Risperidone in the Emergency Setting is Associated with More Hypotension in Elderly Patients

J Emerg Med. 2017 Nov;53(5):735-739. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2017.06.026. Epub 2017 Oct 5.


Background: Expert consensus panels have recommended risperidone as first-line treatment for agitation of psychiatric origin. However, there are few if any studies on this medication in the emergency setting.

Objectives: To assess the hemodynamic effects of risperidone in an emergency department (ED) setting, stratified by age.

Methods: This is a structured chart review of all patients who received oral risperidone over a 6-year period in an ED setting, excluding patients who received this medication as a prescription refill. Vital signs were analyzed for this subset prior to and after medication administration, and changes in vital signs were stratified by age.

Results: The median dose of risperidone was less in patients aged > 65 years. However, the median drop in systolic blood pressure was larger in this age group compared with younger patients.

Conclusions: Clinicians tend to be more cautious with dosing of risperidone to geriatric patients in the ED. Despite this, decreases in systolic blood pressure are larger and more frequent in this age group. When possible, clinicians should consider or attempt nonpharmacologic methods of agitation treatment prior to administering medications such as risperidone to elderly patients.

Keywords: agitation; geriatric patients; risperidone.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cohort Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Agitation / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risperidone / adverse effects*
  • Risperidone / therapeutic use
  • Vital Signs / physiology*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Risperidone