The American journal of hospice & palliative care

Role of haloperidol in palliative medicine: an update.

PMID 21998445


Haloperidol is a butyrophenone neuroleptic agent characterized as a high-affinity dopamine antagonist, originally used for the treatment of schizophrenia. Awareness of the role dopamine plays in many symptoms in palliative care, such as nausea, vomiting, and delirium, has led to the use of dopamine antagonists such as haloperidol for the treatment of these symptoms in the palliative care setting. Listed as 1 of the 25 important drugs in palliative care, haloperidol can be administered by multiple routes and can be given without dose alteration in the setting of both renal and hepatic insufficiency. Haloperidol is extensively metabolized in the liver, with CYP3A4 the chief cytochrome oxidase responsible for metabolism. This article will review the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and current uses of haloperidol in palliative medicine. There will be an examination of the evidence base for the use of haloperidol in palliative medicine.

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