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June 1958

Chlorpromazine Jaundice: Clinical Course, Hepatic-Function Tests, and Pathologic Findings—Summary of Twenty Cases

Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Gastroenterology (Dr. Gebhart, Former Fellow; Dr. Brown, Member of Staff), Internal Medicine (Dr. Van Ommen), and Pathology (Dr. McCormack) of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and The Frank E. Bunts Educational Institute.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(6):1085-1093. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260180075008

Jaundice due to chlorpromazine (Thorazine) hydrochloride has been reported in more than 120 cases in the medical literature. Since our original report of 3 cases,1 we have seen 17 additional patients with this complication. Several of these patients had prolonged jaundice, and two incurred jaundice during pregnancy.

The clinical and laboratory manifestations of this disease are now well known. It is the purpose of this paper to describe our clinical experience with a comparatively large number of patients having chlorpromazine jaundice and to report in detail findings on liver biopsies that were performed in 15 of our 20 patients.

Incidence and Mechanism  The incidence of jaundice in patients treated with chlorpromazine has been reported to be as low as 0.2%2,3 and as high as 5%,4,5 although generally it is considered to approach more nearly 1 %.6 The liver disease so produced usually is regarded as a benign

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