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Generic Name:

haloperidol, Oral solution

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SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for haloperidol

Oral solution
1

Haloperidol belongs to a drug class called antipsychotics. It’s available as an oral tablet and an oral solution.

2

If you are aged 65 years and older and have dementia that is causing psychosis, taking haloperidol may increase your risk of death. Symptoms of psychosis include big changes in personality and a distorted sense of reality.

3

Side effects include dizziness, sleepiness, and blurred vision. Don’t drive or use machinery until you know how haloperidol affects you.

4

Haloperidol may decrease saliva and cause dry mouth. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy and drinking plenty of water may help.

5

Haloperidol can decrease your sensitivity to heat or cold. This can create difficulty in dressing warm or cool enough.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA Warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Dementia warning. If you’re aged 65 years and older and have dementia that’s causing psychosis, taking haloperidol may increase your risk of death.

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome

Haloperidol may cause a severe reaction called neuroleptic malignant syndrome. This occurs due to haloperidol’s interference with dopamine. Symptoms may include fever, rigid or stiff muscles, changed mood, irregular pulse or blood pressure, fast or irregular heartbeat, and unexplainable sweating.

If you experience these symptoms, stop taking haloperidol right away and get medical help. This syndrome can damage your muscles and kidneys.

Movement symptoms

Haloperidol may trigger extrapyramidal symptoms. These include involuntary movements, such as hand tremor and shaking, stiff and slow movements, agitation or restlessness, and muscle spasms.

These symptoms often happen during the first few days of taking haloperidol. You’re at increased risk if you are a young man or you take high doses of haloperidol.

If you experience these symptoms, your doctor might change your dose or add medicines like benztropine or trihexyphenidyl to treat the extrapyramidal symptoms. 

Q-T syndrome

Haloperidol use may trigger Q–T syndrome. This condition can lead to an irregular heart rate called torsades de pointes, which can be fatal.

You’re at higher risk of this if you take more than the recommended dose. You’re also at higher risk if you have low potassium or magnesium levels, pre-existing heart conditions, low thyroid function, or a family history of long QT syndrome.

What is haloperidol?

Haloperidol is a prescription drug. It’s available in these forms: oral tablet and concentrated oral solution.

Haloperidol is available in its generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Why it's used

Haloperidol is used to treat a range of disruptive disorders, behavior problems, and motion problems.

More Details

How it works

Haloperidol is an antipsychotic. Antipsychotics act on the brain chemical dopamine.

More Details

Why It's Used

Haloperidol is used to treat a range of disruptive disorders, behavior problems, and motion problems.

It’s approved for:

  • disruptive aspects of certain mental disorders, including:
    • psychotic disorders
    • Tourette’s syndrome
    • serious behavior problems in people younger than 18 years
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-related movement and conduct disorders in people younger than 18 years
  • psychosis and schizophrenia
  • control of facial muscle spasms (tics) and voice disturbances of Tourette’s syndrome
  • severe behavior problems in children with conduct disorder

Using this medication for children with behavior problems or ADHD should be considered only after psychotherapy and other medications have failed.

How It Works

Haloperidol is an antipsychotic. Antipsychotics act on the brain chemical dopamine. Decreasing dopamine may help treat psychosis.

Haloperidol may also weakly block actions of other brain chemicals. This may help to manage aspects of certain mental disorders, such as combativeness, explosiveness or over-excitability, excessive movement, impulsiveness, difficulty keeping attention, and mood swings.

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haloperidol Side Effects

Oral solution

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with haloperidol include:

  • central nervous system effects, including:

    • anxiety or agitation
    • tiredness
    • difficulty sleeping
  • gastrointestinal effects, including:

    • constipation or diarrhea
    • nausea or vomiting
  • hormonal effects, including:

    • decreased sexual ability
    • monthly menstrual cycle changes
    • increased prolactin levels
  • anticholinergic effects, including:

    • dry mouth
    • blurred vision
  • weight gain

  • reduced sensitivity to heat or cold

  • skin irritation (contact dermatitis) if the solution gets on your skin

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • breast pain and swelling or unusual production of breast milk

  • difficulty in passing urine, or sudden loss of bladder control

  • dizziness or light headedness

  • fever, chills, or sore throat

  • hot, dry skin, heat stroke, or lack of sweating

  • seizures

  • skin rash

  • movement (extrapyramidal) symptoms. Symptom may include:

    • stiffness, spasms, or trembling
    • slow movement
    • agitation or restlessness
    • abnormal muscle tone
    • twisting movement of your head, neck, or tongue
  • tardive dyskinesia. This disorder consists of specific abnormal movements, such as:

