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Why would a doctor prescribe Risperdal®?


Risperdal® is prescribed to help improve thinking, mood, and behavior for children & adolescents with mental illness, behavioral disorders, and developmental disabilities.

Who is prescribed this medication?

Risperdal® is prescribed to adults and adolescents diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In 2006, this medication was also approved for treating autism in children.  Additionally, Risperdal® has also been prescribed off-label (which means the drug was not FDA-approved for a particular use) to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  

More information about these diagnoses according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) is provided below: 

  • Schizophrenia: this is a type of mental illness that interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It’s a complex, long-term medical illness that affects about 1% of Americans.
  • Bipolar Disorder: commonly known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.
  • ADHD:Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

How this medication works

Risperdal® is an atypical antipsychotic drug that helps rebalance dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. An atypical antipsychotic drug is more effective at reducing symptoms than traditional antipsychotics, which typically only target dopamine levels. Other atypical antipsychotics include Abilify (aripiprazole), Zyprexa (olanzapine) and Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate).

Although Risperdal® works to improve symptoms for you or a loved one who suffers from any of these diagnoses, it can also cause some detrimental side effects. Risperdal® has been linked to an increase of risk in developing gynecomastia (male breast growth) among young men and boys. 


To read and learn more about the complications associated with Risperdal®, visit our Complications page.

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