In This Article

    Guide to Risperdal

    Here at YourDrugs.com, we have researched many of the medications you and your family might be taking. Our goal is to keep you up to date on all drugs and their potential side effects so you can make an informed decision.

    Quick Overview 

    Risperdal is used as a treatment for a number of mental health and mood disorders. This drug, classified as an atypical antipsychotic, helps people with mental disorders think in a clear and lucid way, allowing them to navigate through their day with greater ease, function well, and make good daily decisions.

    This medication is an improvement over previous antipsychotic drugs because it is chemically different and because it does not inhibit dopamine but instead affects serotonin. The proper levels of dopamine and serotonin are necessary for proper cognitive functioning and stable moods.

    In addition, there are fewer side-effects than older antipsychotic drugs, particularly side-effects that resemble Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms such as involuntary muscle movements. Consequently, patients who previously did not respond well to other antipsychotic drugs may do better with Risperdal.

    A prescription is needed to obtain this medication, so you must consult with a doctor to see if it is the right drug for you. Additionally, medical supervision is necessary to decide on the initial dosage and the best titrating schedule to build up a tolerance for higher dosages.

    Risperdal is the brand name for risperidone, and other brand names for it include Risperdal M-TAB and Risperdal Consta. 

    What Does Risperdal Treat and Who Is It For? 

    Risperdal is used for a variety of mental disorders. It is used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

    It is also considered one of the best medications to mitigate the irritability experienced by children and adults with autism.

    In addition, it has been found useful in calming the effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette syndrome, and even stuttering.

    Since it assists with mood and provides cognitive clarity, it helps the patient cope with the stresses and decision-making necessary for daily life. 

    Patient Types

    This atypical antipsychotic drug can be used by people of almost all ages — that is, from children from the age of five to adults depending on their particular disorder. It should never be used for children under the age of five or elderly adults with dementia.

    It has been approved for children with autism from the ages of 5 to 16 years old, for children with Bipolar I disorder from the ages of 10 to 17 years old, and for children with schizophrenia from the ages of 13 to 16 years old. 

    What Are the Ingredients of Risperdal? 

    Risperdal contains these inactive ingredients:

    • Colloidal silicon dioxide
    • Hypromellose Lactose
    • Magnesium stearate
    • Microcrystalline cellulose
    • Propylene glycol
    • Sodium lauryl sulfate
    • Starch (corn)

    In addition to these inactive ingredients, tablets within the following dosage range — 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 2 mg, 3 mg, and 4 mg — will also contain both talc and titanium dioxide. 

    Common Risperdal Side Effects 

    When you take Risperdal, you may experience side effects.

    The most common symptoms are that you might get a headache and you may notice that you start to gain weight.

    However, the following side effects are also possible: 

    Low Energy Levels and Disorientation: 

    Risperdal may affect your energy levels, making you feel dizzy, drowsy, and tired. Often enough these symptoms are due to low tolerance to a high dose.

    A doctor may reduce the dosage to ameliorate these symptoms and then create a schedule to gradually increase the dosage in small amounts to improve tolerance. 

    Involuntary Muscle Movements: 

    Risperdal may affect your muscles, and you may experience tremors, or twitch, or have other types of involuntary muscle movements. It may cause muscle rigidity, a stiff tongue, or movement of your face, shoulder, arms, or legs.

    Additionally, muscle tone may become poor.

    Although many of these symptoms are similar to Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to note that the patient has not developed that disease and that all these symptoms will disappear if the drug is discontinued. Compared to older antipsychotic drugs, a patient is far less likely to get these Parkinson-like symptoms in the first place. 

    Agitated or Depressed Moods: 

    It may affect your moods, and you may feel depressed or anxious or agitated or restless. 

    Gastrointestinal Distress: 

    It may affect your gastrointestinal tract, resulting in constipation, diarrhea, or an upset stomach. 

    Cold-like symptoms: 

    It may give you cold like symptoms, like a sore throat, sneezing, and a blocked or stuffy nose. It’s estimated that ten percent of people who take this medication will experience rhinitis, a runny nose. 

    What to do if you experience mild to severe symptoms: 

    You may get no side-effects or only mild side-effects. You may only get a few side-effects or numerous side-effects.

    Naturally, you should immediately inform your doctor, who will then decide whether the symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe. Your doctor will then decide to keep you on your current dosage, lower the dosage, slow the titration (an increase of dosage based on tolerance), or change your medication.

    Do not make these decisions yourself as you could make things worse. For instance, if you stop taking it altogether, you will experience withdrawal symptoms and a return of many of the mood or mental disorders that you had before. 

    Risperdal Dosage 

    The recommended daily dose will depend on the condition it is being used to treat.

    Risperdal doses will depend on the mental and mood disorder that it is being used to treat, and here are some examples of Risperdal doses for two different Risperdal treatments – schizophrenia and bipolar mania.

    Dosage for Schizophrenia

    An adolescent with schizophrenia could start out with an initial dose of 0.5 mg. Titration (increments) could be between 0.5 mg to 1 mg. A target dose could be 3 mg. Finally, the effective dose range could be between 1 to 6 mg.

    An adult with schizophrenia could start out with an initial dose of 2 mg. Titration could be between 1 mg to 2 mg. A target dose could be between 4 mg and 8mg. Finally, the effective dose range could be between 4 to 16 mg. 

