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Droperidol (Systemic)

Brand Names

In the U.S.-

  • Inapsine

In Canada-

  • Inapsine


  • Anesthesia, adjunct
  • antiemetic
  • antipsychotic


Droperidol ( droe-PER-i-dole) is used to reduce the amount of nausea and vomiting you may have after surgery or other procedures.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form(s):

  • Injection (U.S. and Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of using the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For droperidol, the following should be considered:

Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to droperidol, haloperidol, or similar medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy- Droperidol has been used in some pregnant patients. There was no increase in premature births or birth defects when droperidol was used. Droperidol has been used in patients undergoing cesarean section. Newborn babies whose mothers received droperidol did not have an increase in breathing problems.

Breast-feeding- Droperidol passes into breast milk. Breast-feeding is not recommended while you are receiving droperidol.

Children- Droperidol has not been studied in children up to 2 years of age. There is no specific information comparing the use of droperidol in children with use in other age groups. However, based on experience with similar drugs, children may be more likely than older patients to experience side effects after receiving droperidol, such as muscle spasms in the tongue, face, neck, and back, and inability to move the eyes.

Older adults- Older patients may be more likely than younger adult patients to experience dizziness and excessive sleepiness from droperidol. Older patients may also have problems with unusual heartbeats from droperidol

Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking droperidol, it is especially important that your doctor and pharmacist know if you are taking any of the following:

  • Benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium, Xanax) or
  • Diuretics (e.g., Hydrochlorothiazide, Lasix) or
  • General anesthetics or
  • Intravenous opiates (e.g., Demerol, Morphine)-Droperidol used with these medicines may cause serious heart problems

Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of droperidol. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
  • Age over 65 or
  • Alcoholism or
  • Congestive heart failure or
  • Enlargement of the heart or
  • Hypokalemia (too little potassium in the blood) or
  • Hypomagnesemia (too little magnesium in the blood) or
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Slow heartbeat-Droperidol may increase the risk of irregular heartbeats
  • Epilepsy-The risk of seizures may be increased
  • Heart disease or
  • Mental depression or
  • Parkinsonism-Droperidol may worsen these conditions
  • Hypovolemia-The risk of dizziness may be increased
  • Liver disease-The risk of side effects may be increased
  • Pheochromocytoma-High blood pressure and rapid heart rate may occur

Proper Use of This Medicine


The dose of droperidol will be different for different patients. Your health care professional will decide on the right amount for you, depending on:

  • Your age;
  • Your general physical condition;
  • The reason you are receiving droperidol; and
  • Other medicines you are taking or will receive before or after droperidol is given.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

For patients going home within a few hours after surgery:

  • Droperidol and other medicines that may be given during surgery may cause some people to feel drowsy, tired, or weak for up to a few days afterwards. Therefore, for at least 24 hours (or longer if necessary) after receiving this medicine, do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or are not alert.
  • Unless otherwise directed by your medical doctor, do not drink alcoholic beverages or take other central nervous system (CNS) depressants (medicines that slow down the nervous system, possibly causing drowsiness) for about 24 hours after you have received this medicine. To do so may add to the effects of droperidol. Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies, or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; barbiturates; medicine for seizures; and muscle relaxants.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Less common
    • Anxiety;  high blood pressure;  restlessness 

  • Rare
    • Fainting;  fever;  fixed upward position of the eyeballs;  irregular or slow heart rate;  spasm of the muscles of the tongue, face, neck, and back;  sudden death 

Side effects are possible for one or two days after you receive droperidol. During this period of time, check with your doctor if you notice any of the side effects listed above.

  • Symptoms of overdose
    • Dizziness;  fixed upward position of the eyeballs;  restlessness;  slowed breathing;  spasm of the muscles of the tongue, face, neck, and back 

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

  • More common
    • Drowsiness;  lightheadedness;  rapid heart rate 

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Additional Information

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, droperidol is used

  • In certain patients with severe agitation and combativeness
  • To produce sleepiness or drowsiness before surgery or certain procedures

For patients receiving this medicine for severe agitation and combativeness, the dose administered will depend on the degree of agitation and the size of the patient.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT