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Haloperidol: Side Effects, Dosage, Uses, and More
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Highlights for haloperidol
The oral tablet form of haloperidol is only made accessible as a generic medicine. There is not a branded version of this product.
It is possible to take haloperidol in the form of an oral pill, an oral solution, or an injectable medication.
The oral tablet form of haloperidol is utilised in the treatment of a variety of disruptive disorders, as well as behaviour and mobility difficulties.
Warnings of vital importance
Warning from the FDA: For those suffering from dementia
This medication comes with a “black box” warning. The Food and Drug Administration has deemed this their most urgent health advisory to date (FDA). A “black box warning” provides notice to both medical professionals and patients about the potential adverse effects of medication.
Taking haloperidol may put you at an increased risk of passing away if you are above the age of 65 and suffer from dementia which is also producing psychosis.
Other cautionary notes
The neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a potentially life-threatening adverse response that may be brought on by the administration of haloperidol. The interaction between haloperidol and dopamine is to blame for this effect. Fever, muscles that are rigid or stiff, a change in mood, an abnormal pulse or blood pressure, a fast or irregular heartbeat, and unexplained perspiration are some of the symptoms that may be present. If you suffer any of these side effects while using haloperidol, you should immediately seek medical attention and stop taking the medication. Muscles and kidneys are both susceptible to harm from this disease.
Movement symptoms: Haloperidol may produce extrapyramidal symptoms. Involuntary movements, such as hand tremors and shaking, stiff and slow movements, agitation or restlessness, and muscle spasms are examples of these types of symptoms. These side effects frequently manifest themselves within the first few days of beginning treatment with haloperidol. If you are a young male or if you take excessive amounts of haloperidol, you put yourself in increased danger. If you are experiencing these symptoms, your doctor may adjust your dosage or prescribe additional medications to alleviate the extrapyramidal side effects. Some examples of these medications include benztropine and trihexyphenidyl.
Q-T syndrome: Haloperidol administration may produce Q-T syndrome. Torsades de pointes is a type of irregular heartbeat that can result from this illness and has the potential to be lethal. If you take more than the suggested dose, you put yourself at a greater chance of this happening. Additionally, if you have low potassium or magnesium levels, prior heart issues, low thyroid function, or a family history of long QT syndrome, you have a greater chance of developing the illness.
Dementia warning: According to the findings of a research organisation known as Research Trusted Source, this category of medication has the potential to produce effects that are analogous to those produced by pharmaceuticals known as anticholinergics. Your risk of developing dementia may increase as a result of this.
What does the drug haloperidol do?
A doctor’s prescription is required to purchase haloperidol. Tablets for oral use and a highly concentrated liquid form are both available. It is also available in an injectable version, which can only be administered by a qualified medical professional.
The oral tablet form of haloperidol is only offered as a generic alternative. Generic medications almost always have lower prices than their brand-name counterparts.
Why it’s put to use
In order to address a wide variety of disruptive disorders, behavioural issues, and mobility problems, haloperidol is frequently used. It has been given the go-ahead to treat:
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symptoms that can be caused by psychotic diseases
the management of facial muscle spasms (tics) and vocal abnormalities associated with Tourette syndrome
youngsters with aggressive and explosive hyperexcitability are more likely to have serious behavioural issues.
children who are hyperactive and have excessive activity as well as related behavioural disorders
Only in the event that psychotherapy and other medications have been tried without success should one consider giving this medication to a youngster.
The workings of it
The medication haloperidol is classified as an antipsychotic, along with other medications like it. A group of different pharmaceuticals that share a common mode of action is referred to as a class of drugs. These medications are frequently prescribed to address illnesses that are analogous to one another.
Dopamine, a neurotransmitter found in the brain, is targeted by antipsychotic medication. Dopamine suppression could be an effective treatment for psychosis.
Additionally, haloperidol may have a somewhat inhibiting effect on the activity of other brain chemicals. This may be helpful in managing features of certain mental disorders, such as combativeness, explosiveness or over-excitability, excessive movement, impulse control issues, difficulty paying attention, and mood swings.
Haloperidol side effects
Drowsiness is a potential side effect of the oral tablet form of haloperidol. Additionally, it may induce additional undesirable effects.
The following are some of the more prevalent adverse reactions that may be caused by haloperidol:
impacts on the central nervous system, including the following:
a state of agitation or anxiety
effects on the gastrointestinal tract, including:
bowel issues like constipation or diarrhoea
nausea or vomiting
effects related to hormones, such as:
a diminished capacity for sexual activity
Variations in the menstrual cycle occur every month
elevated levels of the hormone prolactin
anticholinergic effects, such as those seen in:
mouth that’s dry
the vision that is not clear
a diminished reaction to either heat or cold
Serious adverse effects may result.
