Risperidone vs. Risperdal: Understanding the Differences and Dosage Guidelines

In the world of psychiatric medicine, two names often surface in discussions around the treatment of conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism-related irritability: Risperidone and Risperdal. Although used interchangeably, there is a subtle distinction between these two terms. This blog post will delve into the nuances of Risperidone and Risperdal, their applications, and dosage guidelines.

Risperidone vs. Risperdal: What’s the Difference?

The primary difference between Risperidone and Risperdal lies in nomenclature rather than the substance itself. Risperidone is the generic name of the drug, whereas Risperdal is a brand name under which the drug is marketed and sold.

In essence, Risperdal contains the active ingredient, risperidone. Both are classified as atypical antipsychotics, also known as second-generation antipsychotics, and are utilized in the management of several psychiatric disorders.

Understanding Risperidone and Risperdal

Risperidone functions by influencing the actions of certain chemicals, specifically dopamine and serotonin, in the brain. It’s prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults and adolescents aged 13 and older, bipolar disorder in adults and children aged 10 and above, and irritability associated with autistic disorder in children and adolescents aged 5 to 16.

Risperdal, the brand-name formulation of risperidone, essentially serves the same purpose and is prescribed for the same conditions.

Risperidone vs. Risperdal: Effectiveness and Side Effects

Since Risperdal contains risperidone, the effectiveness of these two is virtually identical when administered in equivalent doses. Both have been shown to significantly reduce symptoms and improve functioning in individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with autism.

The side effects of Risperdal and risperidone are also similar, given they contain the same active ingredient. Common side effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, increased appetite, weight gain, and constipation.

Long-term use can result in more serious side effects, such as tardive dyskinesia (a movement disorder), metabolic syndrome, neuroleptic malignant syndrome (a life-threatening neurological disorder), sexual side effects, and bone density loss.

Generic vs. Brand-Name: Cost Considerations

One significant difference between Risperdal (brand name) and risperidone (generic) is cost. Generally, generic drugs are less expensive than their brand-name counterparts while providing the same efficacy, safety, and strength. As such, risperidone may be a more cost-effective option for many patients.

However, it’s important to note that individual responses to medication can vary. Some individuals might respond differently to the generic version compared to the brand-name drug due to slight variations in the inactive ingredients, such as fillers and coloring agents.

Dosage: Risperidone and Risperdal

The dosage of risperidone or Risperdal depends on several factors, including the condition being treated, the patient’s age, overall health, and response to treatment.


For adults with schizophrenia, the initial recommended dosage of risperidone is 1 to 2 mg/day, which can be adjusted in increments of 1 to 2 mg/day, with a maximum recommended dose of 16 mg/day. For adolescents aged 13 and older, the starting dose is typically 0.5 mg/day, gradually increased to a maximum dose of 6 mg/day.

Bipolar Disorder

When treating bipolar disorder in adults, the recommended starting dosage is 2 to 3 mg/day. The dose may be adjusted in increments of 1 to 2 mg/day, as needed, up to a maximum dose of 6 mg/day. For children aged 10 to 17, the recommended starting dose is 0.5 mg/day and may be gradually increased to a maximum dose of 6 mg/day.

Autism-Related Irritability

For children aged 5 to 16 with irritability related to autistic disorder, the starting dose is typically 0.5 mg/day for those weighing less than 20 kg and 1 mg/day for those weighing 20 kg or more. The dose can be gradually increased by 0.5 mg/day, up to a maximum dose of 3.5 mg/day.

The dosage for Risperdal is the same as risperidone, considering that they are essentially the same medication.

It’s always crucial to take risperidone or Risperdal exactly as prescribed by your doctor. The medicine should not be stopped abruptly or without medical advice, as this may lead to withdrawal symptoms or worsening of the underlying condition.


While Risperidone and Risperdal are essentially the same medication, understanding their differences—from nomenclature to cost implications—can help patientsand caregivers make informed decisions about treatment. The dosage guidelines provided in this post should serve as a reference point, but remember, the most effective and safe dosage will always depend on the individual patient’s condition, age, overall health, and response to treatment.

Despite their efficacy in managing several psychiatric conditions, risperidone and Risperdal are not without potential side effects. It’s important to discuss these with your healthcare provider and monitor for any changes while on the medication.

Ultimately, the goal of any treatment is to improve the patient’s quality of life. Whether you choose risperidone or Risperdal, the decision should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional. They can provide the most accurate information based on a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s health history and current condition.

Remember, mental health is a journey, and finding the right treatment can take time. Patience, open communication, and the willingness to seek help are key elements towards achieving mental wellbeing.

There are various forms of drugs available, such as tablets or liquids, and each may have a separate patient information leaflet (PIL) for different doses. It is important to refer to the PIL for the specific form and dose of the drug that you have been prescribed.

You can search for further information and PILs on websites such as: