Risperidone is a type of drug called an atypical antipsychotic. It is sold under a variety of brand names including Belivon, Rispen and Risperdal.
Risperidone is used to treat some of the symptoms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other mental health problems.
Risperidone is believed to work by changing the amount and action of several neurotransmitters in the brain, in particular serotonin and dopamine.
Risperidone is sometimes used to treat problem behaviours in autistic people, including aggression, self-injurious behaviours and sudden mood changes.
There is a significant amount of research evidence to suggest that risperidone may be beneficial for the treatment of various problems faced by people with autism, including irritability, repetition and hyperactivity.
However there are many potential side effects, especially weight gain, drowsiness and raised serum prolactin levels.
There is some research evidence to suggest that some other atypical anti-psychotics are beneficial in treating some of the problems faced by some autistic people.
Further research should be undertaken into the use of these drugs for the treatment of specific, severe symptoms, as each has a different side effect profile, and so might suit some people better.
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