Haloperidol is used to treat psychotic disorders (conditions that cause difficulty telling the difference between things or ideas that are real and things or ideas that are not real). This medication is also used to control motor tics and verbal tics in adults and children who have Tourette’s disorder.
Haloperidol is also used to treat severe behavioral problems such as explosive, aggressive behavior or hyperactivity in children who cannot be treated with psychotherapy or with other medications. Haloperidol is in a group of medications called conventional antipsychotics. It works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.
Uses and Dosage
Haloperidol is available in tablet and concentrated liquid forms to be taken orally. The medication is usually taken two to three times per day, ideally at consistent times each day. Follow the prescription label instructions carefully, and if there is any confusion, consult with your physician or pharmacist.
Haloperidol should be taken precisely as directed, without taking more or less of it or using it more frequently than prescribed by the doctor.
Typically, the physician will begin treatment with a low dose of haloperidol and gradually increase the dosage. Once your condition is under control, your doctor may lower your dosage. During your treatment with haloperidol, inform your doctor of how you are feeling.
Haloperidol can assist in managing your condition, but it cannot cure it. Ccontinue taking the medication even if you start to feel better. Do not stop taking haloperidol without consulting with your doctor, as they will likely decrease your dosage gradually. If you suddenly stop using haloperidol, it may result in difficulty controlling your movements.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- dry mouth
- increased saliva
- blurred vision
- loss of appetite
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- blank facial expression
- uncontrollable eye movements
- unusual, slowed, or uncontrollable movements of any part of the body
- mood changes
- dizziness, feeling unsteady, or having trouble keeping your balance
- breast enlargement or pain
- breast milk production
- missed menstrual periods
- decreased sexual ability in men
- increased sexual desire
- difficulty urinating
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- muscle stiffness
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- decreased thirst
- neck cramps
- tongue that sticks out of the mouth
- tightness in the throat
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- fine, worm-like tongue movements
- uncontrollable, rhythmic face, mouth, or jaw movements
- eye pain or discoloration
- decreased vision, especially at night
- seeing everything with a brown tint
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- erection that lasts for hours
Before starting haloperidol, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any allergies or if this medication has previously caused an allergic reaction. The product may contain inactive ingredients that could cause an allergic reaction or other complications.
Prior to taking this medication, provide your medical history to your physician or pharmacist, particularly if you have severe CNS depression, bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, difficulty urinating, glaucoma, heart problems, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), seizures, or a low white blood cell count.
Haloperidol may lead to QT prolongation, a condition that affects the heart rhythm. This condition can rarely result in serious (rarely fatal) rapid/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms, such as severe dizziness or fainting, that necessitate immediate medical attention.
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood can also increase the risk of QT prolongation. This risk may be higher if you take specific medications or have conditions such as excessive sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting.
This medication may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Alcohol or marijuana can intensify these effects. Do not operate machinery, drive, or perform tasks that require alertness until you can safely do so.
This medication can reduce sweating, making you more susceptible to heatstroke. Avoid performing hard work or exercising in hot weather.
Children may be more sensitive to the adverse effects of this medication, particularly uncontrolled movements.
Older adults may be more vulnerable to the side effects of this medication, particularly drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, difficulty urinating, and heart effects such as QT prolongation. Drowsiness, dizziness, and lightheadedness can raise the risk of falls.
During pregnancy, use this medication only if absolutely necessary. Babies born to mothers who have taken this medication in the last three months of pregnancy may rarely develop symptoms, such as muscle stiffness or shakiness, drowsiness, feeding/breathing difficulties, or constant crying. If you notice any of these symptoms in your newborn, particularly during their first month, contact the doctor immediately.
As untreated mental/mood problems can be severe, avoid discontinuing this medication unless instructed to do so by your physician. If you are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant, or believe you may be pregnant, discuss with your doctor the advantages and disadvantages of using this medication during pregnancy.
This medication is passed through breast milk and may have undesirable effects on nursing infants. Speak with your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Haldol is available in the following forms and strengths:
Does Haldol make you calm?
As well as being an antipsychotic, Haldol also calms people down or helps them to sleep.
How quickly does Haldol take effect?
Haloperidol typically works within 30 to 60 minutes. A long-acting formulation may be used as an injection every four weeks by people with schizophrenia or related illnesses, who either forget or refuse to take the medication by mouth.