Medically reviewed by Kovalenko Svetlana Olegovna, PharmD. Last updated on 02.04.2022
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Zargus is indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia.
Zargus is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe manic episodes associated with bipolar disorders.
Zargus is indicated for the short-term treatment (up to 6 weeks) of persistent aggression in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's dementia unresponsive to non-pharmacological approaches and when there is a risk of harm to self or others.
Zargus is indicated for the short-term symptomatic treatment (up to 6 weeks) of persistent aggression in conduct disorder in children from the age of 5 years and adolescents with subaverage intellectual functioning or mental retardation diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria, in whom the severity of aggressive or other disruptive behaviours require pharmacologic treatment. Pharmacological treatment should be an integral part of a more comprehensive treatment programme, including psychosocial and educational intervention. It is recommended that risperidone be prescribed by a specialist in child neurology and child and adolescent psychiatry or physicians well familiar with the treatment of conduct disorder of children and adolescents.
Zargus may be given once daily or twice daily.
Patients should start with 2 mg/day risperidone. The dosage may be increased on the second day to 4 mg. Subsequently, the dosage can be maintained unchanged, or further individualised, if needed. Most patients will benefit from daily doses between 4 and 6 mg. In some patients, a slower titration phase and a lower starting and maintenance dose may be appropriate.
Doses above 10 mg/day have not demonstrated superior efficacy to lower doses and may cause increased incidence of extrapyramidal symptoms. Safety of doses above 16 mg/day has not been evaluated, and are therefore not recommended.
A starting dose of 0.5 mg twice daily is recommended. This dosage can be individually adjusted with 0.5 mg twice daily increments to 1 to 2 mg twice daily.
Risperidone is not recommended for use in children below age 18 with schizophrenia due to a lack of data on efficacy.
Manic episodes in bipolar disorder
Zargus should be administered on a once daily schedule, starting with 2 mg risperidone. Dosage adjustments, if indicated, should occur at intervals of not less than 24 hours and in dosage increments of 1 mg per day. Risperidone can be administered in flexible doses over a range of 1 to 6 mg per day to optimise each patient's level of efficacy and tolerability. Daily doses over 6 mg risperidone have not been investigated in patients with manic episodes.
As with all symptomatic treatments, the continued use of Zargus must be evaluated and justified on an ongoing basis.
A starting dose of 0.5 mg twice daily is recommended. This dosage can be individually adjusted with 0.5 mg twice daily increments to 1 to 2 mg twice daily. Since clinical experience in elderly is limited, caution should be exercised.
Risperidone is not recommended for use in children below age 18 with bipolar mania due to a lack of data on efficacy.
Persistent aggression in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's dementia
A starting dose of 0.25 mg twice daily is recommended. This dosage can be individually adjusted by increments of 0.25 mg twice daily, not more frequently than every other day, if needed. The optimum dose is 0.5 mg twice daily for most patients. Some patients, however, may benefit from doses up to 1 mg twice daily.
Zargus should not be used more than 6 weeks in patients with persistent aggression in Alzheimer's dementia. During treatment, patients must be evaluated frequently and regularly, and the need for continuing treatment reassessed.
Children and adolescents from 5 to 18 years of age
For subjects > 50 kg, a starting dose of 0.5 mg once daily is recommended. This dosage can be individually adjusted by increments of 0.5 mg once daily not more frequently than every other day, if needed. The optimum dose is 1 mg once daily for most patients. Some patients, however, may benefit from 0.5 mg once daily while others may require 1.5 mg once daily. For subjects < 50 kg, a starting dose of 0.25 mg once daily is recommended. This dosage can be individually adjusted by increments of 0.25 mg once daily not more frequently than every other day, if needed. The optimum dose is 0.5 mg once daily for most patients. Some patients, however, may benefit from 0.25 mg once daily while others may require 0.75 mg once daily.
As with all symptomatic treatments, the continued use of Zargus must be evaluated and justified on an ongoing basis.
Zargus is not recommended in children less than 5 years of age, as there is no experience in children less than 5 years of age with this disorder.
Renal and hepatic impairment
Patients with renal impairment have less ability to eliminate the active antipsychotic fraction than in adults with normal renal function. Patients with impaired hepatic function have increases in plasma concentration of the free fraction of risperidone.
Irrespective of the indication, starting and consecutive dosing should be halved, and dose titration should be slower for patients with renal or hepatic impairment.
Zargus should be used with caution in these groups of patients.
Method of administration
Zargus is for oral use. Food does not affect the absorption of Zargus.
