Haldol Oral: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions

Discover the uses, side effects, and interactions of Haldol Oral. Stay informed for safe and effective medication management.

Published On

July 6, 2024

Understanding Haloperidol

Haloperidol, commonly known as Haldol, is a medication used to treat various nervous, emotional, and mental conditions. It belongs to a class of drugs called typical antipsychotics and is primarily prescribed for the management of schizophrenia, Tourette's syndrome, and severe behavioral disorders in children.

Medical Uses

The medical uses of haloperidol encompass a range of conditions:

  • Schizophrenia: Haloperidol is commonly prescribed to treat schizophrenia, a chronic mental disorder characterized by distorted thoughts, hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized behavior. It helps manage the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations and delusions.
  • Tourette's Syndrome: Haloperidol is also utilized to control the symptoms of Tourette's syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements and vocalizations known as tics. It helps reduce the frequency and severity of uncontrolled movements and outbursts of words or sounds associated with the condition [3].
  • Severe Behavioral Disorders in Children: In children who have not responded to other treatments, haloperidol may be prescribed to manage severe behavioral problems, including aggressive and impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, and other disruptive behaviors. Prior psychotherapy or ineffective medications may warrant the use of haloperidol in these cases.

It's important to note that haloperidol should not be used for treating behavior problems in older adult patients with dementia [1]. The dosage and administration of haloperidol will vary based on the specific condition being treated and the individual's response to the medication.

Dosage and Administration

The appropriate dosage of haloperidol will be determined by a healthcare professional based on factors such as the patient's age, medical condition, and response to treatment. It is available in various forms, including tablets and oral solution, allowing for flexibility in administration.

Here are some general considerations regarding the dosage and administration of haloperidol:

  • The medication is usually taken once or twice daily, with or without food, as directed by the healthcare provider.
  • The dosage may start at a low level and gradually increase to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. It is essential to follow the prescribed dosage and not exceed it without medical supervision.
  • Regular visits to the healthcare provider are necessary to monitor the response to treatment and make any necessary dosage adjustments.
  • It is crucial to take the medication consistently and as prescribed to maintain its effectiveness.
  • Abruptly stopping the use of haloperidol can lead to withdrawal symptoms. If discontinuation is necessary, it should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional to minimize any potential adverse effects.

Always consult with a healthcare professional for specific dosage instructions and guidance on the proper administration of haloperidol. They will consider individual factors to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for each patient.

Side Effects of Haloperidol

Haloperidol, like any medication, may cause side effects in some individuals. It's important to be aware of the potential side effects and consult a doctor if any arise during treatment. The side effects can be categorized into common, rare, and serious occurrences [4].

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of Haldol oral may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Headache
  • Anxiety

These side effects are usually mild and may improve as the body adjusts to the medication. If these side effects persist or worsen, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for potential alternatives or additional treatments [5].

Rare Side Effects

In rare cases, individuals taking Haldol oral may experience the following side effects:

  • Muscle spasm/stiffness
  • Tremor (shaking)
  • Restlessness
  • Mask-like expression of the face
  • Drooling/trouble swallowing
  • Shuffling walk
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop
  • Stomach/abdominal pain
  • Yellowing of eyes/skin
  • Seizures
  • Signs of infection (such as a persistent sore throat, fever)
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Severe dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS)
  • Increase in prolactin levels
  • Painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 or more hours

If any of these rare side effects occur, it is important to seek immediate medical attention [3].

Serious Side Effects

Haldol oral may rarely cause a very serious condition known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Symptoms of NMS can include:

  • Fever
  • Muscle stiffness/pain/tenderness/weakness
  • Severe tiredness
  • Severe confusion
  • Sweating
  • Fast/irregular heartbeat
  • Dark urine
  • Signs of kidney problems

If any of these serious side effects are experienced, it is crucial to seek immediate medical assistance.

It's important to remember that not all individuals will experience these side effects, and some may experience different or no side effects at all. If you have any concerns or questions about the side effects of Haloperidol, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

Interactions with Other Medications

When taking haloperidol, it's important to be aware of potential interactions with other medications. These interactions can lead to side effects or affect the effectiveness of the medications. Here, we will explore drug interactions associated with haloperidol and their impact on effectiveness.

