Side effect What is it? What should I do if it happens to me?
AKATHISIA You feel restless, unable to feel comfortable unless you
Tell your doctor about this. It may be possible to
change your drug or dose, or give you something to
reduce these feelings.
Feeling shaky or having a tremor. Your neck may twist
back. Your eyes and tongue may move on their own.
It is not usually dangerous. If it is bad or worries you,
tell your doctor. They can give you something for it.
Prolactin is a natural chemical we all have. High levels
can affect periods in women or cause impotence in
men. It may also cause breast tenderness and milk
secretion, in men as well as women.
This sometimes wears off in a few weeks, but discuss
this with your doctor anyway. It may be that a change in
dose or different drug will help.
Dry mouth. Not much saliva or spit. Sugar-free boiled sweets, chewing gum or eating citrus
fruits usually helps. If not, your doctor can give you a
mouth spray. A change in medicine or dose may be
Blurred vision Things look fuzzy and you can’t focus properly. See
your doctor if you are worried. You won’t need glasses.
Feeling "bunged up" inside. You can't pass a motion or
Eat more fibre e.g. bran, fruit and vegetables. Do more
walking. Make sure you drink plenty of fluid. A mild
laxative from a pharmacy might help.
Difficulty in passing urine Contact your doctor now.
DROWSINESS Feeling sleepy or sluggish. Don’t drive or use machinery. As your treatment
continues you should feel less drowsy.
HYPOTENSION A low blood pressure. You may feel faint when you
Try not to stand up too quickly. If you feel dizzy, don’t
drive. This dizziness is not dangerous
Finding it hard to have an orgasm. No desire for sex.
Men can become impotent.
Discuss this with your doctor when you next meet.
Injection site swells. It feels painful and lumpy. Report it to your nurse. Warm baths and regular
exercise like walking can help.
WEIGHT GAIN Eating more and putting on weight. Avoid fatty foods like chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks.
A diet full of vegetables and fibre will usually help, as
will physical activities such as walking. If it becomes a
problem or you are worried, ask to see a dietician.
RARE OR VERY RARE
NMS Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome includes a high body
temperature, muscle stiffness and being unable to
It usually occurs within a few weeks of a dose change.
Contact your doctor immediately. Keep cool, with fans
or cool water.
What about alcohol?
It is officially recommended that people taking haloperidol should not drink alcohol. This is because both haloperidol and
alcohol can cause drowsiness. If the two are taken at the same time, severe drowsiness can result. This can lead to falls or
accidents. As well as this, drinking alcohol often makes psychosis worse. Excessive drinking is especially likely to do this.
Once people are used to taking medication, they can sometimes drink alcohol in small amounts without any harm. Avoid
alcohol altogether for the first one or two months. After this, if you want a drink, try a glass of your normal drink and see
how you feel. If this doesn’t make you feel drowsy, then it is probably OK to drink small amounts. It pays to be very cautious
because alcohol affects people in different ways, especially when they are taking medication.
Don't stop taking your medication because you fancy a drink. Discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor,
pharmacist or nurse. If you do drink alcohol, drink only small amounts. Never drink any alcohol and drive.
Remember, leaflets like this can only describe some of the effects of medication. You may find other
books or leaflets also useful. If you have access to the internet you may find a lot of information
there as well, but be careful, as internet based information is not always accurate.
2001 United Kingdom Psychiatric Pharmacy Group www.ukppg.org.uk
This leaflet is to help you understand about your medicine. It is not an official manufacturer's Patient Information Leaflet.
For more information call the UKPPG National Telephone Helpline, 11am to 5pm, Monday to Friday on 020 7919 2999 or
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