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What is risperidone?

Risperidone is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral tablet, an orally disintegrating tablet, and an oral solution. It also comes as an injection that’s only given by a healthcare provider.

Risperidone oral tablet is available as the brand-name drug Risperdal. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, the brand-name drug and the generic version may be available in different forms and strengths.

Why it’s used

Risperidone is used to treat the symptoms of several psychiatric conditions. These include:

Schizophrenia. This is a mental illness that causes changes in thinking or perception. People with this condition may hallucinate (see or hear things that aren’t there) or have delusions (false beliefs about reality).

Acute manic or mixed episodes caused by bipolar I disorder. This drug may be given alone or with the drugs lithium or divalproex. People with bipolar disorder have intense mood episodes. These may include mania (an overly joyful or excited state), depression, or a mixture of both.

Irritability associated with autism. Autism affects how a person acts, interacts with others, learns, and communicates. Symptoms of irritability may include aggression towards others, harming yourself, temper tantrums, and mood swings.

Risperidone may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

How it works

Risperidone belongs to a class of drugs called atypical antipsychotics. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Risperidone works by affecting the amount of certain chemicals called neurotransmitters that occur naturally in your brain. It’s thought that people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism have an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters. This drug may improve this imbalance.

Side Effects

Drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, drooling, nausea, weight gain, or tiredness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Dizziness and lightheadedness can increase the risk of falling. Get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Can children take Risperdal?

Risperdal has been approved for treatment of schizophrenia for children ages 13-17 years, for Bipolar I disorder in children ages 10-17 years, and for irritability associated with autistic disorder for children ages 5-16 years.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

Take the dose of Risperdal when you remember, but skip the missed dose if it’s almost time for your next dose. You should never take extra doses of the medication to make up for missed doses.