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How Effective Is Risperidone for ADHD?

By Lee Johnson
Updated Jan 28, 2024
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The use of risperidone for attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by itself is not generally considered an effective treatment. Research suggests that around one in three patients who take risperidone for ADHD show a reduction by 30 percent on the ADHD rating scale. It has also been shown in scientific research that risperidone used in combination with other medications can help to augment their effectiveness and treat other conditions that often occur in conjunction with ADHD. Using risperidone for ADHD can cause several side effects, such as abdominal pain, fatigue, and dizziness. One particularly notable side effect of the drug is hyperactivity.

Studies have shown that using risperidone for ADHD is not an effective treatment in itself. Research does indicate that it could possibly be beneficial for children suffering from ADHD, but this effectiveness is only very limited. Roughly one in three patients who take risperidone will show a 30 percent improvement in the symptoms of ADHD. This is based on the scale of ADHD symptoms used for diagnostic purposes. Results such as this are the reason that the use of risperidone for ADHD is not yet approved by any major regulating bodies.

Research has shown that the use of risperidone in conjunction with other treatments can improve their effectiveness in treating the condition. Essentially, risperidone is thought to increase the effectiveness of other drug treatments, and itself be improved by combination with other medications. Most of the time, risperidone will only be prescribed when the patient’s ADHD is combined with other conditions that risperidone does effectively treat, such as bipolar disorder. From these results, the effectiveness of risperidone for ADHD still isn’t clear, however, because the conditions both presented simultaneously.

Combination treatment using risperidone for ADHD isn’t associated with an increase in adverse effects. This is a positive result from research studies, because the ability of the drug to augment the effects of other ADHD medicines means that combination treatment may be a viable option. The side effects associated with most drugs mean that combinations of them can be dangerous in many cases. Patients taking an ordinary ADHD medication who are then given risperidone are only slightly more likely to experience weight gain, and no other side effects have any increased likelihood.

Possible side effects associated with the use of risperidone for ADHD include extrapyramidal movements, tiredness, fever, and nausea. One potential side effect which is particularly relevant is increased hyperactivity. This could obviously exacerbate the problem the drug is being used to treat, and is one good reason that the drug isn’t approved for treatment of ADHD.

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