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Haloperidol (Haldol®)

By: Dr. Nicholas Dodman

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Overview

  • Haloperidol is a highly potent neuroleptic. It blocks dopamine receptors in the central nervous system.
  • The drug is often used as a premedicant to calm patients down prior to receiving anesthesia. Related drugs include acepromazine.
  • Haloperidol belongs to a class of neuroleptics known as butyrophenones.
  • Haloperidol is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Haldol® (McNeil Pharaceutical) and various generic preparations
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Haloperidol

  • Haloperidol has been used to calm dogs prior to administration of general anesthesia.
  • It has met with limited success in the treatment of aggression and other behavioral disorders.
  • In cats, haloperidol has been tried for the treatment of some forms of epilepsy.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, haloperidol causes serious side effects in some animals.
  • Haloperidol should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Haloperidol should not be used in comatose or depressed animals.
  • Elderly patients should receive only low doses and monitored closely for signs of central nervous system depression/sedation.
  • Although useful in controlling some kinds of seizures, higher doses of haloperidol can actually trigger other kinds of seizures in previously controlled epileptic patients.
  • Behaviorally, haloperidol may cause confusion and agitation in some patients.
  • Haloperidol lowers blood pressure.
  • Haloperidol may interact with some medications. Consult your veterinarian to determine if other medications your pet is receiving could interact with haloperidol. Such drugs include tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitriptyline and clomipramine).

    How Haloperidol is Supplied

  • Haloperidol is available as 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg tablets.
  • It is also available as an injection at concentrations of 2 mg per ml and 5 mg per ml.
  • A long-acting form is available in 50 and 100 mg per ml concentrations.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • Typical doses employed in dogs and cats range from 0.1 to 2 mg per pound (0.2 to 2.0 mg/kg) orally or by injection. However, an accurate dose for haloperidol has not been well established in companion animals.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian.




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