Droperidol

Pronunciation

Generic Name: droperidol (droe-PER-i-dole)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Infrequent but possibly fatal heart problems have occurred with droperidol when used at or even below recommended doses. Droperidol should only be used in patients who have developed serious side effects from or are intolerant to other therapies. It should not be used in patients with known or suspected heart rhythm problems (QTc prolongation). Droperidol should be used with extreme caution in patients at risk for QTc prolongation (eg, patients with heart failure, a slow heart rate, an enlarged heart, or low potassium or magnesium levels, or patients who are elderly, abuse alcohol, or are taking other medicines known to increase the QTc interval). Notify your doctor immediately if you develop severe dizziness, fainting, or a fast or irregular heartbeat. Electrocardiogram (ECG) testing should be performed before, during, and 2 to 3 hours after treatment with droperidol.


Droperidol is used for:

Reducing nausea and vomiting during surgeries and diagnostic procedures.

Droperidol is a tranquilizer. It is unknown exactly how droperidol works.

Do NOT use droperidol if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in droperidol
  • you have known or suspected heart rhythm problems (QTc prolongation) or severe toxic depression of the central nervous system
  • you are taking astemizole, cisapride, a ketolide antibiotic (eg, azithromycin) a macrolide antibiotic (eg, erythromycin), sodium oxybate (GHB), or terfenadine

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using droperidol:

Some medical conditions may interact with droperidol. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have kidney or liver problems, heart problems, low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood, or an adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma), or you abuse alcohol

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with droperidol. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Antiarrhythmics (eg, amiodarone), arsenic, astemizole, cisapride, cyclobenzaprine, dofetilide, halofantrine, ketolide antibiotics (eg, azithromycin), macrolide antibiotics (eg, erythromycin), ondansetron, phenothiazines (eg, thioridazine), quinidine, quinolones (eg, ciprofloxacin), streptogramins (eg, mikamycin), terfenadine, tetracyclic antidepressants (eg, trazodone), tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline), or ziprasidone because the risk of heart rhythm problems may be increased
  • Sodium oxybate (GHB) because its actions and side effects may be increased by droperidol
  • Ethanol or metoclopramide because the actions and side effects of droperidol may be increased by these medicines

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if droperidol may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use droperidol:

Use droperidol as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Droperidol is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using droperidol at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • If droperidol contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of droperidol, contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use droperidol.

Important safety information:

  • Droperidol may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or lightheadedness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to droperidol. Using droperidol alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or taking other medicines that cause drowsiness (eg, sedatives, tranquilizers) while taking droperidol. Droperidol will add to the effects of alcohol and other depressants. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines are depressants.
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a potentially deadly syndrome associated with droperidol. Symptoms may include increased body heat; rigid muscles; altered mental abilities, including lack of response to your surroundings; fast or irregular heartbeat; and sweating. Contact your doctor at once if any of these symptoms occur.
  • Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using droperidol.
  • LAB TESTS, including ECG tests, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Droperidol is not recommended for use in CHILDREN younger than 2 years of age. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using droperidol during pregnancy. It is unknown if droperidol is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using droperidol, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of droperidol:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Anxiety; drowsiness; hyperactivity; restlessness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); difficulty speaking and swallowing; dizziness; fainting; fast heartbeat; hallucinations; headache; lightheadedness; loss of balance; pounding in the chest; twitching of the face or tongue; uncontrolled movements of arms and legs.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include difficulty speaking and swallowing; fainting; fast heartbeat; hallucinations; serious irregular heartbeat; twitching of the face or tongue; uncontrolled movements of arms and legs; unusual dizziness, drowsiness, or restlessness.

Proper storage of droperidol:

Store droperidol at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep droperidol out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about droperidol, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Droperidol is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take droperidol or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about droperidol. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to droperidol. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using droperidol.

Issue Date: April 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.2.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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