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Haloperidol Blood Test

Last updated May 26, 2019

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

The Haloperidol Blood Test is used to determine the levels of haloperidol in blood.

What are other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Haldol Blood Test

What is Haloperidol Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Haloperidol, also known as haldol, is an antipsychotic medication that is used to treat psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and psychoses. Other commonly prescribed antipsychotics include lithium and clozapine
  • Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder characterized by hallucinations, social withdrawal, and extreme agitation. The cause of schizophrenia is generally unknown
  • Bipolar disorder is characterized by bouts of either extreme depression or mania lasting anywhere from days to years. Causes remain largely unknown, though certain genetic associations have been identified
  • The mechanisms by which antipsychotic medications work are largely unknown. One possibility is that they alter the import and export of sodium by neurons, such that the breakdown of stress hormones increases
  • Levels of haloperidol must be kept within a certain range to prevent certain unwanted side effects. If the levels are too high, it may result in toxicity; if the levels are too low, the drug may not be able to successfully treat psychiatric conditions
  • The Haloperidol Blood Test is used to determine the levels of haloperidol in blood. It is used while adjusting the initial dose, and to ensure that the drug level stays within an acceptable range

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Haloperidol Blood Test?

The clinical indications for performing the Haloperidol Blood Test include monitoring antipsychotic therapy.

How is the Specimen Collected for Haloperidol Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Haloperidol Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Haloperidol Blood Test Result?

The significance of the Haloperidol Blood Test result is explained.

  • A high value (greater than 50 ng/mL) for the test may indicate haloperidol toxicity, which is marked by:
    • Vomiting
    • Elevated blood pressure
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Seizures
    • Stupor
    • Nausea
    • Anxiety 
  • A low value (less than 3 ng/mL) for the test may indicate more haloperidol is needed to achieve a therapeutic dose

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Schizophrenia is strongly associated with suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Individuals exhibiting these tendencies should contact a healthcare professional right away
  • Clozapine is mainly used when more classical schizophrenia and bipolar disorder medications, such as haloperidol, cannot be used
  • Schizophrenia affects roughly 3 million people in the US, or 1% of the total population

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

The following DoveMed website links are useful resources for additional information:





Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: March 30, 2016
Last updated: May 26, 2019