HALOPERIDOL- haloperidol lactate injection, solution
(For Immediate Release)
Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis — Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Analyses of seventeen placebo-controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks), largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times the risk of death in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared to a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature. Observational studies suggest that, similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs, treatment with conventional antipsychotic drugs may increase mortality. The extent to which the findings of increased mortality in observational studies may be attributed to the antipsychotic drug as opposed to some characteristic(s) of the patients is not clear. Haloperidol Injection, USP is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis (see WARNINGS ).
Haloperidol is the first of the butyrophenone series of major antipsychotics. The chemical designation is 4-[4-(p-chlorophenyl)-4-hydroxypiperidino]- 4’-fluorobutyrophenone and it has the following structural formula:
Haloperidol Injection, USP is available as a sterile parenteral form for intramuscular injection. The injection provides 5 mg haloperidol (as the lactate) with 1.8 mg methylparaben and 0.2 mg propylparaben per mL, and lactic acid for pH adjustment between 3.0 to 3.8.
The precise mechanism of action has not been clearly established.
Haloperidol injection is indicated for use in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Haloperidol is indicated for the control of tics and vocal utterances of Tourette’s Disorder.
Haloperidol injection is contraindicated in severe toxic central nervous system depression or comatose states from any cause and in individuals who are hypersensitive to this drug or have Parkinson’s disease.
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Haloperidol injection is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis (see BOXED WARNING ).
Cases of sudden death, QT-prolongation, and Torsades de Pointes have been reported in patients receiving haloperidol injection. Higher than recommended doses of any formulation and intravenous administration of haloperidol injection appear to be associated with a higher risk of QT-prolongation and Torsades de Pointes. Although cases have been reported even in the absence of predisposing factors, particular caution is advised in treating patients with other QT-prolonging conditions (including electrolyte imbalance [particularly hypokalemia and hypomagnesemia], drugs known to prolong QT, underlying cardiac abnormalities, hypothyroidism, and familial long QT-syndrome). HALOPERIDOL INJECTION IS NOT APPROVED FOR INTRAVENOUS ADMINISTRATION. If haloperidol injection is administered intravenously, the ECG should be monitored for QT-prolongation and arrhythmias.
A syndrome consisting of potentially irreversible, involuntary, dyskinetic movements may develop in patients treated with antipsychotic drugs (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Although the prevalence of the syndrome appears to be highest among the elderly, especially elderly women, it is impossible to rely upon prevalence estimates to predict, at the inception of antipsychotic treatment, which patients are likely to develop the syndrome. Whether antipsychotic drug products differ in their potential to cause tardive dyskinesia is unknown.
Both the risk of developing tardive dyskinesia and the likelihood that it will become irreversible are believed to increase as the duration of treatment and the total cumulative dose of antipsychotic drugs administered to the patient increase. However, the syndrome can develop, although much less commonly, after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses.
There is no known treatment for established cases of tardive dyskinesia, although the syndrome may remit, partially or completely, if antipsychotic treatment is withdrawn. Antipsychotic treatment, itself, however, may suppress (or partially suppress) the signs and symptoms of the syndrome and thereby may possibly mask the underlying process. The effect that symptomatic suppression has upon the long-term course of the syndrome is unknown.
Given these considerations, antipsychotic drugs should be prescribed in a manner that is most likely to minimize the occurrence of tardive dyskinesia. Chronic antipsychotic treatment should generally be reserved for patients who suffer from a chronic illness that, 1) is known to respond to antipsychotic drugs, and, 2) for whom alternative, equally effective, but potentially less harmful treatments are not available or appropriate. In patients who do require chronic treatment, the smallest dose and the shortest duration of treatment producing a satisfactory clinical response should be sought. The need for continued treatment should be reassessed periodically.
If signs and symptoms of tardive dyskinesia appear in a patient on antipsychotics, drug discontinuation should be considered. However, some patients may require treatment despite the presence of the syndrome.
A potentially fatal symptom complex sometimes referred to as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) has been reported in association with antipsychotic drugs (see
ADVERSE REACTIONS). Clinical manifestations of NMS are hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status (including catatonic signs) and evidence of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and cardiac dysrhythmias). Additional signs may include elevated creatine phosphokinase, myoglobinuria (rhabdomyolysis) and acute renal failure.
The diagnostic evaluation of patients with this syndrome is complicated. In arriving at a diagnosis, it is important to identify cases where the clinical presentation includes both serious medical illness (e.g., pneumonia, systemic infection, etc.) and untreated or inadequately treated extrapyramidal signs and symptoms. Other important considerations in the differential diagnosis include central anticholinergic toxicity, heat stroke, drug fever and primary central nervous system (CNS) pathology.