Drug Interactions

Haloperidol may interact with several medications, and it's crucial to inform your healthcare professional about all the medications you are taking. Some drugs that may interact with Haldol oral include:

  • Cabergoline
  • Ketoconazole
  • Lithium
  • Methyldopa
  • Paroxetine
  • Pergolide
  • Quinupristin/dalfopristin
  • Saquinavir

Haloperidol can also interact with drugs that affect the heart rhythm, such as:

  • Amiodarone
  • Dofetilide
  • Pimozide
  • Quinidine
  • Sotalol
  • Macrolide antibiotics

These interactions can potentially increase the risk of side effects or affect the way haloperidol works in your body. It's important to discuss any potential drug interactions with your healthcare provider to avoid any adverse effects.

Impact on Effectiveness

The effectiveness of haloperidol is influenced by the blockade of dopamine receptors. According to NCBI Bookshelf, maximum effectiveness is achieved when approximately 72% of dopamine receptors are blocked. However, haloperidol also blocks other receptors, such as noradrenergic, cholinergic, and histaminergic receptors, which can lead to various adverse drug reactions.

The effectiveness of haloperidol may also be influenced by individual factors such as metabolism and the presence of other medications. It's important to follow your healthcare provider's instructions and report any changes or concerns regarding the effectiveness of haloperidol.

Remember, always consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before starting or stopping any medications while taking haloperidol to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your treatment plan.

Special Considerations

When using haloperidol oral, there are certain special considerations to keep in mind. This section will discuss age considerations as well as the use of haloperidol during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Age Considerations

The use of haloperidol in children younger than 3 years of age has not been studied extensively. Therefore, the safety and efficacy of haloperidol have not been established in this age group. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriateness of using haloperidol in children.

Elderly individuals, especially elderly women, may be more susceptible to certain side effects of haloperidol. Tardive dyskinesia, a side effect characterized by involuntary movements, is more likely to occur in elderly women using haloperidol. Additionally, elderly patients may have age-related heart or lung problems, which may require dosage adjustments when taking haloperidol.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

The use of haloperidol during pregnancy is a decision that should be made after careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks. There are no adequate studies available to determine the risk to an infant when using haloperidol while breastfeeding. It is important to weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding. Consulting with a healthcare professional is essential to make an informed decision [6].

It is crucial to note that haloperidol should not be used for the treatment of behavior problems in older adult patients with dementia. It is not approved for this purpose and may increase the risk of serious, possibly fatal side effects such as heart failure, fast/irregular heartbeat, and pneumonia in older adults with dementia [3].

Considering these special considerations is important to ensure the safe and appropriate use of haloperidol oral. It is always advised to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and recommendations regarding the use of haloperidol in specific age groups and during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Safety and Precautions

When using haloperidol, it is important to consider certain safety precautions and be aware of any medical conditions that may impact its use. Healthcare professionals should take into account the presence of other medical problems and potential interactions with other medications.

Medical Conditions

Before using haloperidol, it is essential to inform your doctor about any existing medical conditions. Certain medical problems may affect the decision to use this medication or require dose adjustments. Some medical conditions that may be of concern when using haloperidol include:

  • Parkinson's disease
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Heart or blood vessel problems
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Liver or kidney problems

By discussing these medical conditions with your doctor, they can evaluate the potential risks and benefits of using haloperidol and determine the most appropriate course of action.

Monitoring and Reporting

During the course of haloperidol usage, it is important to regularly monitor its effects and report any concerning symptoms or side effects to your healthcare provider. This allows for timely intervention and adjustments if necessary.

Common side effects of haloperidol may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Muscle stiffness

Rare side effects and serious side effects may also occur. It is crucial to be vigilant and seek medical attention if you experience any severe or unusual symptoms while taking haloperidol.

Additionally, it is important to be aware of potential interactions between haloperidol and other medications. Certain drugs may interact with haloperidol, leading to potential side effects or changes in effectiveness. Some medications that may interact with haloperidol include:

  • Cabergoline
  • Ketoconazole
  • Lithium
  • Methyldopa
  • Paroxetine
  • Pergolide
  • Quinupristin/dalfopristin
  • Saquinavir

Furthermore, haloperidol may also interact with drugs that affect the heart rhythm, such as amiodarone, dofetilide, pimozide, quinidine, sotalol, and macrolide antibiotics. It is important to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking to prevent potential interactions and ensure your safety.

By closely monitoring the effects of haloperidol and promptly reporting any concerns to your healthcare provider, you can help ensure the safe and effective use of this medication.


[1]: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/haloperidol-oral-route/description/drg-20064173

[2]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560892/

[3]: https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-5419/haldol-oral/details

[4]: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/haloperidol-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20064173

[5]: https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/haloperidol/side-effects-of-haloperidol/

[6]: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/haloperidol-oral-route/before-using/drg-20064173

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