Anxiety Medication Overview of Risperidone

Risperidone is the generic name of an atypical antipsychotic that is sometimes prescribed off-label to treat anxiety and anxiety disorders. It is sold generically and under the brand name Risperdal and is approved by the FDA to treat schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, manic or mixed episodes of bipolar disorder, and irritability in autistic children.

Risperidone is available as a tablet, oral liquid, injection, or wafer. The tablet or pill form is generally prescribed when risperidone is used to treat anxiety. At least one research study has found that low doses of the medication are effective in treating anxiety, specifically treatment-resistant generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Risperidone also appears to be effective for some people with treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but only when taken in combination with an SSRI.

Risperidone and other atypical antipsychotics can have sometimes serious side effects, including weight gain and metabolic problems, but they are generally less pronounced at lower doses of the medication. Atypical antipsychotics block dopamine receptors in the brain, but risperidone additionally has stronger blocking action for serotonin receptors.

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