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haloperidol

Pronunciation

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

What is haloperidol?

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

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

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

What is the most important information I should know about haloperidol?

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

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

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking haloperidol?

You should not use haloperidol 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).

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

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

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease;

  • heart disease, angina (chest pain);

  • a thyroid disorder;

  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;

  • personal or family history of long QT syndrome;

  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood); or

  • if you take a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven).

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 haloperidol, 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 haloperidol?

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 this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Haloperidol 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 haloperidol 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 haloperidol suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using haloperidol.

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 haloperidol can be fatal.

What should I avoid while taking haloperidol?

Haloperidol 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. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

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 haloperidol.

Haloperidol 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 haloperidol, 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)

Haloperidol dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Psychosis:

Oral Haloperidol Formulations:
Moderate symptomology: 0.5 to 2 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
Severe symptomology: 3 to 5 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
-Initial doses of up to 100 mg/day have been necessary in some severely resistant cases.
Maintenance dose: After achieving a satisfactory response, the dose should be adjusted as practical to achieve optimum control

Haloperidol Lactate for Injection:
Prompt control acute agitation: 2 to 5 mg IM every 4 to 8 hours
-The frequency of IM administration should be determined by patient response and may be given as often as every hour.
Maximum dose: 20 mg/day

Comments:
-Oral formulations should be used as soon as practical.
-The total parenteral dose in the preceding 24 hours may be used to approximate an initial oral total daily dose. Initial oral doses should be given within 12 to 24 hours after the last parenteral dose.
-The safety of prolonged oral doses of 100 mg/day or greater has not been studied.

Haloperidol Decanoate for Injection:
Initial dose of-Maximum initial dose: 100 mg; if greater than 100 mg is needed, the dose should be administered in 2 separate injections (100 mg followed by the balance in 3 to 7 days)
Maintenance dose: 10 to 15 times the previous daily oral dose IM once a month, titrated to response
r patients stabilized on low daily oral doses (up to 10 mg/day): 10 to 15 times the daily oral dose IM once a month
Initial dose for patients stabilized on higher daily oral doses, tolerant to oral treatment, or at risk of relapse: 20 times the daily oral dose IM once a month
-Maximum initial dose: 100 mg; if greater than 100 mg is needed, the dose should be administered in 2 separate injections (100 mg followed by the balance in 3 to 7 days)
Maintenance dose: 10 to 15 times the previous daily oral dose IM once a month, titrated to response
-Maximum monthly dose: 450 mg

Comments:
-Patients should be stabilized on antipsychotic medication before starting prolonged parenteral therapy.
-Monitor closely during initiation and stabilization to minimize the risk of overdosage or reappearance of psychotic symptoms; short acting formulations may be used during this period of adjustment.
-Extended-release injections are generally administered once a month or every 4 weeks, however, the dosing interval as well as dose may be adjusted to best suit the patient.
-Clinical experience with doses greater than 450 mg per months is limited.

Uses:
-Treatment of patients with schizophrenia who require prolonged parenteral antipsychotic therapy
-Management of manifestations of psychotic disorders

Usual Adult Dose for Schizophrenia:

Oral Haloperidol Formulations:
Moderate symptomology: 0.5 to 2 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
Severe symptomology: 3 to 5 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
-Initial doses of up to 100 mg/day have been necessary in some severely resistant cases.
Maintenance dose: After achieving a satisfactory response, the dose should be adjusted as practical to achieve optimum control

Haloperidol Lactate for Injection:
Prompt control acute agitation: 2 to 5 mg IM every 4 to 8 hours
-The frequency of IM administration should be determined by patient response and may be given as often as every hour.
Maximum dose: 20 mg/day

Comments:
-Oral formulations should be used as soon as practical.
-The total parenteral dose in the preceding 24 hours may be used to approximate an initial oral total daily dose. Initial oral doses should be given within 12 to 24 hours after the last parenteral dose.
-The safety of prolonged oral doses of 100 mg/day or greater has not been studied.

Haloperidol Decanoate for Injection:
Initial dose of-Maximum initial dose: 100 mg; if greater than 100 mg is needed, the dose should be administered in 2 separate injections (100 mg followed by the balance in 3 to 7 days)
Maintenance dose: 10 to 15 times the previous daily oral dose IM once a month, titrated to response
r patients stabilized on low daily oral doses (up to 10 mg/day): 10 to 15 times the daily oral dose IM once a month
Initial dose for patients stabilized on higher daily oral doses, tolerant to oral treatment, or at risk of relapse: 20 times the daily oral dose IM once a month
-Maximum initial dose: 100 mg; if greater than 100 mg is needed, the dose should be administered in 2 separate injections (100 mg followed by the balance in 3 to 7 days)
Maintenance dose: 10 to 15 times the previous daily oral dose IM once a month, titrated to response
-Maximum monthly dose: 450 mg

Comments:
-Patients should be stabilized on antipsychotic medication before starting prolonged parenteral therapy.
-Monitor closely during initiation and stabilization to minimize the risk of overdosage or reappearance of psychotic symptoms; short acting formulations may be used during this period of adjustment.
-Extended-release injections are generally administered once a month or every 4 weeks, however, the dosing interval as well as dose may be adjusted to best suit the patient.
-Clinical experience with doses greater than 450 mg per months is limited.

