risperidone, Risperdal; Risperdal Consta, Risperdal M-TAB

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is risperidone, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

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.

What brand names are available for risperidone?

Risperdal, Risperdal Consta, Risperdal M-TAB

Is risperidone available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes, risperidone. No, Risperdal Consta

Do I need a prescription for risperidone?

Yes

What are the side effects of risperidone?

The most commonly-noted side effects associated with risperidone are:

Another important side effect which may also occur include extrapyramidal effects (sudden, often jerky, involuntary motions of the head, neck, arms, body, or eyes) also occur. Risperidone may cause a condition called orthostatic hypotension during the early phase of treatment (the first week or two). Patients who develop orthostatic hypotension have a drop in their blood pressure when they rise from a lying position and may become dizzy or even lose consciousness.

Studies involving risperidone suggest an increased risk of hyperglycemia-related adverse reactions as seen in people with diabetes. Although there is no clear link between risperidone and diabetes, patients should be tested during treatment for elevated blood sugars. Additionally, persons with risk factors for diabetes, including obesity or a family history of diabetes, should have their fasting levels of blood sugar tested before starting treatment and periodically throughout treatment to detect the onset of diabetes. Any patient developing symptoms that suggest diabetes during treatment should be tested for diabetes.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/15/2015

Quick GuideSchizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment
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