Why is this medication prescribed?
Haloperidol is used to treat psychotic disorders and symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and hostility and to control muscular tics of the face, neck, hands, and shoulders. It also is used to treat severe behavioral problems in children and in hyperactive children (short-term use).
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Haloperidol comes as a tablet and liquid concentrate to take by mouth. It usually is taken two or three times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take haloperidol exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
The liquid concentrate must be diluted before use. It comes with a specially marked dropper for measuring the dose. Ask your pharmacist to show you how to use the dropper if you have difficulty. To dilute the liquid concentrate, add it to at least 2 ounces of milk, water, orange juice, or grapefruit juice just before you take it. If any beverage gets on the dropper, rinse the dropper with tap water before replacing it in the bottle. Do not allow the liquid concentrate to touch your skin or clothing; it can irritate your skin. If you spill the liquid concentrate on your skin, wash it off immediately with soap and water.
Continue to take haloperidol even if you feel well. Do not stop taking haloperidol without talking to your doctor, especially if you have taken large doses for a long time. Your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually. This drug must be taken regularly for a few weeks before its full effect is felt.
Other uses for this medicine
Haloperidol is used to prevent and control nausea and vomiting. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking haloperidol,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to haloperidol, aspirin, tartrazine (a yellow dye in some processed foods and drugs), or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially antacids (Amphogel, Maalox), antihistamines, appetite reducers (amphetamines), benztropine (Cogentin), bromocriptine (Parlodel), carbamazepine (Tegretol), dicyclomine (Bentyl), fluoxetine (Prozac), guanethidine (Ismelin), lithium, meperidine (Demerol), methyldopa (Aldomet), phenytoin (Dilantin), propranolol (Inderal), sedatives, trihexyphenidyl (Artane), valproic acid (Depakane), medication for colds or depression, and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had depression; seizures; shock therapy; allergies; asthma; emphysema; chronic bronchitis; problems with your urinary system or prostate; glaucoma; history of alcohol abuse; thyroid problems; bad reaction to insulin; angina; irregular heartbeat; problems with your blood pressure; blood disorders; or blood vessel, heart, kidney, liver, or lung disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking haloperidol, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking haloperidol.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.
- plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Haloperidol may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it and take any remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced intervals. However, if you remember a missed dose when it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Side effects from haloperidol are common. Your urine may turn pink or reddish-brown; this effect is not harmful. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dry mouth
- weight gain
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- restlessness or pacing
- fine worm-like tongue movements
- unusual face, mouth, or jaw movements
- shuffling walk
- slow, jerky movements
- seizures or convulsions
- fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
- difficulty urinating or loss of bladder control
- eye pain or discoloration
- difficulty breathing or fast breathing
- skin rash
- severe muscle stiffness
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Protect the liquid from light. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison controlcenter at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsedor is not breathing, call local emergency services at911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to haloperidol.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.