Upon discontinuation, gradual withdrawal is advised. Acute withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, sweating, and insomnia have very rarely been described after abrupt cessation of high doses of antipsychotic medicines. Recurrence of psychotic symptoms may also occur, and the emergence of involuntary movement disorders (such as akathisia, dystonia and dyskinesia) has been reported.
Switching from other antipsychotics
When medically appropriate, gradual discontinuation of the previous treatment while Zargus therapy is initiated is recommended. Also, if medically appropriate, when switching patients from depot antipsychotics, initiate Zargus therapy in place of the next scheduled injection. The need for continuing existing anti-Parkinson medicines should be re-evaluated periodically.
Elderly patients with dementia
Increased mortality in elderly people with dementia
In a meta-analysis of 17 controlled trials of atypical antipsychotics, including Zargus, elderly patients with dementia treated with atypical antipsychotics have an increased mortality compared to placebo. In placebo-controlled trials with oral Zargus in this population, the incidence of mortality was 4.0% for Zargus-treated patients compared to 3.1% for placebo-treated patients. The odds ratio (95% exact confidence interval) was 1.21 (0.7; 2.1). The mean age (range) of patients who died was 86 years (range 67-100). Data from two large observational studies showed that elderly people with dementia who are treated with conventional antipsychotics are also at a small increased risk of death compared with those who are not treated. There are insufficient data to give a firm estimate of the precise magnitude of the risk and the cause of the increased risk is not known. The extent to which the findings of increased mortality in observational studies may be attributed to the antipsychotic drug as opposed to some characteristic(s) of the patients is not clear.
Concomitant use with furosemide
In the Zargus placebo-controlled trials in elderly patients with dementia, a higher incidence of mortality was observed in patients treated with furosemide plus risperidone (7.3%; mean age 89 years, range 75-97) when compared to patients treated with risperidone alone (3.1%; mean age 84 years, range 70-96) or furosemide alone (4.1%; mean age 80 years, range 67-90). The increase in mortality in patients treated with furosemide plus risperidone was observed in two of the four clinical trials. Concomitant use of risperidone with other diuretics (mainly thiazide diuretics used in low dose) was not associated with similar findings.
No pathophysiological mechanism has been identified to explain this finding, and no consistent pattern for cause of death observed. Nevertheless, caution should be exercised and the risks and benefits of this combination or co-treatment with other potent diuretics should be considered prior to the decision to use. There was no increased incidence of mortality among patients taking other diuretics as concomitant treatment with risperidone. Irrespective of treatment, dehydration was an overall risk factor for mortality and should therefore be carefully avoided in elderly patients with dementia.
Cerebrovascular adverse events (CVAE)
An approximately 3-fold increased risk of cerebrovascular adverse events have been seen in randomised placebo-controlled clinical trials in the dementia population with some atypical antipsychotics. The pooled data from six placebo-controlled studies with Zargus in mainly elderly patients (> 65 years of age) with dementia showed that CVAEs (serious and non-serious, combined) occurred in 3.3% (33/1,009) of patients treated with risperidone and 1.2% (8/712) of patients treated with placebo. The odds ratio (95% exact confidence interval) was 2.96 (1.34; 7.50). The mechanism for this increased risk is not known. An increased risk cannot be excluded for other antipsychotics or other patient populations. Zargus should be used with caution in patients with risk factors for stroke.
The risk of CVAEs was significantly higher in patients with mixed or vascular type of dementia when compared to Alzheimer's dementia. Therefore, patients with other types of dementias than Alzheimer's should not be treated with risperidone.
Physicians are advised to assess the risks and benefits of the use of Zargus in elderly patients with dementia, taking into account risk predictors for stroke in the individual patient. Patients/caregivers should be cautioned to immediately report signs and symptoms of potential CVAEs such as sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arms or legs, and speech or vision problems. All treatment options should be considered without delay, including discontinuation of risperidone.
Zargus should only be used short term for persistent aggression in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's dementia to supplement non-pharmacological approaches which have had limited or no efficacy and when there is potential risk of harm to self or others.
Patients should be reassessed regularly, and the need for continuing treatment reassessed.
Due to the alpha-blocking activity of risperidone, (orthostatic) hypotension can occur, especially during the initial dose-titration period. Clinically significant hypotension has been observed post-marketing with concomitant use of risperidone and antihypertensive treatment. Zargus should be used with caution in patients with known cardiovascular disease (e.g., heart failure, myocardial infarction, conduction abnormalities, dehydration, hypovolaemia, or cerebrovascular disease), and the dosage should be gradually titrated as recommended. A dose reduction should be considered if hypotension occurs.
