Haloperidol Side Effects

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Haloperidol is an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia, mania and other forms of psychosis. It acts by blocking the effects of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that affects thinking, behavior and feelings. Several possible side effects are associated with the use of this neuroleptic drug.

Some of these include:

  • Cardiovascular effects such as prolonged QT interval and Torsades de pointes.
  • Effects on the skin and hair include seborrheic dermatitis, acne, alopecia, urticaria, hyperhidrosis and contact sensitivity.
  • Effects on the reproductive system include male breast enlargement (gynecomastia), amenorrhea, erectile dysfunction, failed ejaculation and irregular menstruation.
  • Gastrointestinal side effects include abdominal pain, dry mouth, constipation, inability to swallow (dysphagia), nausea, swollen tongue and paralytic ileus (slowed peristalsis in the gut).
  • In rare cases, jaundice and hepatitis occur as adverse effects.
  • Musculoskeletal and connective tissue effects include back pain, muscle rigidity, stiff joints, weak muscles and pain in the extremities.
  • Anticholinergic side effects include dry mouth, constipation and blurred vision.
  • Respiratory system effects include dry throat, respiratory distress, nasal congestion, upper respiratory tract congestion, wheezing and laryngospasm.
  • Effects on the nervous system include parkinsonism, dysarthria, dyskinesia, dystonia, convulsion, drooling, sedation, lethargy, tremor and tics.
  • Adverse psychiatric effects include anxiety, insomnia, delirium, depression, panic attack, restlessness, nervousness and agitation.

Reviewed by , BSc

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jul 30, 2014

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