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Hypotension and Cardiopulmonary Arrest Associated With Concurrent Haloperidol and Propranolol Therapy

Harold E. Alexander Jr, MD; Kathleen McCarty, MD; Martin B. Giffen, MD
JAMA. 1984;252(1):87-88. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350010053025.
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HALOPERIDOL exerts its antipsychotic effect presumably through potent blockade of central dopamine receptors1 and has caused hypotension in some patients.2 Propranolol hydrochloride is a β-adrenergic receptor blocking drug that is widely used in treating hypertension. A review of the literature does not disclose adverse effects in patients from a combination of haloperidol and propranolol. We report herein a patient who had three episodes of hypotension and two episodes of cardiopulmonary arrest after taking concurrent oral doses of haloperidol and propranolol.

Report of a Case  A 48-year-old white woman with a 27-year history of schizophrenia was first admitted to our hospital in 1980. At that time, the patient was treated with haloperidol, 20 mg/day, for an acute exacerbation of her illness. Her symptoms resolved rapidly. The patient was also noted to have hypertension and was treated with a low-sodium diet and with trichlormethiazide, 4 mg/day, which controlled her hypertension. In


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