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What is Risperdal®?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Risperdal® is the trade name of a medication which can be used in the treatment of schizophrenia, manic depression, and certain forms of autism. The drug is known generically as risperidone, and generic versions are available in some regions of the world. Like other generics, these drugs are designed to be pharmaceutically identical to the trademarked drug, but they are much less expensive, making them an appealing option to insurance companies and patients who have limited funds available.

This drug is an atypical or second generation antipsychotic, acting to alter the brain chemistry of the patient to alleviate symptoms. It can be used for adult and adolescent schizophrenia, and it is also useful in the short term management of manic episodes, although it is not designed for long term use in people with manic depression. Risperdal® has also been shown to be useful for people with autism who experience irritability and aggression.

Risperdal® is available in the form of tablets and a liquid, with dosages which can be adjusted to meet the specific needs of the patient. Like many other antipsychotics, the drug often needs to be adjusted so that it will be effective for a specific patient, and it can have dangerous interactions with other medications and with alcohol.

Individuals with dementia cannot use Risperdal®, as the drug is associated with dangerous side effects including death for these patients. The safety of the drug in pregnant and breastfeeding women is now known, and the drug is not recommended for people with a history of seizures, suicidal thoughts, liver disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or heart disease. When the drug is prescribed, patients should be careful to list all of the medications and drugs they use so that the doctor can ensure that the drug will not cross-react with another medication.

People on Risperdal® commonly find that they have increased sensitivity to heat and cold. They can also experience fatigue, nausea, tremors, weight gain, difficulty urinating, and fever. Patients should report the side effects they experience on Risperdal® to their doctors, as it may be possible to manage or reduce the side effects with a change in the dosing or the addition of another medication. Additionally, certain side effects can indicate that a serious problem such as a bad interaction with another drug is occurring, in which case it may be necessary to stop treatment with Risperdal® and pursue other medication options.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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