Haloperidol is a prescription for treating schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and specific adult behavioral issues. It’s also used in some cases to reduce nausea and vomiting. This drug works by blocking dopamine activity to help correct chemical imbalances that contribute to psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. Haloperidol is very effective in managing severe symptoms of mental illness with few side effects when dosed correctly.
In this blog post, we will explore the uses of haloperidol, the side effects it may have with other medications or substances, and the precautions nurses should consider before prescribing it. We’ll break down everything you need to know about haloperidol so you can decide if it’s right for your medical needs.
Table of Contents
Haloperidol Brand Name & Drug Class
- Generic Name: haloperidol injection
- Brand Name: Haldol
- Drug Class: Antipsychotics, First Generation
What Are the Side Effects of Haldol?
Common side effects of Haldol can include:
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Urinary retention
Other serious but rare side effects may include tardive dyskinesia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), or prolonged QT intervals. If these symptoms occur, seek immediate medical attention.
- Acute mania
- Bipolar disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
Routes(S) Of Administration
- SUBQ (risperidone)
- Sublingual, topical (asenapine)
Contraindications And Cautions
- QT prolongation
- CNA depression
- Boxed warning (all antipsychotics): increased risk of death in elderly clients with dementia-related psychosis
- Clozapine: black box warning for severe neutropenia, seizures, fatal myocarditis, bradycardia, & cardiac arrest
Uses of Haloperidol
Haloperidol treats mental and behavioral disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and some impulse control disorders. It can also help reduce nausea and vomiting in some cases.
Haldol is available in 5 mg vials, with each milliliter of the solution containing this strength. It is usually administered intramuscularly at a starting dose of 2.5 to 5 mg, with dosage modifications depending on the patient’s response to the drug. Switching to an oral formulation should be done as soon as possible.
Haloperidol Nursing Considerations
Assessment & Monitoring
- Mental and behavioral status
- Vital signs: Assess for orthostatic hypotension
- Laboratory: CBC, electrolytes, glucose, lipid profile, hepatic and renal function
- Current medications
- Side effects: Report adverse side effects to health care provider; intervene as ordered.
Haloperidol Nursing Interventions:
1. Monitor the patient for adverse effects of haloperidol, including drowsiness, blurred vision, and extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS).
2. Provide close observation and supportive care when administering haloperidol to elderly patients or those with an underlying medical condition like Parkinson’s.
3. Administer haloperidol cautiously to patients with a history of seizures or cardiac arrhythmias.
4. Educate the patient about the expected therapeutic outcomes of haloperidol and any potential adverse effects.
5. Monitor vital signs, neurologic status, and cardiovascular function closely during treatment and adjust the dose as needed.
6. Monitor serum electrolytes and glucose levels periodically.
7. Encourage the patient to attend regular medical follow-up visits to monitor medication adherence, side effects, and effectiveness.
8. When appropriate, Provide educational resources on haloperidol and its effects to the patient’s family members or caregivers.
9. Make sure that the patient is obtaining adequate nutrition and hydration.
10. Monitor laboratory parameters such as liver function tests, drug levels, and CBC count for signs of toxicity or adverse reactions.
Haloperidol Nursing implications
- Nurses should be aware of the following implications related to haloperidol:
- Haloperidol can cause serious side effects such as QT prolongation, tardive dyskinesia, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome.
- It can also increase some individuals’ glucose levels and blood pressure, so regular monitoring is essential.
- Close observation and supportive care are needed when administering haloperidol to elderly patients or those with an underlying medical condition.
- Avoid alcohol while taking this medication, as it can worsen side effects.
- Adjust dosages cautiously when switching from one drug formulation to another.
- Monitor laboratory parameters such as liver function tests, CBC count, and drug levels to watch for signs of toxicity or adverse reactions.
- Educate the patient and their family/caregivers about possible side effects so they can recognize them early on and seek medical attention if needed.
- Encourage regular follow-up visits to monitor medication adherence, effectiveness, and side effects.
- Make Ensure the patient obtains adequate nutrition and hydration to prevent further complications.
- Be aware of other medications that may interact with haloperidol, such as CNS depressants or MAO inhibitors, and adjust dosages accordingly.
- Be sure to inform the patient’s family about any changes in their condition or treatments while under your care.
- Sedation: Advise clients to avoid engaging in hazardous activities and take medication in the evenings.
- Orthostatic hypotension: Instruct them to make position changes gradually.
- Anticholinergic effects: Recommend sugar-free hard candy or chewing gum and frequent water consumption; suggest an increasing dietary fiber intake, fluids, and physical activity.
- For some antipsychotics: Stress the importance of regular monitoring of lipid profile and CBC; alert them to the risks of infection; help them recognize symptoms of hyperglycemia.
- Be sure to remind clients to promptly report any flu– Flu like symptoms or other signs of infections, such as fever and sore throat, possible extrapyramidal symptoms, and indicators of hyperglycemia.
Mrs. Marie Brown has been a registered nurse for over 25 years. She began her nursing career at a Level I Trauma Center in downtown Chicago, Illinois. There she worked in the Emergency Department and on the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. After several years, she moved to the Midwest and continued her nursing career in a critical care setting. For the last 10 years of her nursing career, Mrs. Brown worked as a flight nurse with an air ambulance service. During this time, she cared for patients throughout the United States.