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 an effective medicine for occasional or short-term anxiety. It's less likely to have drug interactions, but more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.53Risperdal
Reviews for Risperdal
42%
of people (All ages) say Risperdal is worth it
47%
say it works well
49%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Risperdal (risperidone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Ativan
71%
-29% worse vs. Risperdal
51%
-4% worse vs. Risperdal
15%
-34% worse vs. Risperdal
642 reviews
Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
RisperdalAtivan
  • Parkinsonism 16%
  • Relaxation or sleepiness 7%
  • Restlessness 6%
  • Tremor 3%
  • Dizziness 1%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Muscle twitching 4%
  • Diarrhea 1%
  • Excessive saliva 2%
  • Vision blurred 1%
More Risperdal side effects »
  • Sleepiness 16%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Weakness 4%
  • Unsteadiness 3%
More 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 areas of the brain that help calm you down. This reduces anxiety and can cause sleepiness.
Type of medication
RisperdalAtivan
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
RisperdalAtivan
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Injection
Used for
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
Detailed Risperdal (risperidone) risks & warnings »
  • Taking with opioids
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking Ativan (lorazepam) for longer than 4 weeks
  • History of drug abuse
  • Long-term use
Detailed Ativan (lorazepam) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

Interactions
RisperdalAtivan
No interactions related info.
  • Less likely to have drug interactions compared to other drugs like it, so it might be a better option if you're taking multiple medications.
Alcohol
RisperdalAtivan
No alcohol related info.
  • Not safe to use with alcohol.
  • 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.
Food
RisperdalAtivan
  • Risperdal (Risperidone) can increase your blood sugar and cholesterol. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
No food related info.
Sleep
RisperdalAtivan
  • Can cause dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
Weight
RisperdalAtivan
  • Risperdal (Risperidone) can cause you to gain weight. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
  • May cause weight gain and worsen cholesterol or blood sugar.
  • Moderate risk of weight gain and problems with cholesterol or blood sugar compared to other antipsychotics.
No 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.
  • Can be used together with antidepressants to manage anxiety disorders. Especially helpful for anxiety symptoms while you wait for an antidepressant to kick in.
  • Less likely to have drug interactions compared to other drugs like it, 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 similar medicines, Ativan (lorazepam) is more likely to cause withdrawal if you take it for a long time and then suddenly stop.
  • Most people find that Ativan (lorazepam) 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.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Take only as much as your doctor prescribes. Taking more than directed or taking this for a long time can cause you to become dependent on it.
  • Not safe to use with alcohol.
  • Use caution or avoid use in older adults.
Learn more
More about RisperdalSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Risperdal (risperidone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about AtivanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it