What Is Risperidone?

For those dealing with unbalanced hormone levels, such as serotonin and dopamin, knowing which medications to use and how to find them is vital.

Risperidone is a type of antipsychotic medication currently used for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is also used to reduce irritability in patients with autism. The prescription medication is often taken by mouth as a tablet or liquid, though it can also be given as an intramuscular injection. Risperidone is approved for use as a schizophrenia treatment in patients who are at least thirteen years old, and it can be taken by children with autism who are between the five and sixteen years old. Doctors may prescribe it for patients with bipolar disorder who are at least ten years old. The medication is sometimes considered for 'off-label' use for patients with other health conditions. Before prescribing this medicine, doctors will take the patient's health history and ask about the patient's use of any prescription or over-the-counter medicines and about any use of vitamins or herbal supplements.

The uses, benefits, side effects, and precautions associated with risperidone are discussed below.

How It Works


Risperidone is categorized as an atypical antipsychotic medication. It works by balancing levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, both of which may be elevated in patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism. Dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters that play a role in regulating behavior and mood, and mental health conditions such as schizophrenia are specifically associated with the overactivity of dopamine. Risperidone blocks the receptors in the brain on which dopamine normally acts, and this makes the medication effective in symptom control for this condition. Conventional antipsychotics mostly reduce 'positive' symptoms of schizophrenia such as thought disturbances and hallucinations. Risperidone's mechanism of action makes it effective in reducing 'negative' schizophrenic symptoms such as social withdrawal and lack of emotion as well.

Get familiar with more uses and benefits of risperidone next.

Risperidone Uses And Benefits


In addition to its approved uses for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism, risperidone is frequently used 'off-label' to help patients with other conditions. For example, it may be prescribed on a short-term basis for the treatment of highly aggressive behavior in elderly individuals with Alzheimer's disease. In this situation, it is normally prescribed only if other treatments have not worked or if patients are at risk of harming themselves or others. Doctors might consider prescribing risperidone for certain patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette's syndrome, or delusional parasitosis as well. It is sometimes used with antidepressants to improve symptom management for patients with major depression. Risperidone helps patients think more clearly, and it improves their ability to participate in daily living and social activities.

Uncover the side effects linked to risperidone next.

Potential Side Effects


The potential side effects of risperidone vary from mild to severe. Some of the most commonly reported side effects include drowsiness, lightheadedness, and dizziness. Patients taking risperidone could also notice drooling, and nausea and fatigue occur frequently. Patients should let their prescribing physician or pharmacist know as soon as possible if these side effects persist or increase in severity. Patients may experience changes in blood chemistry while taking this medication. For example, it could increase blood glucose, which could lead to the development of diabetes or poor blood glucose control in patients who already have diabetes. Patients should watch for possible symptoms of high blood sugar while using risperidone, including increased thirst and increased urination. They might need to check their blood glucose levels more frequently during risperidone treatment. Risperidone may cause an increase in blood cholesterol, and some individuals experience significant weight gain while taking this medicine. Rarely, this medication could cause a condition known as tardive dyskinesia, which involves abnormal, uncontrolled movements, and it typically affects the tongue, mouth, lips, face, arms, or legs. Since these uncontrolled movements could sometimes be permanent, patients should consult their doctor immediately if they notice any movements they cannot control or that are not typical for them. Although very rare, some individuals taking risperidone could experience a side effect called neuroleptic malignant syndrome. This condition causes a high fever, stiff muscles, sweating, rapid breathing, and sleepiness. These symptoms should be reported to a healthcare professional immediately, and it may be necessary to stop taking risperidone. Like other antipsychotic medicines, risperidone could cause issues with temperature regulation in the body. Elderly patients taking risperidone are at the highest risk for this side effect, and it could lead to heat stroke when exposed to hot temperatures or hypothermia when exposed to cold temperatures. Patients should ensure they dress appropriately for the weather and have access to heating and air conditioning. It is especially important to avoid situations where the patient could become overheated, and patients should stay adequately hydrated at all times.

Learn about precautions to remember when taking risperidone next.

Precautions To Remember


Before risperidone is prescribed, patients should let their doctor know about any allergies they have, including allergies to paliperidone. Doctors will also need to know if the patient has a history of seizures, liver or kidney disease, Parkinson's disease, dementia, swallowing difficulties, or a low white blood cell count. Any family or personal history of heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, cataracts, or glaucoma should be mentioned to the physician as well. Patients who have a personal or family history of these conditions may need to take a different medication. Alcohol and marijuana consumption could increase the risk of experiencing dizziness or drowsiness while on this medicine, and patients are advised not to use these while taking risperidone. To reduce the likelihood of falls or fainting, patients should try to get out of bed slowly and rest their feet on the floor for several minutes before moving to a standing position. Individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding should discuss the risks and benefits of risperidone with their physician. When used during the last trimester of pregnancy, the medication could lead to constant crying, muscle stiffness, and breathing or feeding difficulties in the newborn; parents should report these to the child's physician immediately.

Learn more about potential medication interactions next.

Potential Medication Interactions


Taking risperidone with opioid pain relievers such as morphine, codeine, tramadol, or fentanyl could increase the drowsiness patients experience. Patients who use risperidone with gabapentin, lorazepam, diazepam, or certain antihistamines such as promethazine are also at an increased risk for experiencing sleepiness. Using risperidone with amiodarone and other medicines that treat abnormal heart rhythms could lead to an increased risk of heartbeat irregularities during treatment. If diuretics are taken with risperidone, patients could see changes in their potassium, which could lead to irregular heartbeats. This medication is known to increase the effects of medicines designed to reduce blood pressure, and patients may need to have their blood pressure medication dosage adjusted during treatment with risperidone to prevent low blood pressure. Patients taking certain antidepressants such as fluoxetine and certain anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine may need to have the doses of these medications adjusted while on risperidone too.