What is haloperidol?

Haloperidol is an antipsychotic medication. It works by changing the actions of chemicals in your brain.

Haloperidol is used to treat schizophrenia. It is also used to control motor and speech tics in people with Tourette’s syndrome.

Haloperidol may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Precautions

Haloperidol is not for use in psychotic conditions related to dementia. Haloperidol may cause heart failure, sudden death, or pneumonia in older adults with dementia-related conditions.

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to haloperidol, or have certain conditions. Be sure your doctor knows if you have Parkinson’s disease.

Before taking haloperidol, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • heart disease, angina (chest pain);
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • a personal or family history of "Long QT syndrome";
  • an electrolyte imbalance such as low potassium or magnesium levels in your blood.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take haloperidol.

It is not known whether haloperidol is harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Haloperidol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Haloperidol can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase drowsiness or dizziness caused by haloperidol.

Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. You may be more prone to heat stroke while you are taking haloperidol.

Back to top

Instructions

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of haloperidol can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, feeling like you might pass out, tremors, and uncontrolled muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck.

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

Back to top

Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat;
  • restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck;
  • tremor (uncontrolled shaking);
  • fever, stiff muscles, confusion, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats;
  • stabbing chest pain, feeling short of breath, cough with yellow or green mucus;
  • sudden mood changes;
  • confusion, agitation, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior; or
  • jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • headache, dizziness, drowsiness;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • feeling restless or anxious;
  • mild skin rash or itching;
  • breast enlargement, irregular menstrual periods, loss of interest in sex; or
  • dry mouth, blurred vision, urinating less than usual.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Back to top

Interactions

Before using haloperidol, tell your doctor if you regularly use other medicines that make you sleepy (such as cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, or anxiety). They can add to sleepiness caused by haloperidol.

The following drugs can interact with haloperidol. Tell your doctor if you are using any of these:

  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid, others);
  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin); or
  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rifamate, Rimactane).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with haloperidol. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Other Names

Haldol, Haldol Decanoate, and haloperidol

Back to top

Disclaimer

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

Last updated: