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J Clin Psychiatry. 2000 Dec;61(12):909-11.

Safety and tolerability of a rapidly escalating dose-loading regimen for risperidone.

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  • 1Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit, University of California, San Diego Medical Center, 92103-8218, USA.



Risperidone is an "atypical" antipsychotic with strong binding affinity for dopamine-2 and serotonin-2 receptors. Risperidone is often used to treat hospitalized patients who have acute psychotic decompensation, and the therapeutic target dose commonly used is 2 to 6 mg/day. The most common clinical practice is to titrate the dose of risperidone to the target therapeutic dose over several days. This study investigated the safety and tolerability of a rapid oral-loading regimen for risperidone developed to achieve therapeutic doses of this antipsychotic within 24 hours.


Rapid-loaded risperidone was initiated with 1 mg. Subsequent doses were increased by 1 mg every 6 to 8 hours up to 3 mg. Dose increases were contingent on tolerance of last administered dose.


Of a sample of 11 consecutive inpatients admitted to an acute psychiatric facility who were treated with this protocol, 7 tolerated the most rapid titration, achieving a standing dose of 3 mg b.i.d. in 16 hours. Three required a slightly slower titration and achieved this target dose in 24 hours. One patient could not tolerate the 3-mg dose but tolerated a standing regimen of 2 mg t.i.d. No patient experienced serious extrapyramidal side effects, sedation, or any other adverse event during the rapid titration, and in no case did risperidone have to be discontinued.


These results suggest that aggressive dosing of risperidone is well tolerated in most psychiatric inpatients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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