A Labeling Change for Haldol
It is unfortunate that reports of sudden death and dangerous cardiovascular events have now been linked to Johnson & Johnson's neuroleptic Haldol. This medication has benefited a great many individuals suffering from psychoses throughout its long shelf life.
Drug companies, under the watchful eye of the FDA, test their new medications vigorously, and as completely as possible, under strict protocols. The nature of the testing performed, and the duration and patient populations for this testing, all vary in accordance with the confluence of a lot of different considerations. A great deal of analysis is performed to obtain the maximum amount of information from the data these protocols produce.
One of the facts of life is that it is not practical, and most cases not even possible, to test drugs over very long terms to ferret out latent affects. Inevitably, some drugs are found after many years of beneficial use by thousands of patients to have undesirable affects in the long term.
In all cases, treating patients with severe psychoses (or other mental illnesses) with medications carries some measure of risk. The relevant question that all patients and their psychiatrists must determine in consultation together is whether or not the known benefits of using a particular medication today exceeds the potential for undesirable consequences in the long term.