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Haldol

Generic Name: haloperidol (HAL oh PER i dol)
Brand Name: Haldol

Medically reviewed on September 7, 2017

What is Haldol?

Haldol is an antipsychotic medicine. It works by changing the actions of chemicals in your brain.

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

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

Important Information

Haldol is not approved for use in psychotic conditions related to dementia. This medicine may increase the risk of death in older adults with dementia-related conditions.

You should not use Haldol if you have Parkinson's disease or certain conditions that affect your central nervous system.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Haldol if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • Parkinson's disease; or

  • certain conditions that affect your central nervous system (such as severe drowsiness, or slowed thinking caused by taking other medicines or drinking alcohol).

Haldol is not approved for use in psychotic conditions related to dementia. This medicine may increase the risk of death in older adults with dementia-related conditions.

To make sure Haldol is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Taking antipsychotic medication during the last 3 months of pregnancy may cause problems in the newborn, such as withdrawal symptoms, breathing problems, feeding problems, fussiness, tremors, and limp or stiff muscles. However, you may have withdrawal symptoms or other problems if you stop taking your medicine during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking Haldol, do not stop taking it without your doctor's advice.

Haloperidol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How should I take Haldol?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take Haldol in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Haldol can be taken with or without food.

Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Taking too much Haldol can cause a serious heart rhythm disorder or sudden death. Never take more than your prescribed dose.

It may take several weeks before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve.

Do not stop using Haldol suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Do not allow liquid medicine to freeze.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of Haldol can be fatal.

What should I avoid while taking haloperidol?

Haldol may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls, fractures, or other injuries.

Avoid drinking alcohol. Dangerous side effects could occur.

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

Haldol side effects

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

High doses or long-term use of haloperidol can cause a serious movement disorder that may not be reversible. Symptoms of this disorder include uncontrollable muscle movements of your lips, tongue, eyes, face, arms, or legs. The longer you take Haldol, the more likely you are to develop a serious movement disorder. The risk of this side effect is higher in women and older adults.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • sudden mood changes, agitation, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior;

  • twitching or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs;

  • stiffness in your neck, tightness in your throat, trouble breathing or swallowing;

  • sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, sore throat, swollen gums, painful mouth sores, pain when swallowing, skin sores, cold or flu symptoms, cough, easy bruising or bleeding;

  • stabbing chest pain, feeling short of breath, cough with yellow or green mucus;

  • headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats;

  • seizure (convulsions); or

  • severe nervous system reaction--very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out.

Common side effects may include:

  • headache, dizziness, spinning sensation, drowsiness;

  • tremors, restless feeling, uncontrolled muscle movements;

  • stiffness in the muscles of your neck or back, speech problems;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • feeling restless or anxious;

  • breast enlargement, irregular menstrual periods, loss of interest in sex; or

  • overactive reflexes.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Haldol?

Taking Haldol with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous or life-threatening side effects. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with haloperidol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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