Risperidone: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects & Contraindications

Updated in April 2024

Risperidone is an antipsychotic that is used for the treatment of schizophrenia, agitation disorders, psychotic symptoms in people with Alzheimer's or irritability associated with autistic disorder. This medication works in the brain to help balance chemical substances like dopamine and serotonin, to improve communication between neurons.

This medication can be found in pharmacies or drugstores in the form of tablets containing 1 mg, 2 mg or 3 mg of risperidone or 1 mg/mL oral solution.

Risperidone should only be used as directed by a doctor, and is only sold at the pharmacy with a medical prescription.

Woman taking pill

Common uses

Risperidone can be prescribed for the treatment of:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Acute schizophrenic exacerbations
  • Initial onset of psychosis
  • Acute and chronic schizophrenic psychoses
  • Prevention of relapse or acute exacerbations, in cases of chronic schizophrenia
  • Relief of affective symptoms associated with schizophrenia, such as depression, feelings of guilt or anxiety
  • Psychotic disorders in adults, with symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, thought disorders, poor speech, aggressiveness, distrust, emotional and social isolation;
  • Acute mania or mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder
  • Agitation, aggression, or psychotic symptoms, in people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s.

Furthermore, risperidone may be recommended by pediatricians for the treatment of irritability, aggressiveness, temper tantrums, anguish and rapid changes in mood, in children over 5 years of age or adolescents on the autism spectrum.

Is risperidone good for sleeping?

Risperidone may cause drowsiness as a side effect, however, it is not indicated for sleep, but only for the treatment of psychotic disorders, schizophrenia or symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

Recommended dosage

Risperidone should be taken orally, at the times established by the doctor.

The normally recommended doses of risperidone vary according to the disease being treated. For schizophrenia in adults, the recommended initial dose is 2 mg, which can be increased to 4 mg on the second day of treatment, and then up 6 mg on the third day of treatment.

The usual dose of risperidone for adults varies between 4 mg and 6 mg per day, as directed by a doctor.

For children aged 5 to 17 years old, risperidone doses must be calculated by the pediatrician, according to the child or teen's body weight.

Possible side effects

Some of the side effects that may occur during treatment with risperidone include lack of sleep, agitation, anxiety, headache, drowsiness, tiredness, difficulty concentrating, blurry vision, dizziness, indigestion, nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, sexual impotence, a blocked nose or involuntary loss of urine.

Does Risperidone make you sleepy?

In some people, risperidone may cause drowsiness or sedation as a side effect, which may occur about 1 to 2 hours after taking it, or up to 4 hours after the last dose.

Adults who take this medication should avoid driving vehicles or operating machinery during treatment, until their sensitivity to risperidone is known, as their ability to pay attention may be impaired.

In cases of persistent drowsiness, you should inform the prescriber to assess the need for a dose or frequency change.

Contraindications for use

Risperidone should not be used by children under 5 years of age, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by people who are allergic to any of the formula's components.