Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 6, 2022.
Cases of QT prolongation and/or torsade de pointes, some fatal, have been reported in patients receiving droperidol at doses at or below recommended doses. All patients should undergo a 12-lead ECG prior to administration of droperidol to determine if a prolonged QT interval (i.e., QTc greater than 440 msec for males or 450 msec for females) is present. Do not administer droperidol if there is a prolonged QT interval. Droperidol is contraindicated in patients with known or suspected QT prolongation, including patients with congenital long QT syndrome. Administer droperidol with extreme caution to patients who may be at risk for development of prolonged QT syndrome, are over 65 years old, abuse alcohol, or when used concomitantly with benzodiazepines, volatile anesthetics, and IV opiates. ECG monitoring should be performed prior to treatment and continued for 2 to 3 hours after completing treatment to monitor for arrhythmias .
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antiemetic
Pharmacologic Class: Dopamine Antagonist
Chemical Class: Butyrophenone
Uses for droperidol
Droperidol injection is used to prevent the nausea and vomiting that may occur after surgery or diagnostic procedures.
Droperidol is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Before using droperidol
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For droperidol, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to droperidol or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of droperidol injection in children younger than 2 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of droperidol injection in geriatric patients. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related heart or kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving droperidol injection.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving droperidol, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using droperidol with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using droperidol with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Aripiprazole Lauroxil
- Arsenic Trioxide
- Calcium Oxybate
- Castor Oil
- Chloral Hydrate
- Ethacrynic Acid
- Gabapentin Enacarbil
- Inotuzumab Ozogamicin
- Magnesium Oxybate
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Potassium Oxybate
- Ropeginterferon Alfa-2b-njft
- Sodium Oxybate
- Sodium Phosphate
- Sodium Phosphate, Dibasic
- Sodium Phosphate, Monobasic
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of droperidol. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Bradycardia (slow heartbeat) or
- Cardiac hypertrophy (heart is larger than normal) or
- Congestive heart failure or
- Heart disease or
- Hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood) or
- Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium in the blood) or
- Pheochromocytoma (adrenal gland tumor)—May cause side effects to become worse.
- Cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart beats) or
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Congenital long QT syndrome (heart rhythm problem) or
- QT prolongation (heart rhythm problem)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Proper use of droperidol
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you droperidol in a hospital. Droperidol is given as a shot into a muscle or a vein.
Precautions while using droperidol
Your doctor will check your progress after you receive droperidol. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any change in your heart rhythm. The symptoms may include feeling dizzy or faint, or having a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat. Make sure your doctor knows if you or anyone in your family has ever had a heart rhythm problem such as QT prolongation.
Check with your doctor right away if you have difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, a high fever, a change in blood pressure, increased sweating, loss of bladder control, severe muscle stiffness, unusually pale skin, or tiredness. These could be symptoms of a serious condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).
Droperidol will add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants (medicines that make you drowsy or less alert). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, allergies, or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; barbiturates or other seizure medicines; and muscle relaxants. Check with your doctor before taking any of these medicines after you receive droperidol.
Droperidol side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blurred vision
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- difficulty with breathing
- difficulty with swallowing
- fast heartbeat
- noisy breathing
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- skin rash, hives, or itching
- tightness in the chest
Incidence not known
- Chest pain or discomfort
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- irregular or slow heart rate
- low blood pressure or pulse
- severe confusion or loss of consciousness
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- trouble sitting still
Incidence not known
- Difficulty with speaking
- loss of balance control
- muscle trembling, jerking, or stiffness
- seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
- shuffling walk
- stiffness of the limbs
- twisting movements of the body
- uncontrolled movements, especially of the face, neck, and back
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about droperidol
- Side effects
- Drug interactions
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Reviews (12)
- Pricing & coupons
- En español
- Drug class: miscellaneous central nervous system agents
- Other brands
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.