Leukopenia, neutropenia, and agranulocytosis
Events of leucopenia, neutropenia and agranulocytosis have been reported with antipsychotic agents, including Zargus. Agranulocytosis has been reported very rarely (< 1/10,000 patients) during post-marketing surveillance.
Patients with a history of a clinically significant low white blood cell count (WBC) or a drug-induced leukopenia/neutropenia should be monitored during the first few months of therapy and discontinuation of Zargus should be considered at the first sign of a clinically significant decline in WBC in the absence of other causative factors.
Patients with clinically significant neutropenia should be carefully monitored for fever or other symptoms or signs of infection and treated promptly if such symptoms or signs occur. Patients with severe neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count < 1 Ã— 109/L) should discontinue Zargus and have their WBC followed until recovery.
Tardive dyskinesia/extrapyramidal symptoms (TD/EPS)
Medicines with dopamine receptor antagonistic properties have been associated with the induction of tardive dyskinesia characterised by rhythmical involuntary movements, predominantly of the tongue and/or face. The onset of extrapyramidal symptoms is a risk factor for tardive dyskinesia. If signs and symptoms of tardive dyskinesia appear, the discontinuation of all antipsychotics should be considered.
Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS)
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, characterised by hyperthermia, muscle rigidity, autonomic instability, altered consciousness and elevated serum creatine phosphokinase levels has been reported to occur with antipsychotics. Additional signs may include myoglobinuria (rhabdomyolysis) and acute renal failure. In this event, all antipsychotics, including Zargus, should be discontinued.
Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies
Physicians should weigh the risks versus the benefits when prescribing antipsychotics, including Zargus, to patients with Parkinson's Disease or Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). Parkinson's Disease may worsen with risperidone. Both groups may be at increased risk of Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome as well as having an increased sensitivity to antipsychotic medicinal products; these patients were excluded from clinical trials. Manifestation of this increased sensitivity can include confusion, obtundation, postural instability with frequent falls, in addition to extrapyramidal symptoms.
Hyperglycaemia and diabetes mellitus
Hyperglycaemia, diabetes mellitus, and exacerbation of pre-existing diabetes have been reported during treatment with Zargus. In some cases, a prior increase in body weight has been reported which may be a predisposing factor. Association with ketoacidosis has been reported very rarely and rarely with diabetic coma. Appropriate clinical monitoring is advisable in accordance with utilised antipsychotic guidelines. Patients treated with any atypical antipsychotic, including Zargus, should be monitored for symptoms of hyperglycaemia (such as polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia and weakness) and patients with diabetes mellitus should be monitored regularly for worsening of glucose control.
Significant weight gain has been reported with Zargus use. Weight should be monitored regularly.
Hyperprolactinaemia is a common side effect of treatment with Zargus. Evaluation of the prolactin plasma level is recommended in patients with evidence of possible prolactin-related side effects (e.g., gynaecomastia, menstrual disorders, anovulation, fertility disorder, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and galactorrhea).
Tissue culture studies suggest that cell growth in human breast tumours may be stimulated by prolactin. Although no clear association with the administration of antipsychotics has so far been demonstrated in clinical and epidemiological studies, caution is recommended in patients with relevant medical history. Zargus should be used with caution in patients with pre-existing hyperprolactinaemia and in patients with possible prolactin-dependent tumours.
QT prolongation has very rarely been reported post-marketing. As with other antipsychotics, caution should be exercised when risperidone is prescribed in patients with known cardiovascular disease, family history of QT prolongation, bradycardia, or electrolyte disturbances (hypokalaemia, hypomagnesaemia), as it may increase the risk of arrhythmogenic effects, and in concomitant use with medicines known to prolong the QT interval.
Zargus should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures or other conditions that potentially lower the seizure threshold.
Priapism may occur with Zargus treatment due to its alpha-adrenergic blocking effects.
Body temperature regulation
Disruption of the body's ability to reduce core body temperature has been attributed to antipsychotic medicines. Appropriate care is advised when prescribing Zargus to patients who will be experiencing conditions which may contribute to an elevation in core body temperature, e.g., exercising strenuously, exposure to extreme heat, receiving concomitant treatment with anticholinergic activity, or being subject to dehydration.
An antiemetic effect was observed in preclinical studies with risperidone. This effect, if it occurs in humans, may mask the signs and symptoms of overdosage with certain medicines or of conditions such as intestinal obstruction, Reye's syndrome, and brain tumour.
Renal and hepatic impairment
Patients with renal impairment have less ability to eliminate the active antipsychotic fraction than adults with normal renal function. Patients with impaired hepatic function have increases in plasma concentration of the free fraction of risperidone.
