What is Haldol?

Haldol (haloperidol)

Haldol is an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Haldol can improve symptoms of these disorders such as:   hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking. It is also used for tics and vocal utterances of Tourette’s disorder and the management of severe behavioral problems in children.

While not approved by the FDA for other uses, Haldol may be used alone or with other medications to treat other symptoms such as agitation or other behavior problems in older persons with memory loss or people with developmental disabilities.

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

Relapse is very common in schizophrenia and the most frequent cause is that patients stop taking their medication.  Even when medication is taken exactly as prescribed, relapse may still occur for some people.  Therefore it is recommended that you take your medication exactly as prescribed by your health care provider as this has been shown to delay relapse.

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

How should I take Haldol?

What happens if I miss a dose?

What should I avoid while taking Haldol?

What happens if I overdose?

What are the possible side effects of Haldol?

Common adverse effects of Haldol usually include sleepiness, dizziness, rapid heart beat, constipation, excess saliva production and weight gain. Another important adverse effect that occurs commonly is orthostatic hypotension (a lowering of your blood pressure when you are sitting up or standing up). Occasionally this can lead to fainting and falling down, therefore, people taking Haldol should be careful when they change positions. These adverse effects are usually mild and usually go away after the first several days of starting treatment or increasing a dose.

Patients receiving Haldol decanoate long-acting injection may notice some pain at the site of the injection.

Haldol has the potential of causing extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) such as muscle spasms, cramps, or posturing movements common to other antipsychotic medications, and side effects such as restlessness, muscle rigidity, and tremor.

Haldol may cause tardive dyskinesia (TD), a potentially permanent side effect of standard antipsychotic medications. TD is characterized by movements you may be unable to control such as grimacing, sucking/smacking of lips, and spasms of the extremities. Sometimes you may not notice that you are doing these movements. TD usually begins after several months of treatment and may be irreversible. However, if TD is caught early, it may be able to be reversed.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

Are there any risks for taking this medication for long periods of time?

Long term treatment with antipsychotics has caused tardive dyskinesia (TD) in some patients.  Your healthcare provider will regularly monitor for the development of TD. TD is characterized by movements you may be unable to control such as grimacing, sucking/smacking of lips, and spasmodic movements of the extremities. Sometimes you may notice that you are doing these movements. TD usually begins after several months of treatment and may be irreversible.

What other drugs interact with this medication?

How long does it take for Haldol to work?

A person should try Haldol for at least four to six weeks; this is when the maximum effects of the medication are usually seen. However, some symptoms such as hallucinations, anxiety, and paranoia should lessen within a few days to a few weeks.

Brand and Generic Names

Ortho-McNeil manufactures and markets haloperidol under the brand name Haldol. Generic forms of haloperidol are marketed by many different manufacturers.

 

Updated by Raymond A. Lorenz, PharmD
(October 2006)