    • uncontrollable tongue or chewing movements, smacking lips, or puffing cheeks
    • persistent uncontrollable movements in your legs
  • dystonia. This is abnormal movement and prolonged contractions caused by disordered muscle tone. Symptoms may include:

    • uncontrollable muscle spasms in your face, hands, arms, or legs
    • twisting body movements
    • difficulty breathing
    • difficulty in speaking and swallowing
    • loss of balance or difficulty walking
  • cardiovascular effects, including:

    • low blood pressure
    • irregular heart beat
  • fatigue

  • jaundice. Symptoms may include:

    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • lung infections called bronchopneumonia. Haloperidol decreases your ability to sense thirst and makes you more tired. This can lead to dehydration and decreased lung function. This can increase your risk of lung infections.

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Haloperidol causes drowsiness and sedation.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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haloperidol May Interact with Other Medications

Oral solution

Haloperidol can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug.

Alcohol Interaction

Avoid using alcohol while taking haloperidol. Drinking alcohol while taking haloperidol can make the side effects of both the drug and alcohol stronger. Taking alcohol and haloperidol together may also cause your blood pressure to decrease.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Bipolar disorder drug
  • lithium

Using haloperidol together with lithium can lead to encephalopathic syndrome. This condition can result in brain damage. Symptoms may include weakness, fever, tremor, confusion, muscle spasms, and abnormal blood test results. If you experience any of these symptoms, tell your doctor right away.

Fungal infection drugs

Haloperidol shouldn’t be taken with these drugs:

  • fluconazole
  • posaconazole

Combining these drugs can increase the amount of haloperidol in your body. Increased levels of haloperidol in your blood can cause the irregular heart rate called torsades de pointes, which can be fatal.

Haloperidol should only be taken under your doctor’s supervision when taken with these medicines:

  • ketoconazole
  • voriconazole
  • itraconazole

Irregular heart rate drugs
  • dofetilide
  • quinidine
  • dronedarone

Don’t take haloperidol with these drugs. The combination can increase the amount of haloperidol in your body. Increased levels of haloperidol in your blood can cause the irregular heart rate called torsades de pointes, which can be fatal.

Psychotic disorder drugs
  • pimozide
  • thioridazine
  • ziprasidone

Don’t take haloperidol with these drugs. They can increase the amount of haloperidol in your body. Increased levels of haloperidol in your blood can cause the irregular heart rate called torsades de pointes, which can be fatal.

Anticoagulant, blood thinner
  • warfarin

Taking haloperidol with warfarin may make warfarin less effective.

Parkinson’s disease drug
  • levodopa
  • pramiplexole
  • ropinirole

Taking haloperidol with these medications can make the Parkinson’s medications less effective. It may also increase pressure of the fluid in your eyes. If you’re taking these drugs together and they need to be stopped, the haloperidol should be stopped first to prevent muscle side effects.

Seizure drugs
  • carbamazepine
  • oxcarbazepine

Haloperidol increases risk of seizure. Taking these drugs with haloperidol lowers the amount of haloperidol in your body. When starting these drugs, your haloperidol dose may need to be changed or stopped.

Antibiotic
  • rifampin

Taking rifampin with haloperidol may lower the amount of haloperidol in your body. Your haloperidol dose may need to be changed or stopped when you start taking rifampin.

Pain drug
  • tramadol

Taking haloperidol with tramadol may increase your risk of seizure. Taking these two drugs together may also depress your central nervous system more.

Hypotension drug
  • epinephrine

Taking haloperidol with epinephrine may block the action of epinephrine and cause a condition called epinephrine reversal. Symptoms of epinephrine reversal may include a serious decrease of blood pressure, fast heart rate, and heart attack.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Haloperidol Warnings
dementia
People with dementia

If you’re aged 65 years or older and have psychosis related to dementia, taking haloperidol may increase your risk of death. You shouldn’t use haloperidol if you have these medical conditions.

cerebrovascular disease
People with cerebrovascular disease

These are serious diseases of the blood vessels to the heart and brain. Haloperidol may a cause temporary drop in blood pressure or cause chest pain. If you have symptoms of a drop in your blood pressure level, contact your doctor. Symptoms include:

  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • blurred vision, especially when standing up
seizures
People with seizures

If you have a history of seizures or are taking anti-seizure drugs, your doctor may lower or stop your dose of haloperidol. Taking haloperidol may make you have a seizure more easily.

