|Type of medicine||An antipsychotic medicine|
|Used mainly for||Easing the symptoms of schizophrenia and other mental, emotional or behavioural problems|
|Also called||Haldol®, Serenace®|
|Available as||Tablets, capsules, and oral liquid medicine|
Haloperidol is used to relieve the symptoms of schizophrenia and other problems which affect the way you think, feel or behave. These problems may make you hear, see or sense things that are not there, or believe things that are not true, or feel unusually suspicious. If you are taking haloperidol for these reasons, you may be prescribed tablets or capsules to take for a short while to get your symptoms under control, and then a long-acting, or 'depot', injection may be recommended for you. There is a separate medicine leaflet called Haloperidol long-acting injection which gives more information about this.
Haloperidol is also used for tics (movements which can't be controlled), sickness associated with advanced or terminal illnesses, and to treat persistent hiccups.
Before taking haloperidol
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking haloperidol it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have a heart condition or blood vessel problems.
- If you have liver, kidney, or prostate problems.
- If you have breathing problems.
- If you have any of the following: epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, depression, increased pressure in your eyes (glaucoma), or a condition causing muscle weakness, called myasthenia gravis.
- If you have ever had yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice) or a blood disorder.
- If you have a tumour on your adrenal gland (phaeochromocytoma).
- If you have been told you have low levels of salts (electrolytes) in your blood.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take haloperidol
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about haloperidol and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
- Take haloperidol exactly as your doctor has told you to. You will be told what dose to take and when to take it, as this will depend upon the reason why you are taking haloperidol.
- When you first start taking haloperidol your doctor may give you a small dose and then gradually increase it. This will make sure that you have the dose that helps your condition and avoids any unwanted symptoms.
- You can take haloperidol before or after your meals. Swallow the dose with a drink of water.
- Try to take your doses at the same time of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take them.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if when you remember, it is nearly time for your next dose then leave out the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Your treatment will require careful monitoring to make sure that you get the best possible benefit from haloperidol. Keep your regular doctor's appointments so your progress can be checked. You will need to have some tests from time to time.
- Treatment with haloperidol for schizophrenia is usually long-term unless you experience an adverse effect. Keep taking it until your doctor tells you otherwise. Stopping suddenly can cause problems and your doctor may want you to reduce your dose gradually if this is necessary. If you have been given haloperidol to relieve severe agitation or anxiety, it will be given to you for a short time only until your symptoms have eased.
- Haloperidol may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight than normal. Use a sunscreen that protects against UVA light and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, especially in strong sunlight or until you know how your skin reacts. Do not use sunbeds.
- If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking. This is important because haloperidol may interfere with any anaesthetic you receive.
- If you buy or take any 'over-the-counter' medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with haloperidol.
- If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice about drinking while you are on haloperidol. Alcohol may increase the chance that you experience side-effects and may not be recommended for you.
- Smoking may affect the amount of haloperidol in your body. Let your doctor know if you start or stop smoking while you are taking haloperidol.
- If you have diabetes check your blood glucose levels regularly, as haloperidol may affect the levels of sugar in your blood.
How to store haloperidol
- Keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.