Your child needs to take the medicine called haloperidol acetate (say: ha-loe-PER-i-dole). This information sheet explains what haloperidol acetate does, how to give it, and what side effects or problems your child may have when she takes this medicine.

What is haloperidol acetate?

Haloperidol is a medicine with many uses. The reason it is prescribed depends on your child’s medical condition. It's used to treat psychotic behaviour, severe hyperactivity, agitation, Tourette’s Syndrome, and autism.

How should I give my child haloperidol acetate?

Follow these instructions when giving your child haloperidol:

  • Give your child this medicine by putting the liquid form into a small amount of milk, water, soft drink, or fruit juice. Do not put it into tea or coffee. Use the special spoon or syringe your pharmacist gave you to measure the dose.
  • Give your child this medicine with water or other liquid if the medication is in tablet form. You may crush and mix tablets with liquid or a small amount of food.
  • Give your child this medicine with food or milk if it causes an upset stomach.
  • Give your child this medicine regularly, exactly as your doctor or pharmacist tells you to. Avoid missing doses by giving the medicine at the same time each day. Talk to your child’s doctor before you stop giving this medicine for any reason. Make sure you have enough medicine on hand to last through weekends, holidays, or vacations.
  • Note: This medication may also be given in a syringe with a needle by your child’s nurse or doctor.

What should I do if my child misses a dose of haloperidol acetate?

If your child misses a dose of the medicine:

  • Give your child the missed dose as soon as you remember.
  • If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose.
  • Give your child the next dose at the regular time.

What are the possible side effects of haloperidol acetate?

Call your doctor if your child continues to have any of the following:

  • light headedness
  • drowsiness
  • changes in menstrual period
  • blurred vision
  • swelling or pain in breast
  • dry mouth
  • trouble with bowel movement (constipation)
  • weight gain

Call your doctor as soon as possible if your child develops:

  • muscle spasms of neck and back
  • difficulty urinating
  • jerky movements of body
  • shuffling walk
  • trembling fingers and hands
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • difficulty speaking/swallowing

Call your child’s doctor right away or take her to the nearest Emergency Department if she has any of these side effects:

  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • a high fever
  • difficult or fast breathing
  • seizures (convulsions)
  • unusual loss of bladder control
  • severe muscle stiffness
  • change in heart beat (faster, slower, or uneven)

What other important information should I know about haloperidol acetate?

This medicine may take several days or weeks before it has a full effect.

Tell your child’s teacher that she is taking medicines that can cause drowsiness and decreased alertness.

If your child has a dry mouth, chewing sugarless gum, sipping cold water, or sucking sugarless candy or small pieces of ice may help.

Haloperidol may make your child’s skin more likely to sunburn. Your child must cover up with clothing and a hat or use a strong sunscreen when outdoors. Look for a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.

Although not a common problem in children, dizziness or lightheadedness or fainting may occur especially when your child gets up from a lying or sitting position. Getting up slowly may help.

This medicine will make your child sweat less, causing body temperature to increase. Ensure that your child does not become overheated during exercise or hot weather, since overheating may result in heat stroke. Hot baths may make your child feel dizzy or faint while on this medicine.

If your child is taking the liquid form of this medicine, avoid getting it on her skin because it may cause a rash or other irritation.

Keep all scheduled appointments with your child's doctor. Her doctor should check her progress at regular intervals, especially during the first few months of treatment with this medicine.

Check with your child’s doctor or pharmacist before you give her any other prescription or non-prescription medicine.

Before your child has any kind of surgery, dental treatment, or emergency treatment, tell the doctor or dentist in charge that she is taking this medicine.

Keep this medicine at room temperature. Store it away from heat and direct light.

Keep all medicines out of your child’s sight and reach.

If your child takes too much of any medicine, call the Ontario Poison Centre at one of these toll free numbers:

  • Call 416-813-5900 if you live in Toronto.
  • Call 1-800-268-9017 if you live somewhere else in Ontario.
  • If you live outside of Ontario, call your local Poison Information Centre.

Disclaimer: The information in this Family Med-aid is accurate at the time of printing. It provides a summary of information about haloperidol and does not contain all possible information about this medicine. Not all side effects are listed. If you have any questions or want more information about haloperidol, speak to your healthcare provider.

 Elaine Lau, BScPhm, PharmD, MSc, RPh