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Risperdal (Risperidone)

Risperdal (risperidone) is an atypical antipsychotic medication used in adults and teens to control the extreme emotions, thoughts, or behavior sometimes associated with schizophrenia. This medication is also used for treating mania or mixed episodes in adults, teens, and children over the age of ten years. Risperdal is also used to help control some of the behaviors associated with autism in children ages five to sixteen. This medication will not cure bipolar, autism, or schizophrenia. This medication will help control the behavior that accompanies these conditions.


It may take several weeks to feel the full effect of Risperdal, and it is important to continue taking the medication even if one feels well. This drug comes in a regular or a quick-dissolve tablet form and a liquid concentrate and is usually taken once or twice per day. A person should not alter the amount of the drug taken without speaking to their doctor first, and a consistent dose should be taken each day.

Important Information Before Use

Your doctor may start you on one dosage and then slowly increase the amount of Risperdal you take until your symptoms are manageable. Risperdal is not recommended for use by older adults with dementia. If you have or have ever had irregular heartbeat, chest pains, breast cancer, Parkinson's disease, stroke, seizures, or heart, liver, or kidney disease, you should talk to your doctor before you take this drug.


Tell your doctor if you have ever had urinary issues or problems with your prostate. You should also mention any serious reactions you have had to other similar medications. Risperdal may interact with other medications or supplements, including antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, medication for seizures, sleeping pills, and others. If you are taking other prescription drugs or supplements you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking this medication. If you have ever been addicted to street drugs or a prescription medication, let your doctor know before you begin taking this prescription.

Important Information During Use

  • If you are pregnant, or become pregnant while taking Risperdal, you should talk to your doctor about alternative treatments for your condition. Risperdal can cause problems in newborns if taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
  • Risperdal can make you extremely drowsy; using alcohol can worsen this side effect.
  • Your surgeon or anesthesiologist needs to know that you are taking Risperdal if you are having any type of surgery, including oral or dental surgery.
  • Risperdal can make you very dizzy, particularly when you first stand up from a seated position or after lying down. Stand up slowly to avoid this effect.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you begin to experience signs of increased blood sugar or diabetes. Risperdal can cause a serious condition called ketoacidosis; if you develop any of the signs of this condition, including loss of consciousness, extreme thirst, fruity-smelling breath, or nausea and vomiting, you should tell your doctor right away.
  • Overdose of this drug can be deadly; symptoms include low blood pressure, drowsiness, fast heart rate, shakiness, and seizures.

Side Effects

If you experience serious or severe side effects from Risperdal, you should call your doctor immediately. Serious side effects can include:

  • Confusion
  • Signs of ketoacidosis, including loss of consciousness, extreme thirst, fruity-smelling breath, nausea, and vomiting
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Fever or sweating
  • Facial or body movements that cannot be controlled
  • Itching, hives, or a rash
  • Painful erection lasting for hours
  • Seizures
  • Shuffling walk or slowed movements
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Faintness

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness, or tiredness
  • Restlessness, anxiety or agitation
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach upset, including nausea, pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Headache
  • Increased saliva
  • Increased appetite or weight gain
  • Vision problems
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Discolored or dry skin
  • Difficulty with urination
  • Insomnia or difficulty staying asleep; increase in strange or unusual dreams
  • Decreased sexual ability or interest
  • Breast milk production


Do not stop taking Risperdal abruptly; see your doctor before reducing or discontinuing this medication. You can reduce withdrawal symptoms by slowly tapering off of this medication. Possible symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Delusions, hallucinations, or other psychotic symptoms
  • Return of manic or bipolar symptoms


  1. Risperdal (risperidone). (2013, January). Retrieved from http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Risperdal_%28risperidone%29.htm

Page content reviewed by James Pendleton, ND


Last Update: 12-22-2014


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