Parkinson's disease
People with Parkinson's disease

Haloperidol works on a chemical in your brain called dopamine. It may make your Parkinson’s disease much worse.

low white blood cell counts
People with low white blood cell counts

Haloperidol may cause the number of your white blood cells to drop. You doctor will need to check your white blood cell count often. If your blood cell counts become too low, you may have to stop taking haloperidol.

mania
People with mania

When haloperidol is used to control mania in mania cyclic disorder, you may have a fast mood swing to depression.

thyrotoxicosis
People with thyrotoxicosis

This is a condition that happens when your body makes too much thyroid hormone. Too much thyroid hormone in your body can be toxic to your nervous system. Haloperidol may increase your chance of having this condition. Symptoms may include rigidity and the inability to walk and talk.

low potassium or magnesium
People with low potassium or magnesium

Having low potassium or magnesium levels and taking haloperidol may increase your risk of cardiovascular side effects. These include Q–T syndrome and an irregular heart rate called torsades de pointes, which can be fatal.

pregnant woman
Pregnant women

Haloperidol is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

You should only use haloperidol during pregnancy if the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk to the fetus.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Avoid breastfeeding while taking haloperidol. Haloperidol passes through breast milk and may harm your baby.

seniors
For seniors

The effects haloperidol in people aged 65 years and older may be much stronger.

Seniors are more at risk for a side effect called tardive dyskinesia. This condition can cause movement disorders of your mouth and legs. Women who have been taking this medication for a long time are at higher risk.  

children
For children

Haloperidol is not approved for children younger than 3 years.

allergies
Allergies

Haloperidol can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal.

The solution may cause skin irritation (contact dermatitis) if it touches your skin.

Some oral formulations may contain tartrazine dye or other yellow dyes. If you’re allergic to tartrazine dye, you may have an allergic reaction and may have an asthma attack.

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How to Take haloperidol (Dosage)

Oral solution

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Disruptive disorders and ADHD
Form: Concentrated Oral Solution
Strengths: 2 mg/mL
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • Typical doses range from 0.5–5 mg taken two to three times per day.
  • Sometimes doses up to 100 mg per day may be needed.
  • After reaching the desired response, your dose should be gradually lowered to the lowest possible dose that works.
Child Dosage (ages 3-12 years and weighing from 15-40 kg)
  • Dosage is based on your child’s weight and condition. Typical dosages range from 0.05–0.15 mg per kilogram of body weight per day.
  • After reaching the desired response, the dose should be gradually lowered to the lowest possible dose that works.
  • Doses above 6 mg haven’t been proven to be effective.
Child Dosage (ages 0-2 years)

A safe and effective dose hasn’t been established for children younger than 3 years old.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)
  • Take 0.5–2 mg two to three times per day.
  • After reaching the desired response, your dose should be gradually lowered to the lowest possible dose that works.

Warnings

Make sure to shake the solution before drawing up the dose.

Use the dropper that comes with the solution to draw up and give the correct dose.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Haloperidol comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If You Stop or Miss Doses

If you stop taking haloperidol, miss doses, or don’t take it on schedule, you may experience more symptoms caused by your condition.

If You Take Too Much

If you take too much haloperidol, you may experience more drug effects and side effects. This could include weak or rigid muscles, tremor, low blood pressure, and severe sleepiness. You may lose consciousness and have decreased breathing (shock-like state). You may have an irregular heart rate. Get immediate medical help if you take or think you’ve taken too much haloperidol.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. However, if it’s just a few hours until your next dose, only take one dose. Never try to catch up by taking a double dose. This could result in toxic side effects.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may be able to tell this drug is working if you experience fewer symptoms of your condition.

Haloperidol may be a short-term or long-term treatment.

How long you take it will depend on the condition you’re treating.

Take with food to prevent upset stomach

You can take haloperidol directly from the pre-measured tube or mix it with food.

Don’t mix it with coffee or tea, because the medication may clump together and not work well.

Store at room temperature: 68–75°F (20–25°C)

Don’t freeze the medication.

Protect it from light.

Throw away any medicine that’s not used after the expiration date on the bottle.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s preprinted label to identify the medication. Keep the original prescription-labeled box with you when traveling.

Clinical Monitoring

Your doctor may perform tests to check your health and make sure the drug is working for you. These include:

  • blood test (complete blood count and prolactin level)
  • eye exam
  • urine test

Sun Sensitivity

Haloperidol can make you more sensitive to the sun.  Keep out of the sun. If you can’t avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Don’t use sun lamps or tanning beds.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other medicines available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

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How Much Does haloperidol Cost?

Oral solution

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Lowest price for haloperidol

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for haloperidol on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for haloperidol on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 21, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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