The management of NMS should include 1) immediate discontinuation of antipsychotic drugs and other drugs not essential to concurrent therapy, 2) intensive symptomatic treatment and medical monitoring, and 3) treatment of any concomitant serious medical problems for which specific treatments are available. There is no general agreement about specific pharmacological treatment regimens for uncomplicated NMS.
If a patient requires antipsychotic drug treatment after recovery from NMS, the potential reintroduction of drug therapy should be carefully considered. The patient should be carefully monitored, since recurrences of NMS have been reported.
Hyperpyrexia and heat stroke, not associated with the above symptom complex, have also been reported with haloperidol.
Generally, patients receiving short-term therapy experience no problems with abrupt discontinuation of antipsychotic drugs. However, some patients on maintenance treatment experience transient dyskinetic signs after abrupt withdrawal. In certain of these cases the dyskinetic movements are indistinguishable from tardive dyskinesia (see WARNINGS, Tardive Dyskinesia) except for duration. It is not known whether gradual withdrawal of antipsychotic drugs will reduce the rate of occurrence of withdrawal emergent neurological signs but until further evidence becomes available, it seems reasonable to gradually withdraw use of Haloperidol injection (see WARNINGS, Usage in Pregnancy ).
Motor instability, somnolence, and orthostatic hypotension have been reported with the use of antipsychotics, including haloperidol, which may lead to falls and, consequently, fractures or other fall-related injuries. For patients, particularly the elderly, with diseases, conditions, or medications that could exacerbate these effects, assess the risk of falls when initiating antipsychotic treatment and recurrently for patients receiving repeated doses.
Rodents given 2 to 20 times the usual maximum human dose of haloperidol by oral or parenteral routes showed an increase in incidence of resorption, reduced fertility, delayed delivery and pup mortality. No teratogenic effect has been reported in rats, rabbits or dogs at dosages within this range, but cleft palate has been observed in mice given 15 times the usual maximum human dose. Cleft palate in mice appears to be a nonspecific response to stress or nutritional imbalance as well as to a variety of drugs, and there is no evidence to relate this phenomenon to predictable human risk for most of these agents.
There are no well controlled studies with haloperidol injection in pregnant women. There are reports, however, of cases of limb malformations observed following maternal use of haloperidol along with other drugs which have suspected teratogenic potential during the first trimester of pregnancy. Causal relationships were not established in these cases. Since such experience does not exclude the possibility of fetal damage due to haloperidol, this drug should be used during pregnancy or in women likely to become pregnant only if the benefit clearly justifies a potential risk to the fetus. Infants should not be nursed during drug treatment.
Neonates exposed to antipsychotic drugs (including haloperidol) during the third trimester of pregnancy are at risk for extrapyramidal and/or withdrawal symptoms following delivery. There have been reports of agitation, hypertonia, hypotonia, tremor, somnolence, respiratory distress, and feeding disorder in these neonates. These complications have varied in severity; while in some cases symptoms have been self-limited, in other cases neonates have required intensive care unit support and prolonged hospitalization.
Haloperidol should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
An encephalopathic syndrome (characterized by weakness, lethargy, fever, tremulousness and confusion, extrapyramidal symptoms, leukocytosis, elevated serum enzymes, BUN, and fasting blood sugar) followed by irreversible brain damage has occurred in a few patients treated with lithium plus haloperidol. A causal relationship between these events and the concomitant administration of lithium and haloperidol has not been established; however, patients receiving such combined therapy should be monitored closely for early evidence of neurological toxicity and treatment discontinued promptly if such signs appear.
A number of cases of bronchopneumonia, some fatal, have followed the use of antipsychotic drugs, including haloperidol. It has been postulated that lethargy and decreased sensation of thirst due to central inhibition may lead to dehydration, hemoconcentration and reduced pulmonary ventilation. Therefore, if the above signs and symptoms appear, especially in the elderly, the physician should institute remedial therapy promptly.
Although not reported with haloperidol, decreased serum cholesterol and/or cutaneous and ocular changes have been reported in patients receiving chemically-related drugs.
Class Effect: In clinical trial and/or postmarketing experience, events of leukopenia/neutropenia have been reported temporally related to antipsychotic agents, including haloperidol. Agranulocytosis has also been reported.
Possible risk factors for leukopenia/neutropenia include pre-existing low white blood cell count (WBC) and history of drug-induced leukopenia/neutropenia. Patients with a history of a clinically significant low WBC or a drug-induced leukopenia/neutropenia should have their complete blood count (CBC) monitored frequently during the first few months of therapy and discontinuation of haloperidol should be considered at the first sign of a clinically significant decline in WBC in the absence of other causative factors.
