Compare Risperdal vs. Ativan

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Risperdal
(Risperidone)

Ativan
(Lorazepam)

Helps control your thoughts and mood. Risperdal (Risperidone) is good for treating psychosis, mania, and irritability. Among newer antipsychotic medicines, more likely to cause side effects, especially weight gain and hormone problems.Helps you relax. Ativan (Lorazepam) is okay for occasional or short-term use (up to 4 weeks) for anxiety and sleep. Less likely to have drug interactions, but more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.448275862068965Risperdal
Reviews for Risperdal (Risperidone)
48%
of people say Risperdal (Risperidone) is worth it
41%
say it works well
48%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Ativan (Lorazepam)
70%
+22% vs. Risperdal (Risperidone)
50%
+9% vs. Risperdal (Risperidone)
15%
+33% vs. Risperdal (Risperidone)
Side effects
RisperdalAtivan
  • Relaxation or sleepiness 48%
  • Increased appetite 29%
  • Fatigue 22%
  • Parkinsonism 17%
  • Constipation 11%
  • Dizziness 11%
  • Abdominal pain upper 11%
  • Common cold 10%
  • Nausea 9%
  • Indigestion 8%
More Risperdal side effects »

The Ativan FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Ativan side effects »
How it works
RisperdalAtivan
Risperdal (Risperidone) is an atypical antipsychotic. Researchers don't know exactly how it works. It seems to change dopamine and serotonin activity in your brain, which affects thoughts and mood.Ativan (Lorazepam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine. It affects neurotransmitters in the brain and calms the nervous system. This reduces anxiety and can cause sleepiness.
Type of medication
RisperdalAtivan
Antipsychotic
Atypical
Prescription only
Anti-anxiety
Benzodiazepine
Prescription only
Available as
RisperdalAtivan
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
RisperdalAtivan
Risk factors for serious side effects
RisperdalAtivan
  • Elderly patients with dementia
      • History of heart problems
      • Drug interactions
        • People with diabetes
        • People with high cholesterol
        • People with diabetes
        • Alcohol
        • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
          Detailed Risperdal (Risperidone) risks & warnings »
          • Taking more than the prescribed dose
          • Taking longer than 4 weeks
          • History of drug abuse
          • Long-term use
            • Alcohol
            • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
              Detailed Ativan (Lorazepam) risks & warnings »
              Pregnancy category
              RisperdalAtivan
              CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

              Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

              See the FDA package insert
              DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

              Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

              See the FDA package insert
              Alcohol
              No specific alcohol-related info.
              • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
              • Not safe to use with alcohol.
              Food
              • Risperdal (Risperidone) can increase your blood sugar and cholesterol. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
              • Risperdal (Risperidone) can cause you to gain weight. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
              No specific food-related info.
              Kidneys and liver
              No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
              Sex
              No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
              Sleep
              • Can cause dizziness and drowsiness.
              • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
              • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
              • Stopping Ativan (Lorazepam) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and muscle pain or burning. Withdrawal symptoms can last 6 weeks or longer. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
              Weight
              • Moderate risk of weight gain and problems with cholesterol or blood sugar compared to other antipsychotics.
              • May cause weight gain and worsen cholesterol or blood sugar.
              • Risperdal (Risperidone) can cause you to gain weight. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
              No specific weight-related info.
              Upsides and benefits
              RisperdalAtivan
              • Effective at relieving psychotic symptoms, manic episodes, irritability, and aggressive behavior.
              • Lowers relapse rates in people with schizophrenia and people with irritability associated with autism.
              • Antipsychotic medicines are all about equally effective.
              • Less likely to cause heart problems than some antipsychotics.
              • Effective at relieving short-term anxiety and sleeplessness.
              • Can be used together with antidepressants to manage anxiety disorders. Especially helpful for anxiety symptoms while you wait for an antidepressant to kick in (it can take several weeks).
              • Less likely to have drug interactions compared to other benzodiazepines, so it might be a better option if you're taking multiple medications.
              Downsides and risks
              RisperdalAtivan
              • Mild to moderate risk of Extrapyramidal Symptoms (EPS): Movement disorders that include stiffness, tremor, restlessness, and slow, repetitive, or involuntary movements.
              • Moderate risk of weight gain and problems with cholesterol or blood sugar compared to other antipsychotics.
              • Compared to other antipsychotics, higher risk of hormone problems that cause nipples to leak and male breasts to grow abnormally large.
              • You might need routine blood tests to check how the medicine is affecting your body.
              • All antipsychotics come with side effects that make them difficult to take. You might need to try a few different medicines until you find one that works for you and that you can tolerate.
              • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
              • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
              • Compared to other benzodiazepines, more likely to cause withdrawal if you take it for a long time and then stop suddenly.
              • Most people find that it gets less effective over time.
              Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
              RisperdalAtivan
              • Takes 4 to 6 weeks to see full effects on thoughts and mood.
              • Can cause dizziness and drowsiness.
              • For the first week, avoid activities that require you to be alert.
              • May cause weight gain and worsen cholesterol or blood sugar.
              • Report any unusual thoughts, inability to control muscle movements, or fever and excess sweating to your doctor.
              • Elderly people with dementia shouldn't take it.
              • Good for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.
              • Starts working in 45 minutes when swallowed.
              • Starts working in 10 to 20 minutes when dissolved under your tongue.
              • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
              • Addictive. Long-term use can cause dependence or abuse.
              • Not safe to use with alcohol.
              Learn more
              More about RisperdalSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
              More about AtivanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert