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my mother is 52 and she has been taking riserperidone for 3 years now.but the problem is that she discontinues the drug everytime her symptoms subside.can this harm her.and can i replace it with any other drug?

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There are no issues with discontinuing risperidone other than resumption of symptoms.

There are several alternatives to risperidone for the treatment of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or irritability due to autism (you didn't mention why she was taking the medication). Other atypical antipsychotic medications include:

• Aripiprazole (Abilify®)
• Clozapine (Clozaril®, FazaClo®)
• Olanzapine (Zyprexa®)
• Paliperidone (Invega®)
• Quetiapine (Seroquel®)
• Ziprasidone (Geodon®).

Older, "typical" antipsychotics are also approved to treat schizophrenia. Haloperidol (Haldol®) and thioridazine (Mellaril®) are examples of typical antipsychotics.

Mood stabilizer bipolar medications (which are alternatives to risperidone for treating bipolar disorder) can include:

• Carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Epitol®, Equetro™, Tegretol®, Tegretol XR®)
• Divalproex sodium (Depakote®, Depakote ER®)
• Lamotrigine (Lamictal®)
• Lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®)
• Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal®)
• Topiramate (Topamax®)
• Valproic acid (Depakene®).

Not all of the medications listed above are approved to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or autism. However, they are commonly used "off-label" for the treatment of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In fact, risperidone is the only medication approved to treat irritability due to autism.
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