Risperidone

  • Risperidone is used in adults and older children to treat a number of different problems.
  • The most common side-effects are headache, difficulty sleeping, an increase in weight, and dizziness.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are taking risperidone.
  • Do not stop taking risperidone unless your doctor tells you to do so.
Type of medicine Atypical antipsychotic
Used for Helping the symptoms of mental health problems particularly in schizophrenia and bipolar disorders
Short-term (up to 6 weeks) treatment of aggressive or other disruptive behaviours
Also called Risperdal®
Risperdal® Quicklet
Available as Tablet, orodispersible (melt in the mouth) tablet and oral liquid

Risperidone is used to relieve the symptoms of schizophrenia and some other mental health problems. Such symptoms include hearing, seeing or sensing things that are not real, having mistaken beliefs and unusual suspiciousness. It is also used to treat disruptive behaviour or agitation where this becomes a danger to self or to others.

Risperidone works on the balance of chemical substances which act on the nervous system in your brain.

Risperidone may also be given by injection and there is a separate leaflet for this called "Risperidone long-acting injection."

Before taking risperidone make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you have heart, circulation, liver or kidney problems.
  • If you have had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (sometimes called a "mini-stroke" or TIA).
  • If you have diabetes, epilepsy or Parkinson's disease.
  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have been told you have high prolactin levels.
  • If you have porphyria (a rare blood disorder).
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
  • If you are taking any other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
  • Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
  • Take risperidone exactly as your doctor has told you. It is usually taken once or twice a day.
  • It is not important whether you take your doses before, with or after meals.
  • If you have been given risperidone orodispersible tablets, peel open the packaging, remove the tablet from the blister and then place it on your tongue to dissolve. Do not try pushing the tablet through the blister of the packaging as it may crumble.
  • If you have been given risperidone liquid you can take your dose added to any non-alcoholic drink except tea. Make sure you understand how to use the dose syringe (pipette) to measure out the dose which is correct for you. If you are unsure about this, ask your pharmacist to show you.
  • Try to take risperidone at the same times each day to avoid missing any doses.
  • If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • Do not stop taking risperidone unless your doctor tells you to do so. Stopping treatment suddenly can cause problems and your doctor will probably want you to reduce your dose gradually if this is necessary.
  • Risperidone may cause drowsiness. Do not drink alcohol while you are taking risperidone as it could increase these feelings of sleepiness.
  • Keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be monitored. Also, you may need to have regular weight checks.
  • If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently as risperidone can affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will be able to advise you about this.
  • Before taking or buying any 'over-the-counter' medicines, check with your pharmacist which medicines are safe to take alongside risperidone.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking risperidone. If you are having cataract surgery, it is particularly important that you tell your surgeon you are on risperidone. This is because an eye problem known as 'floppy iris syndrome' has developed in some people and your doctor will want to advise you about the risk of this.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common side-effects - these affect about 1 in 10 people who take this medicine What can I do if I experience this
Increase in weight Try to eat a well balanced diet and take regular exercise
Feeling dizzy or light-headed when getting up from a lying or sitting position, particularly when you first begin treatment Getting up more slowly should help. If you begin to feel dizzy, lie down so that you do not faint, then sit for a few moments before standing
Headache Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues speak with your doctor
Feeling sleepy, drowsiness, blurred vision If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol
Stomach upset Stick to simple or bland foods
Shakiness, abnormal movements of the face or body, restlessness, uncontrollable movements of the tongue, face or jaw If you experience any of these, see your doctor as soon as possible
Mood changes, trouble sleeping, blocked nose, coughs and colds, aches and pains, skin rash, difficulty passing urine, and dry mouth If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor

Important: If you experience any of the following symptoms you must contact your doctor immediately or go to your local accident and emergency department without delay:

  • Muscle stiffness with a high temperature, sweating, and a fast heart beat.
  • Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arms or legs, and speech or vision problems.
  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

  • Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else has taken an overdose of this medicine go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
  • This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
  • Never keep out of date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacist who will dispose of them for you.
  • If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Last Checked:
19/07/2012
Document ID:
3473 (v25)
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