|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
|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
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.
How to take risperidone
- 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.
Getting the most from your treatment
- 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.
Can risperidone cause problems?
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.
How to store risperidone
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Risperdal® tablets 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 mg film-coated tablets & Risperdal® Quicklet 0.5, 1, 2, 3 and 4 mg orodispersible tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Risperdal® tablets 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 mg film-coated tablets & Risperdal® Quicklet 0.5, 1, 2, 3 and 4 mg orodispersible tablets, Janssen-Cilag Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2011.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Risperdal® Liquid 1 mg/ml oral solution; Manufacturer's PIL, Risperdal® Liquid 1 mg/ml oral solution, Janssen-Cilag Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2011.
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.
Dr Adrian Bonsall