Risperidone: What is it? Indications, Precautions, Administration and Side Effects

It is a medicine that works in the brain to treat schizophrenia.It is also known as a second generation antipsychotic (SGA) or atypical antipsychotic.

Risperidone rebalances dopamine and serotonin to improve thinking, mood and behavior.

The symptoms of schizophrenia include:

  • Hallucinations: imagined voices or images that seem real.
  • Delusions: beliefs that are not true (for example, other people read your thoughts).
  • Disorganized thinking or difficulty organizing your thoughts and meaning.
  • Little desire to be close to other people.
  • Problems to speak clearly.
  • Lack of motivation.

Indications

Risperidone is also approved by the FDA for the following indications:

  • Acute treatment of manic or mixed episodes of bipolar disorder.
  • Maintenance (long-term) treatment of bipolar disorder.
  • Irritability associated with autistic disorders.

recommendations

  • Schizophrenia requires long-term treatment. Do not stop taking risperidone, even when you feel better.
  • Only your health care provider can determine the duration of risperidone treatment that is right for you.
  • Missing doses of risperidone may increase your risk of a relapse in your symptoms.
  • For risperidone to work properly, the tablet should be taken every day as directed by your health care provider.
  • The long-acting injectable form, known as Risperdal Consta, should be received every 2 weeks as requested by your health care provider. It is the same medication as in the tablet form.

Precautions

If you are planning to become pregnant, notify your doctor to better manage your medications.

People living with schizophrenia who want to get pregnant face important decisions.

This is a complex decision since untreated schizophrenia has risks for the fetus, as well as for the mother. It is important to analyze the risks and benefits of treatment with your doctor and caregivers.

Caution is advised when breastfeeding because risperidone passes into breast milk.

  • Symptoms of your condition that bother you more.
  • If you have thoughts of suicide or of hurting yourself.
  • Medications that you have taken in the past because of your condition, whether they were effective or caused any adverse effects.
  • If you ever had muscle stiffness, tremors, tardive dyskinesia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, or weight gain caused by a medication.
  • If you experience side effects from your medications, discuss them with your provider. Some side effects may happen over time, but others may require changes in the medication.
  • Any psychiatric or medical problems you have, such as heart rhythm problems, prolonged QT syndrome, heart attacks , diabetes, high cholesterol or seizures.
  • If you have a family history of diabetes or heart disease
  • All other medications you are currently taking (including over-the-counter products, herbal and nutritional supplements) and any allergies you have to medications.
  • Another non-medical treatment you are receiving, such as conversation therapy or substance abuse treatment. Your provider can explain how these different treatments work with the medication.
  • If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • If you smoke, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs.

Administration

The tablets and risperidone solution are usually taken once or twice a day with or without food.

Typically, patients start with a low dose of medication and the dose increases slowly over several weeks.

The oral dose generally varies from 1 mg to 6 mg. The dose of the injection usually varies from 12.5 mg to 50 mg. Only your health care provider can determine the correct dose for you.

Risperidone tablets that disintegrate orally should remain in their original container. Open the package with clean, dry hands before each dose.

Do not try to put tablets in a pillbox if you take tablets that disintegrate orally.

Risperidone tablets that dissolve orally will dissolve in your mouth in a matter of seconds and can be swallowed with or without liquid.

Risperidone liquid should be measured with a measuring spoon or oral syringe, which can be obtained from your pharmacy.

Use a calendar, alarm clock or cell phone alert to help you remember to take your medication.

You can also ask a family member to be reminded by a friend or to contact you to make sure you are taking your medicine.

Risperdal Consta must be received every 2 weeks. It must be administered by your health professional through an injection in the arm or in the buttock area.

The effects of the medication last approximately 2 weeks. If you are new to taking Risperdal Consta (injection of long-acting risperidone).

Your healthcare provider may recommend that you take the tablet or risperidone form daily for up to 3 weeks.

What happens if I miss a dose of risperidone?

If you miss a dose of risperidone, take it as soon as you remember it, unless it is closer to the time of your next dose. Discuss this with your health care provider.

Do not double your next dose or take more than prescribed. If you miss a dose of Risperdal Consta, check with your health care provider to receive your dose as soon as possible.

What should I avoid while taking risperidone?

Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs. Benefits may decrease (for example, worsen their confusion) and increase the adverse effects (for example, sedation) of the medication.

What are the possible side effects of risperidone?

Common side effects

  • Low blood pressure , dizziness and increased heart rate, especially when standing.
  • Fatigue, drowsiness, headache, constipation and increased appetite are also common and more frequent in children than in adults.
  • Sexual dysfunction

Rare / serious side effects:

Risperidone can increase blood levels of a hormone called prolactin.

Side effects of increased prolactin levels include women who lose their period.

The production of breast milk and men who lose their sexual desire or possibly experience erection problems.

Long term (months or years) of elevated prolactin may cause osteoporosis or increased risk of bone fractures.

Some people may develop side effects related to the muscles while taking risperidone. The technical terms for this are “extrapyramidal effects” and “tardive dyskinesia”. Symptoms of EPS include restlessness, tremor, and stiffness.

TD symptoms include slow or spasmodic movements that one can not control, often starting in the mouth with tongue movements or chewing.

Second generation antipsychotics increase the risk of weight gain, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. This is also known as metabolic syndrome.

Your doctor may ask you for a blood sample to control your cholesterol, blood sugar, and hemoglobin levels.