UMEM Educational Pearls


Take Home Point: In patients with diabetic gastroparesis, haloperidol may be an effective adjunctive treatment to prevent hospitalizations and reduce opioid requirements. 


In Depth:  

Study Design: single-center, retrospective review, case-matched to prior visit for gastroparesis  


  • 52 patients with previously diagnosed diabetic gastroparesis by gastric motility study who presented to the ED for gastroparesis treatment 


  • Haloperidol administered visit 

  • Haloperidol NOT administered visit (most recent visit, >7 days prior to haloperidol visit) 


  • Baseline characteristics: median age 32 (21-57), 62% (32/52) female 

  • Statistically significant reduction in hospital admissions for the haloperidol visit: (5/52 [10%] [CI 3-21%]) vs the non-haloperidol visit (14/52 [27%] [CI 16-41%]) p=0.02 

  • Statistically significant reduction in opioid administration during the haloperidol visit: 6.75 ME (IQR 7.93) vs 10.75 ME (IQR 12) p=0.009 

  • No difference in ED LOS, hospital LOS or need for additional antiemetics/prokinetics 

  • No dystonic reactions, akathesia, excessive sedation, or cardiovascular complications in patients who received haloperidol 


  • Small, single-center, retrospective study that only included patients with diabetic gastroparesis 

  • Only intramuscular administration was studied 

  • Baseline QT not reported 

  • Young patient population, no description of comorbidities or home medications 


  • Haloperidol may be considered as an adjunctive therapy in patients with diabetic gastroparesis for its antiemetic and analgesic properties. Prospective studies are necessary to confirm findings.



Ramirez R, Salcup P, Croft B, Darracq MA. Am J Emerg Med 2017;35:1118-1120.