If you are experiencing major adverse effects, you should contact your physician as soon as possible. In the event that your symptoms appear to be life-threatening or if you believe you may be experiencing a medical emergency, dial 911 immediately. The following is a list of potentially serious side effects and the symptoms they cause:
discomfort and swelling in the breasts, as well as an abnormal amount of milk production (women only)
Having difficulty passing urine or suddenly losing control of your bladder
symptoms such as lightheadedness or dizziness
a high temperature, chills, or a painful throat
skin that is hot and dry, heat stroke, or an inability to sweat
symptoms related to movement (extrapyramidal) such as:
symptoms including trembling, stiffness, and spasms
agitation or an anxious state of mind
aberrant muscle tone
any movement that involves rotating your head, neck, or tongue
Among the movement disorders known as tardive dyskinesia are the following symptoms:
movements of the tongue or chewing that cannot be controlled, as well as smacking lips and puffing cheeks
constant involuntary twitches in your legs
dystonia is characterised by aberrant movement and protracted contractions due to altered muscle tone. Symptoms of dystonia include the following:
muscle spasms that cannot be controlled occurring in your face, hands, arms, or legs
movements of the body involving twisting
a difficult time breathing
difficulties in both speech and swallowing are experienced.
unsteadiness on one’s feet or trouble walking
impacts on the cardiovascular system, including:
a lowering in the blood pressure
beats of the heart that are erratic
jaundice, with symptoms including the following:
colouring changes on your body, such as yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes
bronchopneumonia is an infection of the bronchial tubes.
Haloperidol may interact with other medications
There is a possibility that the haloperidol oral tablet will interact negatively with other medicines, vitamins, or herbs that you might be taking. A substance is said to have an interaction with another when it causes a change in the way a drug operates. This may result in adverse effects or reduce the efficacy of the medication.
Your physician ought to properly manage all of your prescriptions for you in order to help you avoid interactions. It is imperative that you discuss any drugs, supplements, or herbs that you are currently taking with your primary care physician. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions about how this medication might interact with other medications that you are currently taking.
The following is a list of examples of medicines that have the potential to interact negatively with haloperidol.
Bipolar disorder drug
When lithium is used with haloperidol, the potential for encephalopathic syndrome increases. This illness has the potential to cause damage to the brain. Weakness, fever, tremors, confusion, muscle spasms, and unexpected blood test results are some of the symptoms that could be present. Tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you encounter any of these symptoms.
Medication for irregular heart rate
It is not safe to combine haloperidol with these other medications. The interaction could magnify the impact that either of the medicines already has on your cardiovascular system. Torsades de pointes are a type of irregular heartbeat that can be fatal if they are caused by this condition. Some examples of these medications are as follows:
dofetilide quinidine dronedarone Anticoagulant, blood thinner
It’s possible that combining warfarin and haloperidol will make the blood thinner and less effective.
Parkinson’s disease medications
It is possible that taking haloperidol in conjunction with these Parkinson’s treatments will reduce the effectiveness of the Parkinson’s medications. Additionally, the fluid pressure in your eyes may become more intense as a result of this. If you are taking both of these medications at the same time and one of them needs to be discontinued, the haloperidol should be discontinued first in order to prevent adverse effects on the muscles. Some examples of these medications are as follows:
Taking haloperidol raises the likelihood that you will have a seizure. If you are already using medication to treat your seizures, the physician who prescribes you haloperidol should exercise extreme caution. Some examples of these medications are as follows:
carbamazepine phenytoin valproic acid
It is possible that the concentration of haloperidol in your body will decrease if you take rifampin at the same time. When you start taking rifampin, your haloperidol dosage may need to be adjusted or you may need to stop taking it altogether.
Medication for low blood pressure
It is possible that taking haloperidol along with epinephrine will inhibit the action of the epinephrine and lead to a condition known as epinephrine reversal. In some cases, reversing the effects of epinephrine can cause symptoms such as a severe drop in blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, and even a heart attack.
Please understand that our intention is to present you with the most recent and pertinent information possible. We are unable to ensure that this information covers all of the potential drug interactions because the way pharmaceuticals react in different people impedes our ability to do so. This information is not intended to replace professional medical advice in any way. Always discuss the possibility of drug interactions with your healthcare practitioner before taking any medication, whether it be over-the-counter medication, prescription medication, vitamins, herbs, or supplements.
