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Risperidone, or Risperdal, is a prescription, oral medication in tablet or liquid form used to treat schizophrenia in adults and especially for children. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that causes disturbed thinking, loss of interest in life, and sometimes very strong but inappropriate emotions. Risperidone can also be used to treat mania with or without depression and bipolar disorder. It is also used to help with behavior problems like severe aggression, self-injury, and sudden violent mood change especially in young people with autism. However, for those with autism, it does not help with the ability to communicate or with social skills. Its drug class is atypical antipsychotic.
Off-label uses include treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, severe depression, Tourette’s syndrome and eating disorders.
Risperidone is most commonly associated with weight gain and metabolic disorders. Side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, dry mouth, increased saliva, increased appetite and weight gain. There may also be stomach pain, anxiety, agitation, restlessness, active dreams, decreased interest in sex, difficulty urinating, and lactation, for men or women.
It should not be taken by patients with dementia. Early death can occur as a result. Studies also indicate an increased risk of stroke.
It is unknown exactly how Risperidone works but it is believed to affect the way the brain works by interfering with communication between the brain’s nerves. Brain cells communicate with each other by making and releasing messenger chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters move among nearby nerves where they attach to receptors. The attachment of the neurotransmitters either stimulates or inhibits the function of the nearby nerve. Risperidone blocks several of the receptors on nerves including dopamine, serotonin and adrenergic receptors. Therefore it alters the psychotic state and regulates behavior.
Source: nlm.nih.gov, MedicineNet
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