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Neurology. 1999 Mar 10;52(4):782-5.

Neurologic side effects in neuroleptic-naive patients treated with haloperidol or risperidone.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University Medical Centre, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.



To compare the side effect profile of risperidone with that of oral haloperidol in patients with no previous exposure to antipsychotic drugs (APDs).


Early studies suggested that the APD risperidone may have a side effect profile comparable with that of placebo. These early studies involved patients with chronic schizophrenia and a long history of APD use. Very little information is available regarding the neurologic side effects of risperidone in patients without previous APD exposure.


The authors prospectively studied 350 consecutive neuroleptic-naive patients admitted to their acute-care psychiatry service; 34 of these were treated with risperidone (mean dose, 3.2 mg/d) and 212 were treated with low-dose haloperidol (mean dose 3.7 mg/d). All patients were assessed on admission and twice weekly thereafter using rating scales for dystonia, parkinsonism, akathisia, and dyskinesia.


The incidence and severity of dystonic reactions, akathisia, parkinsonism, and dyskinesia were comparable in the risperidone- and haloperidol-treated groups.


The neurologic side effect profile of low-dose risperidone is comparable with that of haloperidol in patients receiving APDs for the first time. Risperidone may not be a useful alternative to typical APDs for patients with PD and psychosis.

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