ICU Sedation: Haloperidol (IV)
What is haloperidol?
Haloperidol (Haldol®) works in the brain to cause sedation (sleepiness, drowsiness) and decrease agitation. It has a calming effect and makes the patient feel more comfortable.
Why is haloperidol important?
Patients in an intensive care unit, especially ones who require a breathing machine (mechanical ventilator) to help their breathing, may be agitated and uncomfortable. Haloperidol can help decrease their agitation. Patients in the intensive care unit also may have difficulty sleeping. Haloperidol can increase sleep quality.
How will the patient look or feel on haloperidol?
The patient will look very relaxed and may look like they are sleeping. Depending on the dose of haloperidol needed, the patient may or may not be able to open thier eyes or respond to questions. The patient will feel calm and less anxious.
What are the side effects of haloperidol?
Haloperidol can cause dry mouth, constipation, and may cause a decrease in blood pressure. Rarely, haloperidol can cause abnormal heart rhythms. In some patients, this medication may cause abnormal movements of their arms, legs, or heads which will go away when the medication is stopped.
How long will haloperidol be continued?
The length of time the patient requires haloperidol will depend on his medical condition. The medical staff will regularly evaluate if the haloperidol is still needed.
If you have questions about haloperidol or other questions relating to the patient’s care, please ask the staff in the intensive care unit.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/14/2013
Copyright © 05/14/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5196
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