- Mental Health
Haldol Side Effects
The antipsychotic medication Haldol is used to treat psychosis that may be caused by illnesses such as schizophrenia, severe depression, and dementia. Many people consider Haldol to be an extremely potent drug, but it can be more helpful than harmful for some patients who struggle with hallucinations or delusions. Haldol side effects can vary from no side effects for some people to bothersome and even potentially fatal side effects.
One of the most common side effects of Haldol is sleepiness. The sleepiness can range from mild drowsiness to hypersomnia or needing to sleep for extended periods of time. Sleep disturbances, dizziness, and difficulty urinating are common side effects. Headaches and increased anxiety are possible. Increased heart rate, low blood pressure, and high blood pressure are possible Haldol side effects.
Women taking Haldol may experience changes in their menstruation, difficulty becoming pregnant, and the presence of breast milk. Men may have sexual side effects, enlarged breasts, and a low sperm count.
All psychotic medications have the risk of tardive dyskinesia. Tardive dyskinesia is characterized by involuntary movement or trembling. The signs of tardive dyskinesia often appear in the face or jaw but may also cause involuntary twitching of muscles in the arms, legs, or trunk. Any patients experiencing this possible Haldol side effect should notify their doctors since tardive dyskinesia can be permanent.
Any patients who experience fever, increased sweating, fast heart beat, irregular heartbeat, muscle stiffness, or severe confusion should seek emergency medical attention immediately because these symptoms can be signs of a potentially dangerous side effect called neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Patients should also get emergency medical attention if they develop chest pain or fainting.
Emergency medical treatment is also necessary if the patient shows signs of an allergic reaction to Haldol which include itchiness, rash, swelling, trouble breathing, or severe dizziness. People who are taking Haldol and experience nausea, vomiting, yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin, abdominal pain, fever, dark urine, or persistent sore throat should notify their doctors immediately about these Haldol side effects.
Some side effects go away with a minor adjustment in the Haldol dosage. People should discuss any side effects with their doctors to determine if a change in dosage or medication is best. For more information about Haldol, please see my article: What is Haldol?