GENERIC NAME: risperidone
BRAND NAME: Risperdal, Risperdal Consta, Risperdal M-TAB
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Risperidone is an atypical antipsychotic drug that is used for treating schizophrenia, bipolar mania, and autism. Other atypical antipsychotic drugs include olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), ziprasidone (Geodon), aripiprazole (Abilify) and paliperidone (Invega). Atypical antipsychotics differ from typical antipsychotics because they cause a lesser degree of movement (extrapyramidal) side effects and constipation. Risperdal Consta is an injectable, long-acting form of risperidone.
The exact mechanism of action of risperidone is not known, but, like other anti-psychotics, it is believed that risperidone affects the way the brain works by interfering with communication among the brain's nerves. Nerves communicate with each other by making and releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters travel to other nearby nerves where they attach to receptors on the nerves. The attachment of the neurotransmitters either stimulates or inhibits the function of the nearby nerves. Risperidone blocks several of the receptors on nerves including dopamine type 2, serotonin type 2, and alpha 2 adrenergic receptors. It is believed that many psychotic illnesses are caused by abnormal communication among nerves in the brain and that by altering communication through neurotransmitters, risperidone can alter the psychotic state. Risperidone was approved by the FDA in December 1993.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Risperidone is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar mania alone or combined with lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) or valproate (Depakene, Depacon) and for the treatment of irritability associated with autistic disorder in children and adolescents. Clinical studies involving small numbers of patients have shown some benefit in using risperidone for stuttering and Tourette's syndrome though these are non FDA-approved uses. Another non-FDA approved use of risperidone is for obsessive-compulsive disorders.
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