Cases of venous thromboembolism (VTE) have been reported with antipsychotic drugs. Since patients treated with antipsychotics often present with acquired risk factors for VTE, all possible risk factors for VTE should be identified before and during treatment with Zargus and preventative measures undertaken.
Intraoperative floppy iris syndrome
Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (IFIS) has been observed during cataract surgery in patients treated with medicines with alpha1a-adrenergic antagonist effect, including Zargus.
IFIS may increase the risk of eye complications during and after the operation. Current or past use of medicines with alpha1a-adrenergic antagonist effect should be made known to the ophthalmic surgeon in advance of surgery. The potential benefit of stopping alpha1-blocking therapy prior to cataract surgery has not been established and must be weighed against the risk of stopping the antipsychotic therapy.
Before risperidone is prescribed to a child or adolescent with conduct disorder they should be fully assessed for physical and social causes of the aggressive behaviour such as pain or inappropriate environmental demands.
The sedative effect of risperidone should be closely monitored in this population because of possible consequences on learning ability. A change in the time of administration of risperidone could improve the impact of the sedation on attention faculties of children and adolescents.
Risperidone was associated with mean increases in body weight and body mass index (BMI). Baseline weight measurement prior to treatment and regular weight monitoring are recommended. Changes in height in the long-term open-label extension studies were within expected age-appropriate norms. The effect of long-term risperidone treatment on sexual maturation and height has not been adequately studied.
Because of the potential effects of prolonged hyperprolactinaemia on growth and sexual maturation in children and adolescents, regular clinical evaluation of endocrinological status should be considered, including measurements of height, weight, sexual maturation, monitoring of menstrual functioning, and other potential prolactin-related effects.
Results from a small post-marketing observational study showed that risperidone-exposed subjects between the ages of 8-16 years were on average approximately 3.0 to 4.8 cm taller than those who received other atypical antipsychotic medications. This study was not adequate to determine whether exposure to risperidone had any impact on final adult height, or whether the result was due to a direct effect of risperidone on bone growth, or the effect of the underlying disease itself on bone growth, or the result of better control of the underlying disease with resulting increase in linear growth.
During treatment with risperidone regular examination for extrapyramidal symptoms and other movement disorders should also be conducted.
The film-coated tablets contain lactose. Patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not take this medicine. (Pertains only to the film-coated tablets.)
Contains sunset yellow (E110). May cause allergic reactions. (Pertains only to the 2 mg and 6 mg film-coated tablets.)
Zargus can have minor or moderate influence on the ability to drive and use machines due to potential nervous system and visual effects. Therefore, patients should be advised not to drive or operate machinery until their individual susceptibility is known.
The most frequently reported adverse drug reactions (ADRs) (incidence > 10%) are: Parkinsonism, sedation/somnolence, headache, and insomnia.
The ADRs that appeared to be dose-related included parkinsonism and akathisia.
The following are all the ADRs that were reported in clinical trials and post-marketing experience with risperidone by frequency category estimated from Zargus clinical trials. The following terms and frequencies are applied: very common (> 1/10), common (> 1/100 to < 1/10), uncommon (> 1/1,000 to < 1/100), rare (> 1/10,000 to < 1/1,000) and very rare (< 1/10,000).
Within each frequency grouping, undesirable effects are presented in order of decreasing seriousness.
System Organ Class
Adverse Drug Reaction
Infections and infestations
pneumonia, bronchitis, upper respiratory tract infection, sinusitis, urinary tract infection, ear infection, influenza
respiratory tract infection, cystitis, eye infection, tonsillitis, onychomycosis, cellulitis localised infection, viral infection, acarodermatitis
Blood and lymphatic system disorders
neutropenia, white blood cell count decreased, thrombocytopenia, anaemia, haematocrit decreased, eosinophil count increased
Immune system disorders
inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion, glucose urine present
Metabolism and nutrition disorders
weight increased, increased appetite, decreased appetite
diabetes mellitusb, hyperglycaemia, polydipsia, weight decreased, anorexia, blood cholesterol increased
water intoxicationc, hypoglycaemia, hyperinsulinaemiac, blood triglycerides increased
sleep disorder, agitation, depression, anxiety
mania, confusional state, libido decreased, nervousness, nightmare
blunted affect, anorgasmia
Nervous system disorders
sedation/ somnolence, parkinsonismd, headache
akathisiad, dystoniad, dizziness, dyskinesiad, tremor