Uses:
-Treatment of patients with schizophrenia who require prolonged parenteral antipsychotic therapy
-Management of manifestations of psychotic disorders

Usual Adult Dose for Agitated State:

Oral Haloperidol Formulations:
Moderate symptomology: 0.5 to 2 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
Severe symptomology: 3 to 5 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
-Initial doses of up to 100 mg/day have been necessary in some severely resistant cases.
Maintenance dose: After achieving a satisfactory response, the dose should be adjusted as practical to achieve optimum control

Haloperidol Lactate for Injection:
Prompt control acute agitation: 2 to 5 mg IM every 4 to 8 hours
-The frequency of IM administration should be determined by patient response and may be given as often as every hour.
Maximum dose: 20 mg/day

Comments:
-Oral formulations should be used as soon as practical.
-The total parenteral dose in the preceding 24 hours may be used to approximate an initial oral total daily dose. Initial oral doses should be given within 12 to 24 hours after the last parenteral dose.
-The safety of prolonged oral doses of 100 mg/day or greater has not been studied.

Uses:
-Management of manifestations of psychotic disorders
-Prompt control of acute agitation in patients with schizophrenia with moderately severe to severe symptoms

Usual Adult Dose for Agitation:

Oral Haloperidol Formulations:
Moderate symptomology: 0.5 to 2 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
Severe symptomology: 3 to 5 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
-Initial doses of up to 100 mg/day have been necessary in some severely resistant cases.
Maintenance dose: After achieving a satisfactory response, the dose should be adjusted as practical to achieve optimum control

Haloperidol Lactate for Injection:
Prompt control acute agitation: 2 to 5 mg IM every 4 to 8 hours
-The frequency of IM administration should be determined by patient response and may be given as often as every hour.
Maximum dose: 20 mg/day

Comments:
-Oral formulations should be used as soon as practical.
-The total parenteral dose in the preceding 24 hours may be used to approximate an initial oral total daily dose. Initial oral doses should be given within 12 to 24 hours after the last parenteral dose.
-The safety of prolonged oral doses of 100 mg/day or greater has not been studied.

Uses:
-Management of manifestations of psychotic disorders
-Prompt control of acute agitation in patients with schizophrenia with moderately severe to severe symptoms

Usual Adult Dose for Tourette's Syndrome:

Oral Haloperidol Formulations:
Initial dose:
-Moderate symptomology: 0.5 to 2 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
-Severe symptomology: 3 to 5 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
Maintenance dose: After achieving a satisfactory response, the dose should be adjusted as practical to achieve optimum control

Haloperidol Lactate for Injection:
Prompt control acute agitation: 2 to 5 mg IM every 4 to 8 hours
-The frequency of IM administration should be determined by patient response and may be given as often as every hour.
Maximum dose: 20 mg/day

Comments:
-Oral formulations should be used as soon as practical.
-The total parenteral dose in the preceding 24 hours may be used to approximate an initial oral total daily dose. Initial oral doses should be given within 12 to 24 hours after the last parenteral dose.
-The safety of prolonged oral doses of 100 mg/day or greater has not been studied.
-Patients with chronic/resistant cases should be given the severe symptom dose.

Use:
-Control of tics and vocal utterances of Tourette's disorder

Usual Geriatric Dose for Schizophrenia:

Oral Haloperidol Formulations:
Moderate symptomology: 0.5 to 2 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
Severe symptomology: 3 to 5 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
-Initial doses of up to 100 mg/day have been necessary in some severely resistant cases.
Maintenance dose: After achieving a satisfactory response, the dose should be adjusted as practical to achieve optimum control

Haloperidol Lactate for Injection:
-Recommended dose: 2 to 5 mg IM every 4 to 8 hours
-The frequency of IM administration should be determined by patient response and may be given as often as every hour.
-Maximum dose: 20 mg/day

Comments:
-Oral formulations should be used as soon as practical.
-The total parenteral dose in the preceding 24 hours may be used to approximate an initial oral total daily dose. Initial oral doses should be given within 12 to 24 hours after the last parenteral dose.
-The safety of prolonged oral doses of 100 mg/day or greater has not been studied.

