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Side Effects of Haloperidol (Haldol)


Haldol (generic name haloperidol) is a neuroleptic that is approved to treat psychosis, schizophrenia, and Tourette syndrome. It is also used in an “off label” capacity to treat the chorea that occurs in Huntington disease, delirium in the intensive care unit, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and nausea and vomiting after surgery or during chemotherapy. Haldol is a powerful drug that causes dramatic benefits, but also dramatic side effects.

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome and Other Serious Side Effects of Haldol

Haldol, like all neuroleptics, has the potential to cause a condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). According to the Haldol drug label as reported by the FDA, symptoms of neuroleptic malignant syndrome include mental status changes, fever, rigid muscles, and a higher than normal white blood count and liver enzyme levels. The syndrome may also lead to acute renal failure. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome, while uncommon, is one of the most feared Haldol adverse effects.

Other severe reactions include:

  • Sudden death
  • QT-interval prolongation
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Bronchopneumonia
  • Common Side Effects of Haldol

    Common reactions according the Haldol drug label include:

  • Anorexia
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypersalivation
  • Dyspepsia
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Urinary retention
  • Less Common Haldol Side Effects

    Rare reactions according to the Haldol drug label include:

  • Cataracts
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypersalivation
  • Nausea
  • Vertigo
  • Impotence
  • Understand Your Risks with the Rxight® Genetic Test

    With the Rxight® genetic test from MD Labs, all that is required is authorization from your physician and a simple non-invasive cheek swab of your DNA from a participating pharmacist. Rxight® brings state-of-the-art research to individualized medicine by informing your physician about your ability to metabolize over 200 prescription medications and over-the-counter agents. Armed with the results, you and your prescriber can find a safe and effective dose, tailored to your unique genetics.

    The most common reason why patients discontinue their medication treatment is because of adverse side effects. By stopping the treatment altogether, patients lose the therapeutic benefit and may experience decreased quality of life. When patients are confident that side effects may be minimized, adherence to medication regimens increases.

    Contributors to this Article:
    Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

    Read more about Rxight® genetic testing for drug metabolism