tardive dyskinesia, cerebral ischaemia, unresponsive to stimuli, loss of consciousness, depressed level of consciousness, convulsiond, syncope, psychomotor hyperactivity, balance disorder, coordination abnormal, dizziness postural, disturbance in attention, dysarthria, dysgeusia, hypoaesthesia, paraesthesia
neuroleptic malignant syndrome, cerebrovascular disorder, diabetic coma, head titubation
vision blurred, conjunctivitis
photophobia, dry eye, lacrimation increased, ocular hyperaemia
glaucoma, eye movement disorder, eye rolling, eyelid margin crusting, floppy iris syndrome (intraoperative)c
Ear and labyrinth disorders
vertigo, tinnitus, ear pain
atrial fibrillation, atrioventricular block, conduction disorder, electrocardiogram QT prolonged, bradycardia, electrocardiogram abnormal, palpitations
hypotension, orthostatic hypotension, flushing
pulmonary embolism, venous thrombosis
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders
dyspnoea, pharyngolaryngeal pain, cough, epistaxis, nasal congestion
pneumonia aspiration, pulmonary congestion, respiratory tract congestion, rales, wheezing, dysphonia, respiratory disorder
sleep apnoea syndrome, hyperventilation
abdominal pain, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, dry mouth, toothache
faecal incontinence, faecaloma, gastroenteritis, dysphagia, flatulence
pancreatitis, intestinal obstruction, swollen tongue, cheilitis
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders
urticaria, pruritus, alopecia, hyperkeratosis, eczema, dry skin, skin discolouration, acne, seborrhoeic dermatitis, skin disorder, skin lesion
drug eruption, dandruff
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders
muscle spasms, musculoskeletal pain, back pain, arthralgia
blood creatine phosphokinase increased, posture abnormal, joint stiffness, joint swelling muscular weakness, neck pain
Renal and urinary disorders
pollakiuria, urinary retention, dysuria
Pregnancy, puerperium, and neonatal conditions
drug withdrawal syndrome neonatalc
Reproductive system and breast disorders
erectile dysfunction, ejaculation disorder, amenorrhoea, menstrual disorderd, gynaecomastia, galactorrhoea, sexual dysfunction, breast pain, breast discomfort, vaginal discharge
priapismc, menstruation delayed, breast engorgement, breast enlargement, breast discharge
General disorders and administration site conditions
oedemad, pyrexia, chest pain, asthenia, fatigue, pain
face oedema, chills, body temperature increased, gait abnormal, thirst, chest discomfort, malaise, feeling abnormal, discomfort
hypothermia, body temperature decreased, peripheral coldness, drug withdrawal syndrome, indurationc
transaminases increased, gamma-glutamyltransferase increased, hepatic enzyme increased
Injury, poisoning and procedural complications
a Hyperprolactinaemia can in some cases lead to gynaecomastia, menstrual disturbances, amenorrhoea, anovulation, galactorrhea, fertility disorder, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction.
b In placebo-controlled trials diabetes mellitus was reported in 0.18% in risperidone-treated subjects compared to a rate of 0.11% in placebo group. Overall incidence from all clinical trials was 0.43% in all risperidone-treated subjects.
c Not observed in Zargus clinical studies but observed in post-marketing environment with risperidone.
d Extrapyramidal disorder may occur: Parkinsonism (salivary hypersecretion, musculoskeletal stiffness, parkinsonism, drooling, cogwheel rigidity, bradykinesia, hypokinesia, masked facies, muscle tightness, akinesia, nuchal rigidity, muscle rigidity, parkinsonian gait, and glabellar reflex abnormal, parkinsonian rest tremor), akathisia (akathisia, restlessness, hyperkinesia, and restless leg syndrome), tremor, dyskinesia (dyskinesia, muscle twitching, choreoathetosis, athetosis, and myoclonus), dystonia. Dystonia includes dystonia, hypertonia, torticollis, muscle contractions involuntary, muscle contracture, blepharospasm, oculogyration, tongue paralysis, facial spasm, laryngospasm, myotonia, opisthotonus, oropharyngeal spasm, pleurothotonus, tongue spasm, and trismus. It should be noted that a broader spectrum of symptoms are included, that do not necessarily have an extrapyramidal origin. Insomnia includes initial insomnia, middle insomnia. Convulsion includes grand mal convulsion. Menstrual disorder includes menstruation irregular, oligomenorrhoea. Oedema includes generalised oedema, oedema peripheral, pitting oedema.
Undesirable effects noted with paliperidone formulations
Paliperidone is the active metabolite of risperidone, therefore, the adverse reaction profiles of these compounds (including both the oral and injectable formulations) are relevant to one another. In addition to the above adverse reactions, the following adverse reaction has been noted with the use of paliperidone products and can be expected to occur with Zargus.
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome
As with other antipsychotics, very rare cases of QT prolongation have been reported post-marketing with risperidone. Other class-related cardiac effects reported with antipsychotics which prolong QT interval include ventricular arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, sudden death, cardiac arrest and Torsades de Pointes.
