Droperidol is a tranquilizer that is often administered prior to surgery in order to control nausea and vomiting. It is also sometimes administered prior to diagnostic tests in order to prevent the patient from vomiting.
This medication should not be taken along with other sedatives, including alcohol, because of the risk of overdose of tranquilizing agents. The medication can cause drowsiness when taken by itself; when taken with other depressants, it can cause the heart and lungs to slow down. This can sometimes be fatal.
Patients who take this medication risk a potentially fatal reaction called neuroleptic malignant syndrome. This reaction is characterized by muscle rigidity, fever, sweating and difficulty with cognition. Patients need emergency medical treatment if they experience these symptoms.
Patients who suffer from heart arrhythmias should not take this drug; it can make the heart beat more irregularly, which can be fatal for these patients.