USA Generic NameHaloperidol
Pronunciation hal·daal
Trade (Brand) NamesHaldol, Haldol Decanoate, Haloperidol LA, Peridol
Invented byPaul A. J. Janssen
Date invented1958
Date FDA Approved1967

Geriatric IndicationsSchizophrenia, delirium, agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions
Geriatric Side EffectsParkinson’s, restlessness, stiffness, arrhythmia, QT prolongation, sexual dysfunction, hyperprolactinemia, seizures

Haldol is an antipsychotic used for schizophrenia, acute delirium, paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions. It can cause side effects like restlessness, muscle stiffness, and other symptoms of Parkinson’s. Its effects on the heart can lead to arrhythmia and QT prolongation (a condition that predisposes to irregular heart rhythm). Other side effects include sexual dysfunction, seizure, and symptoms of high prolactin levels (hyperprolactinemia).

Haldol has a long half-life meaning it stays in your body for a long time. Parkinson’s-like side effects are common with its use. It can cause new onset symptoms or can worsen existing Parkinson’s symptoms like stiffness, tremors, and walking difficulties. Therefore, it should be avoided in individuals with Parkinson’s or movement disorders.

The following is from Dr. Landsverk’s new book: Living in the Moment: A Guide to Overcoming Challenges and Finding Moments of Joy in Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias

‘Haloperidol (Haldol), an older medication, may alleviate delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia, but it causes extrapyramidal symptoms in 30 percent of those treated, also restlessness, walking problems, and general stiffness. This medication should also be avoided in patients with Parkinson’s disease; it is dangerous in that the person can become immobile. This drug stays in body fat for some time, so effects often linger even after the drug is discontinued.’

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