    Dosage for Bipolar Mania

    Children or adolescents with bipolar mania could start out with an initial dose of 0.5 mg. Titration could be between 1 mg to 2.5 mg. A target dose could be between 1 to 2.5 mg. Finally, the effective dose range could be between 1 to 6 mg.

    Adults with bipolar mania could start out with an initial dose of 2 mg to 3 mg. Titration could be 1 mg. A target dose could be between 1 to 6 mg. Finally, the effective dose range could be between 1 to 6 mg.

    Determination of dosage is not only dependent on age, treatment phase (initial, titration, or target dose), and severity of the mental disorder, but also by weight. So, a patient with a body weight that is less than 20 kg would receive a smaller dosage than someone with a body weight that is greater than 20 kg. 

    How Should You Take Risperdal? 

    You can take this medication with or without food. Since it is an oral tablet that dissolves in your mouth, you should only remove it from its packaging when you’re ready to take it. Simply place it in your mouth and don’t drink it down or chew. Once it dissolves in your mouth, swallow a few times.

    Risperdal can also be injected by your doctor. Once you get an injection, the effects will last for about 14 days before you need another injection.

    Warnings: Before you take Risperdal, talk to your healthcare provider if:

    You have used it before and discovered that you were allergic to it. Also, do not take it if you have had seizures, a stroke, or heart disease. It is also not safe if you have any health issues with your kidney or liver health.

    Additionally, inform your healthcare provider about all the supplements and medications you are taking to avoid any adverse reaction to Risperdal.

    Since interactions can occur with alcohol, inform your healthcare provider if you drink, even if it is only occasionally or on social occasions.

    Risperdal should not be taken by an elderly person with dementia since it can prove fatal or increase the risk of pneumonia or heart failure. It should also never be taken by a woman who is breastfeeding.

    How Much Risperdal Can You Take in One Day? 

    In most cases, a doctor will give you specific directions on how to take Risperdal based on your reason for taking it. However, general instructions doctors provide are to take it once or twice a day, starting at 2mg a day.

    Dosage should only be increased after an interval of 24 hours and only by 1 to 2 mg a day. Once you build up a tolerance, a doctor may have you using 4 to 8 mg daily. 

    Risperdal Addiction Risks 

    Risperdal abuse has not been reported and the medication is not addictive.

    Risperdal Interactions: What Should You Avoid Taking with Risperdal?

    Risperdal will make you sensitive to extreme temperatures, like hot or cold weather. Since extremes of temperatures, whether hot or cold, appears to increase dehydration, so drink plenty of fluids.

    Risperdal Withdrawal Symptoms 

    If you’re taking Risperdal, it’s not a good idea to abruptly stop taking it. This is because it takes some time for the brain to adjust to the absence of chemicals in the drug that created the right hormonal balance of serotonin and dopamine. As a result, many of the old symptoms may resurface.

    It’s best to work with a healthcare professional if you decide that you don’t need it anymore. He or she will help you gradually reduce your dosage so that you don’t experience withdrawal symptoms.

    Risperdal Efficacy: What Does Risperdal Do for Your Symptoms?

    Essentially, this medication helps you to think in a clear and effective way throughout the day. It helps you make rational decisions and function well.

    When you have mental and mood disorders like bipolar or schizophrenia, it’s difficult to think clearly. An atypical antipsychotic like Risperdal restores your sense of emotional balance and lucid thinking.

    Risperdal and Pregnancy 

    While some medical authorities do not recommend taking Risperdal if you are pregnant due to a risk of birth defects, numerous studies show that this risk is small. This data is based on a study of 2000 babies whose mothers took risperidone, the generic version of Risperdal, and the incidence of birth defects was low.

    Medical opinion about the use of antipsychotic drugs taken during pregnancy has changed over the years. Previously, it was not considered a good idea, but there is growing evidence to suggest that it helps women that have severe psychiatric disorders, like schizophrenia, successfully have a baby.

    Clinical Trials 

    Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C., sponsored an interventional study (clinical trial) that enrolled 275 participants and ran from May 2004 to February 2007. This study was a randomized double-blind study to see if the effects patients experienced were due to the drug itself or a placebo effect.

    The study concluded that Risperdal Consta was effective and safe for adults with bipolar disorder.

    Risperdal Manufacturers 

    Risperdal is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which is a Johnson & Johnson company. 

    FDA Approval Status of Risperdal

    The FDA approved of New Drug Application (NDA): 020272 for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

    Conclusion

    Risperdal is an atypical antipsychotic drug that has been approved by the FDA. It does require a doctor’s prescription to obtain. Its primary benefit is to restore a calm mood and improve clear thinking so that patients can manage their day.

    The generic name for the drug is risperidone and Risperdal is a brand name.

    Many doctors believe that Risperdal is an improvement over earlier antipsychotic drugs because it is composed of different chemicals that affect different hormones. In addition, the side-effects are far fewer.

    Dosage will vary based on the condition it is being used to treat. It is necessary to follow the doctor’s orders as closely as possible to avoid side-effects.

    If side-effects do occur, consult your doctor rather than deciding to discontinue or cut the dosage on your own. Your doctor will be in the best position to evaluate the severity of the side-effects and advise you on what to do.