What is this medication?
HALOPERIDOL (ha loe PER i dole) treats schizophrenia. It may also be used to manage the symptoms of Tourette disorder. It can also be used to treat severe behavior problems in children when other therapies have not worked. It works by balancing the levels of dopamine in your brain, a substance that helps regulate mood, behaviors, and thoughts. It belongs to a group of medications called antipsychotics. Antipsychotic medications can be used to treat several kinds of mental health conditions.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Haldol
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Have trouble controlling your muscles
- Heart disease
- History of irregular heartbeat
- If you often drink alcohol
- Liver disease
- Low blood counts, like white blood cell, platelet, or red cell counts
- Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood
- Lung or breathing disease, like asthma
- Parkinson's disease
- Thyroid disease
- An unusual or allergic reaction to haloperidol, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
Take this medication by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. You can take this medication with or without food. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medication more often than directed. Do not suddenly stop taking this medication. You may need to gradually reduce the dose.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed. While this medication may be prescribed for children for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medication?
Do not take this medication with any of the following:
This medication may also interact with the following:
- Antihistamines for allergy, cough, and cold
- Certain medications for anxiety or sleep
- Certain medications for bladder problems like oxybutynin, tolterodine
- Certain medications for depression like amitriptyline, fluoxetine, sertraline
- Certain medications for stomach problems like dicyclomine, hyoscyamine
- Certain medications for travel sickness like scopolamine
- General anesthetics like halothane, isoflurane, methoxyflurane, propofol
- Levodopa or other medications for Parkinson's disease
- Medications for blood pressure
- Medications for seizures
- Medications that relax muscles for surgery
- Narcotic medications for pain
- Other medications that prolong the QT interval (an abnormal heart rhythm)
- Phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, prochlorperazine
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Tell your care team if symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse. Do not stop taking except on your care team's advice.
You may get dizzy or drowsy or have blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medication affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol can increase dizziness and drowsiness. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
This medication may increase blood sugar. Ask your care team if changes in diet or medications are needed if you have diabetes.
Your mouth may get dry. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy, and drinking plenty of water may help. Contact your care team if the problem does not go away or is severe.
This medication can cause problems with controlling your body temperature. It can lower the response of your body to cold temperatures. If possible, stay indoors during cold weather. If you must go outdoors, wear warm clothes. It can also lower the response of your body to heat. Do not overheat. Do not over-exercise. Stay out of the sun when possible. If you must be in the sun, wear cool clothing. Drink plenty of water. If you have trouble controlling your body temperature, call your care team right away.
This medication can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Heart rhythm changes—fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, chest pain, trouble breathing
- High fever, stiff muscles, increased sweating, fast or irregular heartbeat, and confusion, which may be signs of neuroleptic malignant syndrome
- High prolactin level—unexpected breast tissue growth, discharge from the nipple, change in sex drive or performance, irregular menstrual cycle
- Infection—fever, chills, cough, or sore throat
- Low blood pressure—dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, blurry vision
- Trouble passing urine
- Uncontrolled and repetitive body movements, muscle stiffness or spasms, tremors or shaking, loss of balance or coordination, restlessness, shuffling walk, which may be signs of extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS)
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- Change in sex drive or performance
- Dry mouth
- Weight gain
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Protect from light. Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medication after the expiration date.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy