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What is Haldol?

Updated on June 14, 2010
Haldol decanoate is given by intramuscular injection.
Haldol decanoate is given by intramuscular injection.


Haldol is an antipsychotic medication used to treat hallucinations associated with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, Tourette's disorder, bipolar disorder, and depression. Haldol was previously used to treat dementia-related psychosis, but the use of Haldol in such cases has been linked to a slightly higher than average risk of potential fatal side effects of Haldol among elderly patients. Though Haldol is a potent medication, it can be a lifesaver for those who struggle with hallucinations.

What is Haldol? The generic name of Haldol is Haloperidol. Tablet and liquid forms of Haldol are available by prescription. Haldol decanoate is the form of the medication used for Haldol injections. Patients receiving Haldol injections typically receive a monthly injection from the physician or at a clinic or hospital. Oral forms of Haldol are generally preferred. The Haldol injections may be used temporarily for acute situations. I've seen Haldol injections used when someone is unable to take the oral form of the medication on a daily basis. Haldol dosages can vary greatly among patients and conditions.

Haldol may eliminate or decrease the severity and frequency of hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations are auditory, visual, or olfactory perception of things that are not real. For example, hearing voices is how auditory hallucinations are often described. Delusions are false beliefs that defy logic and reality. A person experiencing delusions may believe they are someone else, that everyone is after them, or that they have superpowers.

As you can probably imagine, hallucinations and delusions are extremely difficult to live with. The person may experience breaks from these psychotic symptoms and be frustrated and distraught that they had such misperceptions. It's a tremendously difficult thing when you can't trust your own mind.

People experiencing hallucinations or delusions may want to discuss Haldol and other possible treatments with their physicians. Haldol is not for everyone. People who have Parkinson's disease might not be able to take Haldol. Haldol is not recommended for people who have seizures, heart problems, glaucoma, a low white blood cell count, or an overactive thyroid.

Not everyone responds to medications the same way. Some people may have little to no side effects of Haldol while others may sleep for days after receiving a Haldol injection or develop a potentially dangerous Haldol side effect. For information about side effects, please see my article:  Haldol Side Effects.



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