Warnings regarding haloperidol
This medication comes with a number of precautions.
Caution: allergens present
A serious allergic reaction is possible after taking haloperidol. Among the possible symptoms are:
symptoms include difficulty breathing swelling in your throat or tongue and itching
In the event that you get these symptoms, you should immediately dial 911 or go to the emergency room in your area.
If you have ever experienced an adverse reaction to this medication, you should never take it again. Taking it once again can prove to be lethal.
Caution regarding alcohol and drug interactions
While you are taking haloperidol, you should stay away from alcohol. If you take haloperidol and drink alcohol at the same time, the negative effects of both the medicine and the alcohol could become more severe. Combining alcohol consumption with haloperidol administration may also result in a drop in blood pressure for the patient.
Warnings for individuals who have the following health conditions:
People living with dementia should be aware that using haloperidol may put them at an increased risk of passing away if they are 65 or older, have dementia-related psychosis, and are taking the medication. If you have this disease, haloperidol is not something you should take.
People who suffer from cerebrovascular illness are afflicted with significant conditions that affect the blood arteries that supply the heart and the brain. It’s possible that haloperidol will temporarily lower your blood pressure or give you chest pain. Contact your primary care physician if you notice any indications of a decline in your blood pressure level. Among the symptoms are:
symptoms including fainting, dizziness, and blurred vision, particularly while standing up
If you have a history of seizures or are currently on anti-seizure medication, your doctor may reduce your dose of haloperidol or stop your treatment with this drug altogether. This advice is for people who experience seizures. Taking haloperidol could make it more likely that you will have a seizure.
Haloperidol treats Parkinson’s disease by affecting a substance in the brain known as dopamine, which is present in patients. It is possible that doing so will make your Parkinson’s disease considerably more severe.
When administered to patients who already have low white blood cell counts, haloperidol may further reduce the number of white blood cells in their bodies. Your white blood cell count will need to be checked somewhat frequently by your physician. It is possible that you will need to discontinue taking haloperidol if your blood cell counts drop to an unsafe level.
When haloperidol is used to treat mania in patients who have mania cycle disorder, there is a possibility that you will experience a rapid change in mood toward depression.
For those who suffer from thyrotoxicosis: This is a disorder that occurs when your body produces an excessive amount of the hormone thyroid. When there is an excess of thyroid hormone in the body, it can be harmful to the nervous system. Taking haloperidol could make you more susceptible to developing this illness. Rigidity, as well as the inability to walk or talk, are possible symptoms of this condition.
People who have low potassium or magnesium levels: If you take haloperidol and have low potassium or magnesium levels, your risk of experiencing adverse cardiovascular effects may be increased. These conditions include the potentially catastrophic Q–T syndrome as well as torsades de pointes, which refers to an erratic heartbeat.
Cautionary notes for members of other groups
Regarding women who are pregnant: There are no trials that have been conducted with haloperidol in a controlled environment. There have been allegations of birth abnormalities, although it cannot be established with absolute certainty that haloperidol was the cause.
If the potential benefits of taking haloperidol during pregnancy outweigh the potential risks to the foetus, then you should consider taking the medication.
If you become pregnant while using this medication, you should contact your doctor immediately.
It is recommended that women who are nursing refrain from doing so while they are on haloperidol. Haloperidol is excreted in breast milk and could potentially affect a nursing infant.
Regarding the elderly, it’s possible that haloperidol has much more potent effects on persons who are at least 65 years old.
People over the age of 60 are more likely to experience a side effect known as tardive dyskinesia. Mouth and limb mobility problems are possible side effects of having this illness. There is an increased danger for women who have been taking this drug for an extended period of time.
Regarding children, the drug haloperidol is not permitted for use in those younger than three years old.
How to properly administer haloperidol
It’s probable that not all dosing options and formats have been covered here. Your dose, the form it takes, and how often you take it will vary depending on the following factors:
your age, the ailment being treated, the severity of your condition, and any other medical issues you have or other medical disorders you have your response to the initial dose to consider.
Drug types and strengths
Tablets to be taken orally.
Strengths: 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg
Disorders of behaviour and psychosis require a certain dosage.
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
The typical dosage ranges from 0.5 mg to 5 mg, and it should be taken two or three times daily.
Maximum dosage: 100 mg per day.
Once your body reaches the ideal response, your dosage should be gradually decreased until it reaches the smallest possible dosage that still allows you to experience the intended effects.