Patients with clinically significant neutropenia should be carefully monitored for fever or other symptoms or signs of infection and treated promptly if such symptoms or signs occur. Patients with severe neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count <1000/mm 3) should discontinue haloperidol and have their WBC followed until recovery.
Haloperidol injection should be administered cautiously to patients:
- with severe cardiovascular disorders, because of the possibility of transient hypotension and/or precipitation of anginal pain. Should hypotension occur and a vasopressor be required, epinephrine should not be used since haloperidol may block its vasopressor activity and paradoxical further lowering of the blood pressure may occur. Instead, metaraminol, phenylephrine or norepinephrine should be used.
- receiving anticonvulsant medications, with a history of seizures, or with EEG abnormalities, because haloperidol may lower the convulsive threshold. If indicated, adequate anticonvulsant therapy should be concomitantly maintained.
- with known allergies, or with a history of allergic reactions to drugs.
- receiving anticoagulants, since an isolated instance of interference occurred with the effects of one anticoagulant (phenindione).
When haloperidol is used to control mania in cyclic disorders, there may be a rapid mood swing to depression.
Severe neurotoxicity (rigidity, inability to walk or talk) may occur in patients with thyrotoxicosis who are also receiving antipsychotic medication, including haloperidol.
Drug-drug interactions can be pharmacodynamic (combined pharmacologic effects) or pharmacokinetic (alteration of plasma levels). The risks of using haloperidol in combination with other drugs have been evaluated as described below.
Since QT-prolongation has been observed during haloperidol treatment, caution is advised when prescribing to a patient with QT-prolongation conditions (long QT-syndrome, hypokalemia, electrolyte imbalance) or to patients receiving medications known to prolong the QT-interval or known to cause electrolyte imbalance.
If concomitant antiparkinson medication is required, it may have to be continued after haloperidol is discontinued because of the difference in excretion rates. If both are discontinued simultaneously, extrapyramidal symptoms may occur. The physician should keep in mind the possible increase in intraocular pressure when anticholinergic drugs, including antiparkinson agents, are administered concomitantly with haloperidol.
As with other antipsychotic agents, it should be noted that haloperidol may be capable of potentiating CNS depressants such as anesthetics, opiates and alcohol.
Ketoconazole is a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4. Increases in QTc have been observed when haloperidol was given in combination with the metabolic inhibitors ketoconazole (400 mg/day) and paroxetine (20 mg/day). It may be necessary to reduce the haloperidol dosage.
The Effect of Other Drugs on Haloperidol
Haloperidol is metabolized by several routes, including the glucuronidation and the cytochrome P450 enzyme system. Inhibition of these routes of metabolism by another drug may result in increased haloperidol concentrations and potentially increase the risk of certain adverse events, including QT-prolongation.
Drugs Characterized as Substrates, Inhibitors or Inducers of CYP3A4, CYP2D6 or Glucuronidation
In pharmacokinetic studies, mild to moderately increased haloperidol concentrations have been reported when haloperidol was given concomitantly with drugs characterized as substrates or inhibitors of CYP3A4 or CYP2D6 isoenzymes, such as itraconazole, nefazodone, buspirone, venlafaxine, alprazolam, fluvoxamine, quinidine, fluoxetine, sertraline, chlorpromazine, and promethazine.
When prolonged treatment (1 to 2 weeks) with enzyme-inducing drugs such as rifampin or carbamazepine is added to haloperidol therapy, this results in a significant reduction of haloperidol plasma levels.
In a study of 12 schizophrenic patients coadministered oral haloperidol and rifampin, plasma haloperidol levels were decreased by a mean of 70% and mean scores on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale were increased from baseline. In 5 other schizophrenic patients treated with haloperidol and rifampin, discontinuation of rifampin produced a mean 3.3-fold increase in haloperidol concentrations.
In a study in 11 schizophrenic patients co-administered haloperidol and increasing doses of carbamazepine, haloperidol plasma concentrations decreased linearly with increasing carbamazepine concentrations.
Thus, careful monitoring of clinical status is warranted when enzyme inducing drugs such as rifampin or carbamazepine are administered or discontinued in haloperidol-treated patients. During combination treatment, the haloperidol dose should be adjusted, when necessary. After discontinuation of such drugs, it may be necessary to reduce the dosage of haloperidol.
Sodium valproate, a drug known to inhibit glucuronidation, does not affect haloperidol plasma concentrations.
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