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.
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.
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 haloperidol 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.
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.