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Haldol (Haloperidol)

Haldol, also known as haloperidol, is a prescription medication used to control conditions ranging from psychosis to verbal tics. This medication is an antipsychotic drug and is sometimes used to treat extreme behavioral and anger issues in children who have not responded to other therapy and medications.

Dosage

Most doctors prescribe Haldol at a low dose and increase the dosage if needed. Once the medication begins to provide relief from symptoms, the dosage amount will level off and remain the same each day. This medication is available in pill or suspension form and must be prescribed by a doctor.

Important Information Before Use

You should not take Haldol if you take certain medications, including narcotic pain relievers, sleep aids, antihistamines, tranquilizers, and blood thinners. Let your doctor know about all of the medications, herbal remedies, and supplements you take if you are prescribed this drug.

 

Let your doctor know if you currently have or have ever been diagnosed with breast cancer, bipolar, heart conditions including QT syndrome, chest pain, or thyroid disease. These conditions may affect your ability to tolerate Haldol. People who have Parkinson's disease should not take Haldol. If you have ever had an extreme reaction or side effect to another medication prescribed to treat mental illness, relay this information to your doctor. This drug is not recommended for elderly patients experiencing dementia or related conditions.

Important Information During Use

  • If you become pregnant while taking Haldol, you should notify your doctor. You will likely need to taper off of the medication, because it can cause problems for newborns if taken during the third trimester.
  • You should take only the amount of Haldol that has been prescribed by your doctor and take the medication every day, whether you think you need it or not.
  • Extreme drowsiness, loss of consciousness, uncontrollable movements, and muscle weakness or stiffness are all signs of an overdose.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medication; alcohol can increase the severity of side effects.
  • If you are having sedation dental work or any type of surgery, let your surgeon or dentist know that you are taking this drug.

Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you experience severe side effects from Haldol. Serious side effects may include:

  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing; tightness in throat or neck
  • Tongue or mouth problems, including a tongue that protrudes from the mouth, unusual tongue movements, or uncontrollable movements of the mouth, face, or jaw
  • Seizures
  • Eye issues, including discoloration, vision problems, or pain
  • Skin rash or yellowing of the skin
  • Erection that lasts for hours
  • Fever, sweating, or muscle stiffness

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Stomach and digestive system upset, including constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting
  • Difficulty sleeping, restlessness, mood changes, nervousness, or agitation
  • Uncontrollable or unusual movement of body parts and eyes
  • Women may experience missed menstrual periods, breast pain or enlargement, and breast milk production
  • Headaches, drowsiness, blurred vision, or dizziness
  • Increased sexual desire in men and women; decreased sexual ability in men
  • Difficulty urinating

Withdrawing

You should not stop taking Haldol abruptly; you should taper off of this medication slowly for best results. Consult with your doctor before reducing your dose of this medication. Withdrawal symptoms will be less severe if you taper off slowly. Possible symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Muscle tremors or unusual movements
  • Hallucinations, confusion, and others
  • Return of psychotic symptoms

References:

  1. Haloperidol. (2011, May 16). Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682180.html
  2. Haloperidol (marketed as Haldol, Haldol Decanoate, and Haldol Lactate) information. (2013, June 26). Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm216907.htm

Page content reviewed by James Pendleton, ND

 

Last Update: 12-22-2014

 

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