Six months of treatment with risperidone may be associated with nonsignificant abnormalities of liver function tests in children and adolescents: a longitudinal, observational study from Turkey

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2010 Oct;20(5):407-13. doi: 10.1089/cap.2009.0113.


Objective: Risperidone is a promising agent for the treatment of schizophrenia, Tourette's disorder, mood disorders, and disruptive behavior disorders in young populations. However, adverse effects of risperidone may take a long time to emerge. The objective of this study was to investigate the changes in the liver function tests (LFTs) associated with more than 6 months of risperidone treatment in children and adolescents.

Method: A total of 102 youths treated with risperidone for more than 6 months were eligible for the study. For this study, patients' baseline and follow-up weight and hepatobiliary function tests, including alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and serum bilirubin levels, were measured at baseline and at 6 months.

Results: Asymptomatic abnormalities of LFTs, mostly ALP elevation, were found in 38.2% of the cases, and marked elevation of liver enzymes was found in 0.8% of cases treated with risperidone. The mean levels of liver enzymes and bilirubin of the patients were significantly higher than the baseline after first and sixth months of treatment. However, there was no statistically significant change in the liver enzymes and bilirubin levels between the first and sixth months. There was no significant relationship between changes in weight and liver enzymes and bilirubin levels after 6 months of risperidone treatment.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that risperidone treatment in the long term commonly leads to liver function changes, although at therapeutic doses in children and adolescents it may rarely induce a serious hepatic toxicity. Concomitant use of antidepressants and methylphenidate and variations in age and pubertal status are limitations of present study. Further studies are needed to assess the importance and role of other variables over LFT abnormalities in youth population.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / physiology
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Risperidone / adverse effects*
  • Risperidone / therapeutic use*
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Turkey


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Risperidone