test results
  • Tardive dyskinesia — an often incurable movement disorder that usually results from years of continuous treatment with antipsychotic drugs, especially typical antipsychotics like flupenthixol. It presents with repetitive, involuntary, purposeless and slow movements.
  • Hypotension
  • Confusional state
  • Seizures
  • Mania
  • Hypomania
  • Depression
  • Hot flush
  • Anergia
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight changes
  • Hyperglycaemia — high blood glucose (sugar) levels
  • Abnormal glucose tolerance
  • Pruritus — itchiness
  • Rash
  • Dermatitis
  • Photosensitivity — sensitivity to light
  • Oculogyration
  • Accommodation disorder
  • Sleep disorder
  • Impaired concentration
  • Tachycardia
  • QTc interval prolongation — an abnormality in the electrical activity of the heart that can lead to potentially fatal changes in heart rhythm
  • Torsades de Pointes
  • Miosis — constriction of the pupil of the eye.
  • Paralytic ileus — paralysis of the bowel muscles leading to severe constipation, inability to pass wind, etc.
  • Mydriasis
  • Glaucoma


It should be not used concomitantly with medications known to prolong the QTc interval (e.g. 5-HT3 antagonists, tricyclic antidepressants, citalopram, etc.) as this may lead to an increased risk of QTc interval prolongation.[10][12] Neither should it be given concurrently with lithium (medication) as it may increase the risk of lithium toxicity and neuroleptic malignant syndrome.[1][2][12] It should not be given concurrently with other antipsychotics due to the potential for this to increase the risk of side effects, especially neurological side effects such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome.[1][2][12] It should be avoided in patients on CNS depressants such as opioids, alcohol and barbiturates.[12]


It should not be given in the following disease states:[10][1][2][12]


Binding Profile[13]

Protein cis-flupentixol trans-flupentixol
5-HT1A 8028 -
5-HT2A 87.5 (HFC) -
5-HT2C 102.2 (RC) -
mAChRs[14] Neg. Neg.
D1 3.5 474 (MB)
D2 0.35 120
D3 1.75 162.5
D4 66.3 >1000
H1 0.86 5.73

Acronyms used:
HFC - Human frontal cortex receptor
MB - Mouse brain receptor
RC - Cloned rat receptor

Its antipsychotic effects are likely caused by D2 and/or 5-HT2A antagonism, whereas its antidepressant effects at lower doses may be mediated by preferential D2/D3 autoreceptor blockade, resulting in increased postsynaptic activation.

See also

Drugs with similar chemical structures to flupentixol :