General Information on Risperdal
Risperdal is a medicine which belongs to a class of drugs known as atypical antipsychotics. It is used for controlling the symptoms of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and irritability due to autism. The drug only controls the symptoms of these diseases and does not cure them. The exact functioning of the drug is unknown. However, it is believed to regulate various chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for mood swings. The drug is not used for treatment of dementia as it has been seen to be fatal in patients with dementia.
Precautions/side effects of Risperdal
The drug should not be used for treating dementia. It may cause several fatal symptoms such as heart failure and stroke in patients with dementia. Patients with phenylketonuria should take this drug after informing the physician as the drug contains traces of phenylalanine which can be dangerous for patients with phenylketonuria. Other than that, patients with liver disease, kidney disease, low count of white blood cells, diabetes, depression, high blood pressure or heart diseases should inform the doctor accordingly before taking this drug.
Riperdal is also known to react with certain medications such as clozapine, rifmapin, drugs used for treating Parkinson’s disease such as pergolide, phenytoin, cimetidine etc. If the patient is on any of these drugs, the doctor should be informed accordingly before taking Risperdal.
The drug is a Category C pregnancy drug. It can have an adverse effect on the fetus as well as the newborn child. Thus, pregnant women as well as women who are breastfeeding should take this drug only after due consultation with a physician.
Risperdal can have certain side effects such as feeling of restlessness, troubled sleeping patterns, nausea, cough, rashes of the skin, dry mouth, constipation and pain in the abdomen. However, in certain cases, severe side effects to the drug may occur such as seizures, chills, difficulty in swallowing, painful erection, muscle stiffness or tremors. If any of these symptoms show up after taking the drug, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Important safety information
- Risperdal can cause drowsiness and impair decision making ability. Thus, tasks which require attention such as driving or working on heavy machinery should be avoided immediately after taking Risperdal.
- The drug can make patients more susceptible to cold or hot temperatures. Thus, strenuous exercise as well as direct exposure to cold or hot temperatures should be avoided while on this drug.
- It is important to keep oneself hydrated while on this drug to avoid hot flashes and overheating of the body.
- The consumption of alcohol should be kept to the bare minimum while on this drug. Increased consumption of alcohol while on Risperdal increases the chances of side effects to the drug.
- Risperdal should not be administered to children unless otherwise stated by a doctor.
Dosage of Risperdal
Risperdal is available in tablets of strength 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg, 3 mg and 4 mg. It is also available as an oral solution in strength of 1mg/1ml. The usual initial dosage of Risperdal in adults is 2 mg twice daily. However, the dosage may go upto 6 mg twice daily. The dosage of the drug in adolescents is 0.5 mg once daily. However, the actual dosage may vary depending on the diagnosis and response of the patient.
It can be taken with or without food. The drug should be taken with dry hands and it should not be swallowed as a whole. Risperdal tablets have a property to dissolve in the mouth. The drug should be kept in the mouth and allowed to dissolve slowly. The drug can be had with water. However, it should not be had with soft drinks or tea.
The overdose of the drug should be prevented at all costs. If a dose is missed, it should be had as soon as possible. However, it should not be clubbed with the next dose. Overdose of the drug may lead to complications such as seizures, tremors etc. which need immediate medical attention.
Storage of Risperdal
Risperdal should be stored in a cool and dry place away from sunlight. It should be stored at a temperature not exceeding 30 degree Celsius. The drug should not be allowed to freeze and should be kept out of reach of children and pets.