Pharmacokinetics of Risperidone: Clinical Summary

Author: Flavio Guzman, MD

Risperidone is a second-generation antipsychotic metabolized by the enzyme cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6). It is available as long-acting injection (depot injection) as well as oral formulations.

This clinical summary highlights pharmacokinetic features relevant to mental health prescribers.


  • Oral formulations:
    • Tablets
    • Orally disintegrating tablets
    • Liquid formulation
  • Long-acting injection: risperidone microspheres (Risperdal Consta)

General pharmacokinetics


  • Volume of distribution: 1-2 L/kg.
  • Risperidone binds to albumin and alpha1-acid glycoprotein.
  • Plasma protein binding:
    • For risperidone: 90%
    • For 9-hydroxyrisperidone: 77%


Risperidone metabolism by CYP2D6

Risperidone metabolism by CYP2D6

  • CYP 2D6 is the enzyme that catalyzes hydroxylation of risperidone to 9-hydroxyrisperidone.
  • The metabolite 9-hydroxyrisperidone has similar pharmacological activity as risperidone.
  • CYP 2D6 is subject to genetic polymorphism:
    • Extensive metabolizers convert risperidone rapidly into 9-hydroxyrisperidone
    • Poor CYP 2D6 metabolizers convert risperidone much more slowly.
    • Pharmacokinetics of risperidone and 9-hydroxyrisperidone combined after single and multiple doses are similar in extensive and poor metabolizers.

Pharmacokinetics of Oral Formulations


  • Orally disintegrating tablets and oral solution are bioequivalent to tablets.
  • Rapidly absorbed after oral administration.
  • Peak plasma levels achieved within 1 hour.
  • Linear pharmacokinetics.
  • Time to reach steady state ( between 4 and 5 half-lives for all drugs):
    • For risperidone:
      • 1 day in extensive metabolizers.
      • 5 days in poor metabolizers.
    • For 9-hydroxyrisperidone:
      • 5-6 days, measured in extensive metabolizers.
  • Food effect: risperidone can be administered with or without meals.


  • Apparent half-life of risperidone:
    • 3 hours in extensive metabolizers
    • 20 hours in poor metabolizers
  • Apparent half-life of 9-hydroxyrisperidone:
    • 21 hours in extensive metabolizers
    • 30 hours in poor metabolizers

Pharmacokinetics of Long-Acting Injection (Risperidone Microspheres)

  • Risperidone microspheres release considerable amounts of drug 3 weeks after injection.
  • Long-acting risperidone should be supplemented with oral risperidone for 3 weeks.


  • Apparent half-life or risperidone plus 9-hydroxyrisperidone is 3 to 6 days (related to the erosion of the microspheres and subsequent absorption of risperidone).

Related Information on Risperidone


  1. Janicak, P G., Marder S R., and. Pavuluri M N. Principles and Practice of Psychopharmacotherapy. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010.
  2. Stahl, S M. The Prescriber’s Guide. 4th ed. New York: Cambrigde University Press; 2011
  3. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Risperdal prescribing information. Retrieved from [retrieval date: April 12, 2013]
  4. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Risperdal Consta prescribing information. Retrieved from



Earn CME/SA credits

  • Up to 36 CME credits/year
  • Up to 16 SA credits/year
  • Download more than 70 videos
  • Exclusive updates

Free Course: “SSRIs: The Essentials”

Learn the essentials of SSRIs with our free online course.

One module per week:

  • The Mechanism of Action of SSRIs
  • Fluoxetine
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Paroxetine
  • Sertraline
  • Citalopram and Escitalopram

2019-20 Psychopharmacology Online Update

Earn Up to 36 CME Credits / Year

  • Access exclusive updates: new videos every month
  • Download our entire library: more than 70 videos
  • Earn up to 36 CME credits /year