An assessment for an underlying cause of behavior is needed before prescribing antipsychotic medication for symptoms of dementia .  Antipsychotics in old age dementia showed a modest benefit compared to placebo in managing aggression or psychosis, but this is combined with a fairly large increase in serious adverse events. Thus, antipsychotics should not be used routinely to treat dementia with aggression or psychosis, but may be an option in a few cases where there is severe distress or risk of physical harm to others.  Psychosocial interventions may reduce the need for antipsychotics. 
Haloperidol is a typical butyrophenone type antipsychotic that exhibits high affinity dopamine D 2 receptor antagonism and slow receptor dissociation kinetics.  It has effects similar to the phenothiazines .  The drug binds preferentially to D 2 and α 1 receptors at low dose (ED 50 = and mg/kg, respectively), and 5-HT 2 receptors at a higher dose (ED 50 = mg/kg). Given that antagonism of D 2 receptors is more beneficial on the positive symptoms of schizophrenia and antagonism of 5-HT 2 receptors on the negative symptoms, this characteristic underlies haloperidol's greater effect on delusions, hallucinations and other manifestations of psychosis.  Haloperidol's negligible affinity for histamine H 1 receptors and muscarinic M 1 acetylcholine receptors yields an antipsychotic with a lower incidence of sedation, weight gain, and orthostatic hypotension though having higher rates of treatment emergent extrapyramidal symptoms .
At the request of the Pharmacovigilance Department of the Italian Drug Agency (AIFA), the sponsor (Johnson & Johnson) performed two post-marketing analyses of QT interval prolongation and TdP with haloperidol administration (oral or injectable). In one analysis, the sponsor searched their Benefit Risk Management worldwide safety database for QT prolongation -related adverse event reports received through June 30, 2005. This search identified 229 reports, many of which the sponsor described as confounded by concomitant QT-prolonging drugs or medical conditions. The reports included 73 cases of TdP, eleven of which were fatal. Eight of the eleven fatal cases involved intravenous administration of various doses of haloperidol.