Cases of venous thromboembolism, including cases of pulmonary embolism and cases of deep vein thrombosis, have been reported with antipsychotic drugs (frequency unknown).
The proportions of Zargus and placebo-treated adult patients with schizophrenia meeting a weight gain criterion of > 7% of body weight were compared in a pool of 6- to 8-week, placebo-controlled trials, revealing a statistically significantly greater incidence of weight gain for Zargus (18%) compared to placebo (9%). In a pool of placebo-controlled 3-week studies in adult patients with acute mania, the incidence of weight increase of > 7% at endpoint was comparable in the Zargus (2.5%) and placebo (2.4%) groups, and was slightly higher in the active-control group (3.5%).
In a population of children and adolescents with conduct and other disruptive behaviour disorders, in long-term studies, weight increased by a mean of 7.3 kg after 12 months of treatment. The expected weight gain for normal children between 5-12 years of age is 3 to 5 kg per year. From 12-16 years of age, this magnitude of gaining 3 to 5 kg per year is maintained for girls, while boys gain approximately 5 kg per year.
Additional information on special populations
Adverse drug reactions that were reported with higher incidence in elderly patients with dementia or paediatric patients than in adult populations are described below:
Elderly patients with dementia
Transient ischaemic attack and cerebrovascular accident were ADRs reported in clinical trials with a frequency of 1.4% and 1.5%, respectively, in elderly patients with dementia. In addition, the following ADRs were reported with a frequency > 5% in elderly patients with dementia and with at least twice the frequency seen in other adult populations: urinary tract infection, peripheral oedema, lethargy, and cough.
In general, type of adverse reactions in children is expected to be similar to those observed in adults.
The following ADRs were reported with a frequency > 5% in paediatric patients (5 to 17 years) and with at least twice the frequency seen in clinical trials in adults: somnolence/sedation, fatigue, headache, increased appetite, vomiting, upper respiratory tract infection, nasal congestion, abdominal pain, dizziness, cough, pyrexia, tremor, diarrhoea, and enuresis.<â€œPaediatric populationâ€).
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
In general, reported signs and symptoms have been those resulting from an exaggeration of the known pharmacological effects of risperidone. These include drowsiness and sedation, tachycardia and hypotension, and extrapyramidal symptoms. In overdose, QT prolongation and convulsions have been reported. Torsade de Pointes has been reported in association with combined overdose of Zargus and paroxetine.
In case of acute overdose, the possibility of multiple drug involvement should be considered.
Establish and maintain a clear airway and ensure adequate oxygenation and ventilation. Gastric lavage (after intubation, if the patient is unconscious) and administration of activated charcoal together with a laxative should be considered only when drug intake was less than one hour before. Cardiovascular monitoring should commence immediately and should include continuous electrocardiographic monitoring to detect possible arrhythmias.
There is no specific antidote to Zargus. Therefore, appropriate supportive measures should be instituted. Hypotension and circulatory collapse should be treated with appropriate measures such as intravenous fluids and/or sympathomimetic agents. In case of severe extrapyramidal symptoms, an anticholinergic medicinal product should be administered. Close medical supervision and monitoring should continue until the patient recovers.
Pharmacotherapeutic group: Other antipsychotics, ATC code: N05AX08.
Mechanism of action
Risperidone is a selective monoaminergic antagonist with unique properties. It has a high affinity for serotoninergic 5-HT2 and dopaminergic D2 receptors. Risperidone binds also to alpha1-adrenergic receptors, and, with lower affinity, to H1-histaminergic and alpha2-adrenergic receptors. Risperidone has no affinity for cholinergic receptors. Although risperidone is a potent D2 antagonist, which is considered to improve the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, it causes less depression of motor activity and induction of catalepsy than classical antipsychotics. Balanced central serotonin and dopamine antagonism may reduce extrapyramidal side effect liability and extend the therapeutic activity to the negative and affective symptoms of schizophrenia.
