haloperidol (Haldol)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Do I need a prescription for Haldol (haloperidol)?

Yes

Why is Haldol (haloperidol) prescribed to patients?

Haldol is used for treating schizophrenia, acute psychosis, and for tics and vocal utterances of Tourette's syndrome.

What are the side effects of Haldol (haloperidol)?

The most common side effects associated with Haldol are:

  • extrapyramidal effects (sudden, often jerky, involuntary motions of the head, neck, arms, body, or eyes, muscle stiffness, akathisia, Parkinsonism),
  • dizziness,
  • hyperactivity,
  • tiredness, and
  • nausea.

Other important side effects are:

Haldol may cause a condition called "orthostatic hypotension" during the early phase of treatment (first week or two). Orthostatic hypotension causes patients to become dizzy upon arising from a lying or sitting position because of a drop in blood pressure.

Haldol also may cause abnormal heart beats, sudden death, seizures, decreases in red and white blood cells, and withdrawal symptoms.

Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis and treated with antipsychotic drugs such as Haldol are at an increased risk of death.

What is the dosage for Haldol (haloperidol)?

  • The recommended oral dose for schizophrenia is 0.5-5 mg two or three times daily up to a maximum dose of 30 mg daily. The lactate solution dose is 2-5 mg every 4-8 hours as needed by intramuscular injection. The lactate solution may also be administered by intravenous injection at 1-2 mg every 2-4 hours and titrated to effect. The maximum single injection dose is 50 mg and the maximum daily dose is 500 mg daily. The dose for the decanoate solution is 10-20 times the daily oral dose once monthly by intramuscular injection. The decanoate solution should not be administered intravenously.
  • The recommended dose for treating Tourette's syndrome is 0.5-5 mg orally two or three times daily.

Quick GuideSchizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

Which drugs or supplements interact with Haldol (haloperidol)?

Haldol causes sedation, and sedation may be greater if Haldol is taken with alcohol and other drugs that can cause sedation such as the benzodiazepine class of anti-anxiety drugs for example:

The narcotic class of pain medications and its derivatives for example:

The tricyclic class of antidepressants for example:

Some antihistamines for example:

Certain antihypertensive medications for example:

Carbamazepine (Tegretol) may increase the elimination of Haldol, rendering the Haldol less effective. Rifampin (Rifadin) may decrease the elimination of Haldol, increasing the risk of side effects from Haldol.

Is Haldol (haloperidol) safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

  • Neonates exposed to antipsychotics during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy may develop withdrawal symptoms and extrapyramidal symptoms.
  • Haldol is secreted into breast milk. It should not be used while breast feeding.

What else should I know about Haldol (haloperidol)?

What preparations of Haldol (haloperidol) are available?
  • Tablets: 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 mg.
  • Oral Concentrate: 1 and 2 mg/ml.
  • Injectable solution (lactate): 5 mg/ml;
  • Injectable solution (decanoate): 50 and 100 mg/ml.
How should I keep Haldol (haloperidol) stored?
  • Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15-30 C (59-86 F).
How does Haldol (haloperidol) work?
  • Haloperidol interferes with the effects of neurotransmitters in the brain which are the chemical messengers that nerves manufacture and release to communicate with one another. Haloperidol blocks receptors for the neurotransmitters (specifically the dopamine and serotonin type 2 receptors) on the nerves. As a result, the nerves are not "activated" by the neurotransmitters released by other nerves.
When was Haldol (haloperidol) approved by the FDA?
  • Haloperidol was approved by the FDA in 1967.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

Quick GuideSchizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

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See more info: haloperidol on RxList
Reviewed on 11/4/2016
References
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

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