, Volume 106, Issue 3, pp 289–296 | Cite as

Reduced haloperidol: a factor in determining the therapeutic benefit of haloperidol treatment?

  • Wen-Ho Chang


One of the metabolic pathways of haloperidol (HAL) is the reduction of the molecule at the benzylic ketone to form an alcohol metabolite, known as reduced HAL (RHAL). The basic and clinical pharmacology of RHAL is the subject of this review. The investigation of RHAL in biological samples has been suggested to be important, as the reduced metabolite can be reconverted back to the parent drug and is shown to be 20–50% as potent as HAL in some in vivo neuroleptic tests. Nevertheless, the metabolic reduction/oxidation cycle of the drug is unbalanced. The interconversion process largely favours the reduction of HAL to RHAL but not vice versa. The RHAL/HAL ratios are dose and time dependent. The higher the dose or the longer the duration of treatment, the greater the ratio. The results concerning relationship between plasma RHAL level or RHAL/HAL ratio and clinical response are inconsistent, yet interesting. Some studies in schizophrenic patients have suggested a diminished therapeutic response to HAL when elevated plasma RHAL concentrations or RHAL/HAL ratios are presented. However, this finding has not been replicated by other investigations. Possible interference by RHAL with HAL at dopamine receptors thus reducing the effectiveness of HAL treatment has been suggested by some authors. Measurements of RHAL as well as HAL plasma concentrations for evaluating drug level-clinical response might be necessary in psychiatric patients.

Key words

Reduced haloperidol Haloperidol Plasma concentrations Drug metabolism Pharmacokinetics Schizophrenia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wen-Ho Chang
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Biological PsychiatryTaipei City Psychiatric CenterTaipeiTaiwan 10510, Republic of China

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