The efficacy of risperidone in the short-term treatment of schizophrenia was established in four studies, 4 to 8 weeks in duration, which enrolled over 2,500 patients who met DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia. In a 6-week, placebo-controlled trial involving titration of risperidone in doses up to 10 mg/day administered twice daily, risperidone was superior to placebo on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) total score. In an 8-week, placebo-controlled trial involving four fixed doses of risperidone (2, 6, 10, and 16 mg/day, administered twice daily), all four risperidone groups were superior to placebo on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score. In an 8-week, dose comparison trial involving five fixed doses of risperidone (1, 4, 8, 12, and 16 mg/day administered twice daily), the 4, 8, and 16 mg/day risperidone dose groups were superior to the 1 mg risperidone dose group on PANSS total score. In a 4-week, placebo-controlled dose comparison trial involving two fixed doses of risperidone (4 and 8 mg/day administered once daily), both risperidone dose groups were superior to placebo on several PANSS measures, including total PANSS and a response measure (> 20% reduction in PANSS total score). In a longer-term trial, adult outpatients predominantly meeting DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia and who had been clinically stable for at least 4 weeks on an antipsychotic medicinal product were randomised to risperidone 2 to 8 mg/day or to haloperidol for 1 to 2 years of observation for relapse. Patients receiving risperidone experienced a significantly longer time to relapse over this time period compared to those receiving haloperidol.
Manic episodes in bipolar disorder
The efficacy of risperidone monotherapy in the acute treatment of manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder was demonstrated in three double-blind, placebo-controlled monotherapy studies in approximately 820 patients who had bipolar I disorder, based on DSM-IV criteria. In the three studies, risperidone 1 to 6 mg/day (starting dose 3 mg in two studies and 2 mg in one study) was shown to be significantly superior to placebo on the pre-specified primary endpoint, i.e., the change from baseline in total Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) score at week 3. Secondary efficacy outcomes were generally consistent with the primary outcome. The percentage of patients with a decrease of > 50% in total YMRS score from baseline to the 3-week endpoint was significantly higher for risperidone than for placebo. One of the three studies included a haloperidol arm and a 9-week double-blind maintenance phase. Efficacy was maintained throughout the 9-week maintenance treatment period. Change from baseline in total YMRS showed continued improvement and was comparable between risperidone and haloperidol at week 12.
The efficacy of risperidone in addition to mood stabilisers in the treatment of acute mania was demonstrated in one of two 3-week double-blind studies in approximately 300 patients who met the DSM-IV criteria for bipolar I disorder. In one 3-week study, risperidone 1 to 6 mg/day starting at 2 mg/day in addition to lithium or valproate was superior to lithium or valproate alone on the pre-specified primary endpoint, i.e., the change from baseline in YMRS total score at week 3. In a second 3-week study, risperidone 1 to 6 mg/day starting at 2 mg/day, combined with lithium, valproate, or carbamazepine was not superior to lithium, valproate, or carbamazepine alone in the reduction of YMRS total score. A possible explanation for the failure of this study was induction of risperidone and 9-hydroxy-risperidone clearance by carbamazepine, leading to subtherapeutic levels of risperidone and 9-hydroxy-risperidone. When the carbamazepine group was excluded in a post-hoc analysis, risperidone combined with lithium or valproate was superior to lithium or valproate alone in the reduction of YMRS total score.
Persistent aggression in dementia
The efficacy of risperidone in the treatment of Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD), which includes behavioural disturbances, such as aggressiveness, agitation, psychosis, activity, and affective disturbances was demonstrated in three double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in 1,150 elderly patients with moderate to severe dementia.).
The efficacy of risperidone in the short-term treatment of disruptive behaviours was demonstrated in two double-blind placebo-controlled studies in approximately 240 patients 5 to 12 years of age with a DSM-IV diagnosis of disruptive behaviour disorders (DBD) and borderline intellectual functioning or mild or moderate mental retardation/learning disorder. In the two studies, risperidone 0.02 to 0.06 mg/kg/day was significantly superior to placebo on the pre-specified primary endpoint, i.e., the change from baseline in the Conduct Problem subscale of the Nisonger-Child Behaviour Rating Form (N-CBRF) at week 6.
Zargus orodispersible tablets and oral solution are bioequivalent to Zargus film-coated tablets.
Risperidone is metabolised to 9-hydroxy-risperidone, which has a similar pharmacological activity to risperidone (see Biotransformation and Elimination).
Risperidone is completely absorbed after oral administration, reaching peak plasma concentrations within 1 to 2 hours. The absolute oral bioavailability of risperidone is 70% (CV=25%). The relative oral bioavailability of risperidone from a tablet is 94% (CV=10%) compared with a solution. The absorption is not affected by food and thus risperidone can be given with or without meals. Steady-state of risperidone is reached within 1 day in most patients. Steady-state of 9-hydroxy-risperidone is reached within 4-5 days of dosing.
Risperidone is rapidly distributed. The volume of distribution is 1-2 l/kg. In plasma, risperidone is bound to albumin and alpha1-acid glycoprotein. The plasma protein binding of risperidone is 90%, that of 9-hydroxy-risperidone is 77%.
