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September 1988

Persistence of Haloperidol in the Brain

Author Affiliations

Mailman Research Center McLean Hospital 115 Mill St Belmont, MA 02178

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(9):879-880. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800330113019

To the Editor.—  A growing body of evidence suggests that the effects of neuroleptic drugs may persist long after termination of treatment. Side effects, including the life-threatening neuroleptic malignant syndrome,1 have been reported to last for days to weeks after medication is discontinued,2,3 and clinical relapse, even in chronically ill patients, may not occur for weeks or months after administration of the drug is stopped.4 A parallel phenomenon is evident in animals: rats given single, moderate doses of haloperidol exhibited signs of central dopaminergic blockade (antagonism of apomorphine) for at least 30 days after treatment.5 It is not known whether these extended effects of neuroleptics are due to continued presence of drug in tissue or to long-lasting physiologic changes that are a consequence of exposure to drug.Plasma elimination half-lives for neuroleptics in humans and rats are reported typically to be about 24 hours.4 This

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