In vitro receptor-binding profiles and in vivo pharmacological studies have shown risperidone to be a potent mixed serotonin-S2 dopamine-D2-like receptor antagonist. While anti-D2 activity may relate to the antipsychotic potency of neuroleptic drugs, an antidepressive efficacy of substances with anti-S2 activity has been suggested. In an open pilot-study, ten patients with schizodepressive disorders or a DSM-III-R diagnosis of psychotic major depressive episodes were treated with risperidone (2-10 mg/d) for six weeks. Weekly psychopathological evaluation was performed, including BPRS, SANS, SAPS, VAS scales, and AIMS and UKU for the assessment of side-effects. Generally, the psychotic syndrome (BPRS, SANS and SAPS) decreased markedly in all patients; seven patients also showed a clinically significant improvement of depressive symptoms (BPRS). Except for two patients who needed biperiden because of extrapyramidal side-effects, the tolerance of risperidone was good. The antipsychotic and antidepressive properties of risperidone shown in our pilot study are promising enough to merit full double-blind controlled trials for further evaluation of its therapeutic value in this broad spectrum of psychiatric disorders.