Risperdal (risperidone)

Risperdal (risperidone)

Brand name: Risperdal® and Risperdal® M-Tab®.
Active ingredient name: Risperidone.
Type of medication: Atypical antipsychotic.
Available in Canada from: Janssen Inc.
Form: Oral tablets, oral solution, orally disintegrating tablets.
Generic: Yes: Apo-Risperidone (Apotex Inc.); CO Risperidone (Cobalt Pharmaceuticals Comp.); JAMP-Risperidone (Jamp Pharma Corp.); Mar-Risperidone (Marcan Pharmaceuticals Inc.); Mint-Risperidone (Mint Pharmaceuticals Inc.); Mylan-Risperidone (Mylan Pharmaceuticals ULC); PMS-Risperidone, PMS-Risperidone ODT (Pharmascience Inc.); RAN-Risperidone (Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.); Sandoz Risperidone (Sandoz Canada Inc.); Risperidone (Sanis Health Inc.); Teva-Risperidone (Teva Canada Limited).
Listed on Ontario formulary: Yes.
OHIP+ coverage: Yes.
Note: Risperdal® is also available as a long-acting injectable called Risperdal® Consta®.

What is Risperdal used for?

Risperdal is used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and related psychotic illnesses in adults. Additionally, Risperdal may be used for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Risperdal can be used to treat other conditions.  Talk to your doctor about why you are using Risperdal.

How should I take Risperdal?

  • Risperdal can be taken with or without food once daily. Risperdal oral solution can be mixed with water, coffee, orange juice, and low-fat milk. It should not be mixed with tea or cola.
  • Risperdal is available in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg, 3 mg, and 4 mg tablets. Risperdal is also available as 1 mg/mL oral solution. Risperdal M-Tab orally disintegrating tablets are available in 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg, 3 mg, and 4 mg doses. The usual dosage range of Risperdal is 2 mg - 16 mg daily. Your doctor may prescribe doses outside of this range. Discuss your dose with your doctor.

What are the most common side effects seen with Risperdal? 

The most common side effects of Risperdal include:

  • Drowsiness

  • Abnormal movements (extrapyramidal side effects)
  • Feeling of restlessness (akathisia)
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Changes in monthly menstrual cycle (amenorrhea)
  • Decreased sexual interest and/or function
  • Swelling of breasts and milk production in males and females

What are rare but potentially serious side effects seen with Risperdal?

  • Decreased white blood cell count (agranulocytosis)
  • Cerebrovascular event (stroke)
  • Anaphylactic reaction (severe allergy)
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS)


Elderly individuals with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic medication are at an increased risk of death compared to individuals not receiving antipsychotics. Most deaths appear to be either cardiovascular or infectious. Risperdal is not approved for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis. Some individuals with dementia may, however, be treated with this medication. New safety information indicates that individuals with mixed and vascular dementia are at higher risk of cerebrovascular events when using Risperdal compared to those with Alzheimer’s dementia. Hence, Health Canada has limited the indication for Risperdal to severe dementia of the Alzheimer type only. Discuss this new information with your doctor if you or your loved one is using Risperdal for dementia. Discuss the potential risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

What medications interact with Risperdal?

Tell all your doctors, pharmacists and dentist that you are taking Risperdal. You should also tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications, including those obtained without a prescription, and herbal and vitamin products. When the levels of a medication are increased or decreased in your bloodstream, this can affect the medication’s efficacy and safety.

The following types of medications may interact with Risperdal:

  • Certain medications for allergies (e.g., Benadryl [diphenhydramine])
  • Certain medications for sleep (e.g., lorazepam, zopiclone)
  • Certain medications for pain (e.g., fentanyl)
  • Anti-Parkinson agents (e.g., dopamine agonists)

Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while taking Risperdal.