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Ask the Experts


My brother, age 39, was admitted to the hospital because he had delusions and paranoia. The physician there said she would increase his dose of an antipsychotic drug called risperidone. What is this drug and what is it normally used for? What are its benefits and drawbacks, including side effects? How can my parents and I find out my brother’s prognosis?

Answered by: Thomas Smith

Risperdal (generic name: risperidone) is an "antipsychotic" medication, meaning it is typically used to treat symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized thinking. It is one of the more commonly prescribed antipsychotic medications, and often helps to control psychotic symptoms over a 2-3 week period. Side effects (not seen in every patient) may include sedation, weight gain, and muscle stiffness or tremors.

You should encourage your brother to give his doctor permission to talk to his family. You should then ask for a meeting with his social worker and psychiatrist to review his condition, treatment, and follow-up plans. It is very important to involve family members as much as possible in the care of someone with psychotic symptoms, and family members should not hesitate to ask for information about how they can help.

The website you are visiting lists treatment options for further evaluation.