Generic Name: Risperidone

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Risperdal is a medicine used to treat schizophrenia (a brain disorder that distorts the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, perceives reality, and relates to others). It is also used alone or in combination with lithium or valproate to treat short term manic episodes (a period of abnormally and persistently elevated or irritable mood) or mixed episodes (a state of depressed mood and loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities) associated with bipolar I disorder. In addition, Risperdal is also used to treat irritability associated with autistic disorder in children and adolescents. It is available as regular tablets, orally disintegrating tablets (called Risperdal M-Tab), and an oral solution.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Although it is unclear exactly how Risperdal works, it seems to help balance the chemicals in the brain, thereby helping to improve your symptoms.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: Risperdal has been shown to relieve symptoms associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or irritability associated with autistic disorder, as measured by appropriate symptom rating scales that are commonly used by healthcare providers to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine in people with such conditions.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Risperdal exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

    How do I know it is working?

    Your healthcare provider may ask you questions from time to time to assess how well your symptoms are controlled.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Risperdal is not approved to treat mental problems caused by dementia (an illness involving loss of memory and judgment, and confusion) in the elderly. It can be life-threatening when used in elderly people with mental problems caused by dementia.

    More common side effects may include: abdominal (stomach area) pain, anxiety, blurred vision, common cold, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, increased saliva, increased appetite, indigestion, involuntary muscle movements, nausea, rash, shaking, sleepiness, stuffy nose, throat pain, tiredness, upper respiratory infection, vomiting, weight gain.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) (a life-threatening brain disorder) with symptoms such as high fever, excessive sweating, muscle rigidity, confusion, changes in your breathing, fast or irregular heartbeat, or changes in your blood pressure.

    Tardive dyskinesia, defined as abnormal muscle movements, including tremor, shuffling, and uncontrolled, involuntary movements.

    High blood sugar with symptoms such as excessive thirst, an increase in urination, increased appetite, weakness, confusion, fruity smelling breath, or feeling sick to your stomach.

    Increased cholesterol (fats in your blood) and triglycerides (a type of blood fat), and weight gain.

    Increased prolactin (a hormone that can affect lactation, menstruation, and fertility) levels, with side effects including missed menstrual periods, leakage of milk from the breasts, development of breasts in men, or problems with erection.

    Sudden fall in blood pressure with symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting when rising too quickly from a sitting or lying position.

    Low white blood cell counts with symptoms of an infection (such as fever, sore throat, rash, or chills).

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Risperdal if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Risperdal. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have diabetes; high cholesterol levels; high or low blood pressure; low white blood cell counts; history of seizures; high prolactin levels; heart, liver, or kidney problems; problems swallowing; a condition called phenylketonuria (an inability to process phenylalanine, a protein in your body); Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.


    Adults: The usual starting dose is 2 mg per day. Your healthcare provider may increase your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

    Adolescents 13-17 years: The usual starting dose is 0.5 mg once a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your child's dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

    Bipolar Mania

    Adults: The usual starting dose is 2-3 milligrams (mg) per day. Your healthcare provider may increase your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

    Children and adolescents 10-17 years: The usual starting dose is 0.5 mg once a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your child's dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

    Irritability Associated with Autistic Disorder

    Children and adolescents 5-17 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his or her weight.

    If you have kidney or liver impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Risperdal exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Risperdal without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Risperdal oral solution can be taken alone or mixed with a beverage (such as water, coffee, orange juice, or low-fat milk). Do not mix Risperdal oral solution with cola or tea.

    If you are taking Risperdal M-Tab, only remove the tablet from the blister unit when you are ready to take it. Do not push the tablet through the foil; this can damage the tablet. Peel open the foil from the side with dry hands and place the tablet on your tongue. The tablet will dissolve within seconds and can be swallowed with or without liquid. Do not split or chew Risperdal M-Tabs.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Risperdal.

    Do not drive, operate machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Risperdal affects you.

    Do not get overheated or dehydrated while you are taking Risperdal. Drink plenty of water and do not over-exercise. Stay out of the sun, and do not wear too much or heavy clothing. In hot weather, stay in a cool place if possible.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Risperdal is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Risperdal with the following: alcohol, carbamazepine, clozapine, fluoxetine, medications that slow down your brain function, paroxetine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, or rifampin.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Risperdal may harm your newborn baby if you take it during the last few months of your pregnancy. Risperdal can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Do not take Risperdal while you are breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Risperdal, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature. Protect tablets from light and moisture. Protect oral solution from light and freezing.

Starting an Antidepressant?

Our 10-week newsletter series, written by a pharmacist, will help you learn about your medication.
Sign Up

Risperdal Related Drugs

Risperdal Related Conditions