Haldol (haloperidol) is a typical, or first-generation, antipsychotic medication. This drug is the first major antipsychotic from the butyrophenone series and is only available via prescription. It works by blocking several receptors in the brain, but is primarily targeted for receptors of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It is most commonly prescribed to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and psychosis, but has several other applications.
Haldol is primarily used to treat schizophrenia and associated symptoms of psychosis. It may also be used to treat children and adults who display the speech and motor tics usually associated with Tourette’s syndrome. Children with severe behavioral issues—such as chronic violent behavior, explosive aggression, anger issues, or hyperactivity—who have had limited success with psychotherapy, may benefit from this medication.
If you are prescribed an antipsychotic medication to treat a mental health issue, GoodTherapy.org recommends pairing your treatment with a type of psychotherapy. Many prominent studies show that medication in conjunction with psychotherapy often yields the best long-term results. Therapy can help a person understand his or her condition better, and aid in developing positive, healthy coping strategies when symptoms arise or become triggered.
- How can I take Haldol safely?
Haldol is administered as an intramuscular injection. It is not approved for intravenous administration. Haloperidol, the active ingredient in Haldol, may be presented in tablet form, as an oral concentrate, as an intramuscular solution, or as a compounding powder. This drug may be taken with or without food. As there is considerable variation in the amount of medication required from person to person, dosage is individualized. Most doctors prescribe this drug at a low dose and increase the dosage if needed. Once the medication begins to provide relief from symptoms, the dosage amount will level off and remain the same each day. Always follow the exact instructions of your doctor when taking this medication.
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as possible. If the time for the next scheduled dose is near, then do not take the missed dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication to make up for a missed dose. Doing so may cause an overdose.
- What should I do if I overdose?
If you experience an overdose, contact a poison control center or seek urgent medical attention immediately. Having too much haloperidol in your system may lead to serious heart rhythm issues or even sudden death. Symptoms of overdose may include difficulty breathing, stiff or weak muscles, unusual and uncontrollable body movements, sleepiness, and loss of consciousness.