Biotransformation and elimination
Risperidone is metabolised by CYP2D6 to 9-hydroxy-risperidone, which has a similar pharmacological activity as risperidone. Risperidone plus 9-hydroxy-risperidone form the active antipsychotic fraction. CYP2D6 is subject to genetic polymorphism. Extensive CYP2D6 metabolisers convert risperidone rapidly into 9-hydroxy-risperidone, whereas poor CYP2D6 metabolisers convert it much more slowly. Although extensive metabolisers have lower risperidone and higher 9-hydroxy-risperidone concentrations than poor metabolisers, the pharmacokinetics of risperidone and 9-hydroxy-risperidone combined (i.e., the active antipsychotic fraction), after single and multiple doses, are similar in extensive and poor metabolisers of CYP2D6.
Another metabolic pathway of risperidone is N-dealkylation. In vitro studies in human liver microsomes showed that risperidone at clinically relevant concentration does not substantially inhibit the metabolism of medicines metabolised by cytochrome P450 isozymes, including CYP1A2, CYP2A6, CYP2C8/9/10, CYP2D6, CYP2E1, CYP3A4, and CYP3A5. One week after administration, 70% of the dose is excreted in the urine and 14% in the faeces. In urine, risperidone plus 9-hydroxy-risperidone represent 35-45% of the dose. The remainder is inactive metabolites. After oral administration to psychotic patients, risperidone is eliminated with a half-life of about 3 hours. The elimination half-life of 9-hydroxy-risperidone and of the active antipsychotic fraction is 24 hours.
Risperidone plasma concentrations are dose-proportional within the therapeutic dose-range.
Elderly, hepatic and renal impairment
A single-dose PK-study with oral risperidone showed on average a 43% higher active antipsychotic fraction plasma concentrations, a 38% longer half-life and a reduced clearance of the active antipsychotic fraction by 30% in the elderly.
In adults with moderate renal disease the clearance of the active moiety was ~48% of the clearance in young healthy adults. In adults with severe renal disease the clearance of the active moiety was ~31% of the clearance in young healthy adults. The half-life of the active moiety was 16.7 h in young adults, 24.9 h in adults with moderate renal disease (or ~1.5 times as long as in young adults), and 28.8 h in those with severe renal disease (or ~1.7 times as long as in young adults). Risperidone plasma concentrations were normal in patients with liver insufficiency, but the mean free fraction of risperidone in plasma was increased by 37.1%.
The oral clearance and the elimination half-life of risperidone and of the active moiety in adults with moderate and severe liver impairment were not significantly different from those parameters in young healthy adults.
The pharmacokinetics of risperidone, 9-hydroxy-risperidone and the active antipsychotic fraction in children are similar to those in adults.
Gender, race and smoking habits
A population pharmacokinetic analysis revealed no apparent effect of gender, race or smoking habits on the pharmacokinetics of risperidone or the active antipsychotic fraction.
In (sub)chronic toxicity studies, in which dosing was started in sexually immature rats and dogs, dose-dependent effects were present in male and female genital tract and mammary gland. These effects were related to the increased serum prolactin levels, resulting from the dopamine D2 receptor blocking activity of risperidone. In addition, tissue culture studies suggest that cell growth in human breast tumours may be stimulated by prolactin. Risperidone was not teratogenic in rat and rabbit. In rat reproduction studies with risperidone, adverse effects were seen on mating behaviour of the parents, and on the birth weight and survival of the offspring. In rats, intrauterine exposure to risperidone was associated with cognitive deficits in adulthood. Other dopamine antagonists, when administered to pregnant animals, have caused negative effects on learning and motor development in the offspring. In a toxicity study in juvenile rats, increased pup mortality and a delay in physical development was observed. In a 40-week study with juvenile dogs, sexual maturation was delayed. Based on AUC, long bone growth was not affected in dogs at 3.6-times the maximum human exposure in adolescents (1.5 mg/day); while effects on long bones and sexual maturation were observed at 15 times the maximum human exposure in adolescents.
Risperidone was not genotoxic in a battery of tests. In oral carcinogenicity studies of risperidone in rats and mice, increases in pituitary gland adenomas (mouse), endocrine pancreas adenomas (rat), and mammary gland adenomas (both species) were seen. These tumours can be related to prolonged dopamine D2 antagonism and hyperprolactinaemia. The relevance of these tumour findings in rodents in terms of human risk is unknown. In vitro and in vivo, animal models show that at high doses risperidone may cause QT interval prolongation, which has been associated with a theoretically increased risk of Torsade de Pointes in patients.
No special requirements for disposal.
Any unused medicinal product or waste material should be disposed of in accordance with local requirements.
However, we will provide data for each active ingredient