Latest research has found that lower-than-recommended doses of the antipsychotic drug risperidone can actually help patients leave hospital early and prevent them returning again with the same problems.
Researchers at the University of Baltimore in Maryland, studying the records of over 1000 patients treated with risperidone in the last three years, found that many clinicians start at 1 mg twice daily and go up to 3 mg. If patients do not respond, they may increase the dose to as high as 16 mg per day.
In the trial, clinicians began to reduce the daily dose, as they realised the typical dosage of 6 mg is too high for many patients. Eventually, it was discovered that patients who were successfully discharged were those being treated with lower doses of risperidone (Lancet, 1997; 350: 1827).