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 .
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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.