Child dose (ages 3–12 years and weighing from 15–40 kg)
Your child’s weight and condition will determine the appropriate dosage.
The normal dose is between 0.05 and 0.15 milligrammes per kilogramme of body weight once daily.
After attaining the desired response, the dose should be gradually decreased until it reaches the smallest possible dose that is still effective. It has not been demonstrated that doses of more than 6 mg are effective.
Child dose (ages 0–2 years)
It has not been determined what the minimum age is at which a child can take a dose that is both safe and effective.
Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)
The recommended dosage is between 0.5 and 2 milligrammes, taken two to three times daily.
Once your body reaches the ideal response, your dosage should be gradually decreased until it reaches the smallest possible dosage that still allows you to experience the intended effects.
Please understand that our intention is to present you with the most recent and pertinent information possible. However, due to the fact that medications have varying effects on various people, we are unable to guarantee that this list contains all of the possible dosages. This information is not intended to replace professional medical advice in any way. Always with your primary care physician or a pharmacist on the dosages that are appropriate for you.
Take exactly as directed.
Both short-term and long-term treatment with haloperidol is viable options. It is important to follow the instructions exactly, as there are potential side effects otherwise.
If you stop taking the drug or skip doses: If you stop using haloperidol, miss doses, or don’t take it on schedule, you may suffer more symptoms caused by your disease. If you miss doses of the drug or don’t take it as directed, you may also experience additional side effects.
If you take an excessive amount of the medicine, you run the risk of having unsafe quantities of it in your body. The following are some of the symptoms that may accompany an overdose of this drug:
muscles that are either weak or stiff
shaking a drop in blood pressure
a situation similar to shock characterised by an erratic heart rate, accompanied by shallow breathing and lack of awareness
Call your physician immediately if you believe that you have taken an unsafe amount of this medication, or consult the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use the resource that they provide on their website. However, if the severity of your symptoms continues to worsen, you should immediately dial 911 or go to the emergency room in the local hospital.
What to do if you forget a dose: If you realise that you have forgotten a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. On the other hand, if it will be only a few hours before your next dose, you should only take one dose. Never attempt to make up for a lost time by taking double the prescribed amount. Because of this, potentially harmful consequences could arise.
How to tell if the medicine is having the desired effect: You should experience fewer signs and symptoms associated with your disease.
Important factors to consider when administering haloperidol
If your physician prescribes haloperidol for you, keep these things in mind when you take the medication.
Take this medication with food to reduce the risk of experiencing stomach upset.
You have the option of cutting or crushing the tablet.
This medication should be kept at room temperature, which is between 20 and 68 degrees Celsius (68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit).
Keep this medication away from any source of light.
It is important that you do not keep this medication in a place that is going to be wet or damp, such as the restroom.
Refills It is possible to get further refills of this medication if you have a prescription for it. If you have an existing prescription for this drug, you shouldn’t need a new one in order to get it refilled. On your prescription, your physician will indicate the maximum number of refills that are permitted.
If you are going to travel with your medication, you should:
Always ensure that you have your medication on you. Never put it in a checked bag if you’re going to be flying with it. Keep it in the carry-on bag you’re using.
You don’t need to be concerned about the X-ray machines at the airport. They won’t have any negative effects on your medication.
It’s possible that airport employees will ask to see the pharmacy label for the medication you’re carrying with you. Always make sure you have the original container with the prescription label on it.
Do not place this medication in the glove compartment of your vehicle or leave it in the vehicle alone. Make it a point to steer clear of doing this when the temperature is either hot or extremely cold.
Your healthcare provider may order certain tests to evaluate your current state of health and determine how well this medication is working for you. These are the following:
blood test (complete blood count and prolactin level)
eye exam urine test
The antipsychotic medication haloperidol may increase a person’s photosensitivity. Stay out of the direct sunlight. Wear protective gear and make sure to apply sunscreen if you have no choice but to be outside in the sun. Avoid using sun lamps and tanning beds at all costs.
This medication is not available at all pharmacies. Before you go to the pharmacy to fill your prescription, give them a quick call to make sure they have the medication in stock.
Authorization in advance
This medication needs to be pre-authorized in order to be covered by the majority of insurance plans. This indicates that in order for your insurance company to pay for the prescription, your doctor will first need to obtain permission from your insurance company.
Are there any other options available?
There are additional medications that can be used to treat your illness. It’s possible that some will work better for you than others. Talk to your healthcare provider about the possibility of trying out other medications to see if any of them help.