Haldol (haloperidol)

Haldol (haloperidol)

Brand name: Haldol®.
Active ingredient name: Haloperidol.
Type of medication: Typical antipsychotic.
Available in Canada from: Ortho McNeil Products (brand name only).
Form: Oral tablets, intramuscular injection (short-acting and long-acting depot).
Generic: Yes: Haloperidol Injection, Haloperidol LA (Sandoz Canada Inc.); Teva-Haloperidol (Teva Canada Limited).
Listed on Ontario formulary: Yes.
OHIP+ coverage: Yes.

What is Haldol used for?

Haldol is used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses in adults and sometimes children. Haldol is used to treat other conditions as well. Ask your doctor why you are being prescribed Haldol.

How should I take Haldol?

  • Haldol can be taken with or without food. It can be taken once daily. The liquid form of Haldol should not be mixed with tea or coffee as they are not compatible.
  • Haldol is available in 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg tablets. Long-acting Haldol injection is available in 50 mg and 100 mg/mL vials.
  • The usual dose of oral Haldol is 4 mg - 20 mg daily. Haldol can be taken once daily, however, some doctors like to give it 2 - 3 times daily. Your doctor may prescribe doses higher than this range depending on your clinical situation. Discuss your individual dose with your doctor.
  • If you are receiving long-acting haloperidol injections, you will probably receive injections every 2 - 4 weeks. Some people may need more frequent injections compared to others. The usual dose range for the depot injection of Haldol is 50 mg - 200 mg every 2 - 4 weeks.

What are the most common side effects seen with Haldol?

The most common side effects of Haldol include:
  • Abnormal movements (extrapyramidal symptoms)
  • Muscle spasms (dystonia)
  • Changes in monthly menstrual cycle (amenorrhea)
  • Decreased sexual interest and/or function
  • Swelling of breasts and milk production in males and females
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Insomnia

What are rare but potentially serious adverse effects with Haldol?

  • Decrease in white blood cell count (agranulocytosis)
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS)
  • Sudden cardiac death (heart attack)
  • Torsades de pointes (serious heart arrhythmia)
  • Seizures
In addition to the above physical side effects, Haldol has potential mood side effects. In some individuals Haldol may cause low mood or depression. Some individuals may also feel unhappy, dissatisfied, indifferent and restless. Haldol has also caused confusion and symptoms of memory loss in some individuals. Finally, some individuals have developed anxiety symptoms while taking Haldol.

Warnings/Precautions

Elderly individuals with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic medication are at an increased risk of death compared to individuals not receiving antipsychotics. Most deaths appear to be either cardiovascular or infectious. Haldol is not approved for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis. Some individuals with dementia may, however, be treated with this medication. Discuss the potential risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor for this indication.

What medications interact with Haldol?

Tell all your doctors, pharmacists and dentist that you are taking Haldol. You should also tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications, including those obtained without a prescription, and herbal and vitamin products.

The following types of medications may interact with Haldol:

  • Bromocriptine
  • Certain medications for allergies (e.g., Benadryl [diphenhydramine])
  • Certain medications for sleep (e.g., lorazepam, zopiclone)
  • Certain medications for pain (e.g., fentanyl)
  • Anti-Parkinson agents
Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while taking Haldol.