Haloperidol Decanoate for Injection:
-Initial dose: 10 to 15 times the daily oral dose IM once
-Maintenance dose: 10 to 15 times the previous daily oral dose IM once a month
-Maximum initial dose: 100 mg; if greater than 100 mg is needed, the dose should be administered in 2 separate injections (100 mg followed by the balance in 3 to 7 days)
-Maximum monthly dose: 450 mg

Comments:
-Patients should be stabilized on antipsychotic medication before starting prolonged parenteral therapy.
-Monitor closely during initiation and stabilization to minimize the risk of overdosage or reappearance of psychotic symptoms; short acting formulations may be used during this period of adjustment.
-Extended-release injections are generally administered once a month or every 4 weeks, however, the dosing interval as well as dose may be adjusted to best suit the patient.
-Clinical experience with doses greater than 450 mg per months is limited.

Uses:
-Treatment of patients with schizophrenia who require prolonged parenteral antipsychotic therapy
-Treatment of schizophrenia

Usual Pediatric Dose for Psychosis:

3 to 12 years and 15 to 40 kg:
Initial dose: 0.5 mg/day orally in 2 to 3 divided doses
-Adjust in increments of 0.5 mg every 5 to 7 days until desired effect is achieved
Maintenance dose: 0.05 to 0.15 mg/kg/day in 2 to 3 divided doses

13 years and older and greater than 40 kg:
Initial dose:
-Moderate symptomology: 0.5 to 2 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
-Severe symptomology: 3 to 5 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
Maintenance dose: After achieving a satisfactory response, the dose should be adjusted as practical to achieve optimum control

Comment:
-Severely disturbed patients may require higher doses.

Use:
-Management of manifestations of psychotic disorders

Usual Pediatric Dose for Tourette's Syndrome:

3 to 12 years and 15 to 40 kg:
-Initial dose: 0.5 mg/day orally in 2 to 3 divided doses
-Maintenance dose: 0.05 to 0.075 mg/kg/day

13 years and older and greater than 40 kg
Initial dose:
-Moderate symptomology: 0.5 to 2 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
-Severe symptomology: 3 to 5 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day
Maintenance dose: After achieving a satisfactory response, the dose should be adjusted as practical to achieve optimum control

Comment:
-The daily dose may be increased every 5 to 7 days in 0.5 mg increments in patients 3 to 12 years of age and 15 to 40 kg.

Use:
-Control of tics and vocal utterances of Tourette's disorder

Usual Pediatric Dose for Agitated State:

3 to 12 years and 15 to 40 kg:
-Initial dose: 0.5 mg/day orally in 2 to 3 divided doses
-Maintenance dose: 0.05 to 0.075 mg/kg/day

Comments:
-The daily dose may be increased every 5 to 7 days in 0.5 mg increments.
-There is little evidence that behavior improvement is further enhanced by doses greater than 6 mg/day.
-Limitation of use: Treatment should be reserved for patients with severe behavior problems and/or hyperactive children only after failure to respond to psychotherapy or medications (other than antipsychotics).

Uses:
-Treatment of severe behavior problems in children, including combative, explosive hyperexcitability not accounted for by immediate provocation
-Short-term treatment of hyperactive children with excessive motor activity and accompanying conduct disorder with impulsivity, difficulty sustaining attention, aggressiveness, mood lability, and/or poor frustration tolerance.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Aggressive Behavior:

3 to 12 years and 15 to 40 kg:
-Initial dose: 0.5 mg/day orally in 2 to 3 divided doses
-Maintenance dose: 0.05 to 0.075 mg/kg/day

Comments:
-The daily dose may be increased every 5 to 7 days in 0.5 mg increments.
-There is little evidence that behavior improvement is further enhanced by doses greater than 6 mg/day.
-Limitation of use: Treatment should be reserved for patients with severe behavior problems and/or hyperactive children only after failure to respond to psychotherapy or medications (other than antipsychotics).

Uses:
-Treatment of severe behavior problems in children, including combative, explosive hyperexcitability not accounted for by immediate provocation
-Short-term treatment of hyperactive children with excessive motor activity and accompanying conduct disorder with impulsivity, difficulty sustaining attention, aggressiveness, mood lability, and/or poor frustration tolerance.

What other drugs will affect haloperidol?

Taking haloperidol 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:

  • cancer medicine--arsenic trioxide, nilotinib, toremifene, vandetanib, vemurafenib;

  • an antidepressant--citalopram;

  • anti-malaria medication--lumefantrine;

  • heart rhythm medicine--amiodarone, disopyramide, dofetilide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol; or

  • medicine to treat a psychiatric disorder--iloperidone, pimozide, thioridazine, ziprasidone, others.

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.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about haloperidol.
  • 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.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 13.04.

Date modified: February 03, 2017
Last reviewed: September 19, 2016

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