Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How To Convince SZ HusbandTo Try Different Antipsychotic Medicine

My husband was on Risperdal for 8 years but stopped after feeling depressed, gaining weight, lack of sex drive and tiredness. He’s gone back on several times, but same results. How can I convince him to try a different medication-is there one that won’t make him feel so bad? He says all meds work the same (he’s never tried any other medication nor has he done any research.) He refuses to see his psychiatrist (who didn’t address his concern on this except to indicate that Risperadal had fewer side affects than the other meds) saying they are not helpful. I’d love to hear suggestions to reach him or if you know of any antipsychotic meds that don’t have these side affects or is everyone affected that way and they just deal with it?

It depends, is he stable on Risperdal?

If he switches to a different Antipsychotic, he may get worse - it’s a crap shoot.

He is stable on Risperadal in that he’s not talking to himself, he can follow a conversation, he likes seeing family/friends, wants to do things and interested in what’s happening around him. He makes good decisions. If I point this out to him, he gets very angry about the negative effects on him and apparently that is more important to him than the positive effects.

So in saying its a crap shoot, it’s possible that other meds may be just as helpful, but maybe not as negative or may be worse for him and its a process he has to work through?

Im on Risperdal and doing very well on it - mentally.

No hallucinations or delusions, so I really want to stick with it.

It has side effects, like diminished libido, some sexual dysfunction, some weight gain etc… but I am pretty stable with it.

If I switch over to a new med, I may still have a new set of side effects and I may not be as stable.

Sanity is important, so I made the choice of staying on the Risperdal.

That’s a great answer-I need to find out how important it is to him to stay stable. He does enjoy the voices for the most part. He’s totally blind-doesn’t have a lot of things that he enjoys doing anymore so the voices keep him entertained/occupied.

risperidone like other meds varies if it helps people or not. I’ve been on risperidone three times. The first time it helped then the doctor switched me to fanapt instead because it was cheaper, it tore up my stomach. I got put back on risperidone about 8 mgs and it helped I had no voices and no hallucinations but I had weight gain and I was tired all the time. Then I moved and got put on risperidone a third time. A lower dose and it no longer helped , it made me manic and anxious. Not to mention delusional and hallucinating. basically what i’m saying is meds work for some and not for others. and eventually the meds can stop working completely.

Thanks, I’m learning more with each response. Are you on different medication now? Are the side effects the same?

See – and browse – this excellent website on meds for sz.

Meds, however, are rarely the complete answer. One is well advised to…

  1. Get a copy of these books, read them and have your family read them, as well. (Torrey can be a bit totalistic and unwilling to see exceptions to his “rules” at times, but most of his book is really worth the effort to plough through.)

  2. Get properly diagnosed by a board-certified psychopharmacologist who specializes in the psychotic disorders. One can find them at… and

  3. Work with that “psychiatrist” (or “p-doc”) to develop a medication formula that stabilizes their symptoms sufficiently so that they can tackle the psychotherapy that will disentangle their thinking.

  4. The best of the psychotherapies for that currently include…
    DBT –
    MBSR –
    MBCT -
    ACT –
    10 StEP –

  5. the even newer somatic psychotherapies like…
    MBBT –
    SEPT –
    SMPT –

  6. or standard CBTs, like…
    REBT –
    Schematherapy –
    Learned Optimism –
    Standard CBT – & scroll down

  7. If you/she/he needs a professional intervention to get through treatment resistance, tell me where you live, and I will get back to you with leads to those services.

  8. Look into the RAISE Project at

  9. Look for mental illness clubhouses in your area (which can be hugely helpful… but may also pose risks). Dig through the many articles at to locate and investigate them.

i’m on Haldol and latuda. I had some weight gain and tiredness but coffee helps with the drowsiness. I’ve had no sexual side effects. My partner makes sure I take my meds cause there are times when I forget.

I refused Risperdone and stayed on a equally potent drug Olanzapine, because of it’s tendency to elevate prolactin and make men grow breasts and lactate!

I’ve been on a few anti psychotics and normally they stop changing them when you get to the point that your stable! I’d share his reluctance to change as change can be a scary thing!

I’d rather be slightly psychotic and stable then back in hospital.

As for the Negative symptoms, I found taking Vitimin B complex tablets daily might help! There is some evidence they work: At worst it will act as a placebo!

Thanks for all the information and good advice. I have those books and a few others-I read them when things get tough and I don’t know what to do. Sometimes its helpful-sometimes its too much advice and I get confused.

Thanks, I’m making notes in case my husband does decide to try a new medication.

My son was on risperdal first. it was very sedating. It stopped his psychosis but completely disabled him. They switched him to Abilify, which was a thousand times better. So much so that he felt normal and kept forgetting to take it and lapsed a couple of times. He now takes it as an injectable and so far, he is doing very well. He is very active and motivated, mire energetic, studies and exercises, cooks and shops, etc.
there is evidence that risperdal has a bad effect on gut bacteria, and that leads people to put on a ton of weight. Gut bacteria also can cause depression, etc. I encouraged my son to be a bit demanding with his mental health team. From this board I learned that people may have to try different meds and different combinations of meds until they get what works for them. There are several threads here where people discuss their individual experiences. Why not give him a few links? He probably has no hope right now. If he reads what other people with sz say, it may help a lot.

Its a crap shoot in that, something that might work well for one person might not work well for another - but if he will not stay on the Risperdal, then trying other APs seems the best next step. My son’s psychosis has been treatment resistant, with continued positive symptoms on most APs, so he is now trying clozaril, but he had some good response for a while on Geodon. Abilify makes him extremely agitated but clearly it works well for others.

That was inspiring to read about your son’s courage to keep trying till he found a med that worked for him. Risperdal also makes my husband very tired-sleeps all day but it doesn’t quiet the voices down though it probably would if he took more of it, but then he’d be unconscious. I will read him your response and the others that I’ve read about their search for a workable medication - hopefully he’ll consider the alternatives!

Your son is amazing in that he continues to try new meds. I wish and hope my husband too will understand that he needs to do this. I’m going to read him your response - hopefully he’ll see that he’s not the only one dealing with this issue and it can be resolved, but he has to be patient.

Thank you - all of you who have responded and given me some hope!

I think my new pdoc that I see next month will change some of the meds i’m on. The Haldol and latuda aren’t helping completely but they are better than nothing. Most of the pdocs I have been too have been good ones just if your husband’s psychiatrist doesn’t listen to you or your husband about how the meds make him feel get a second opinion. Don’t settle for mania or anxiety or even depression from meds.

It looks as though you have a very good pdoc-the VA isn’t accustomed to handling schizophrenia cases. I will definitely make sure we let the pdoc there know he needs to be reevaluated for his meds-if my husband can’t. I’m fortunate in that he wants me to be there in his sessions (when he’s willing to go).

Have you tried the Vit B-is it working for you? My husband is trying Sarcosine-I have noticed he is more willing to go out and see family/friends plus he’s planning another trip for next year whereas earlier he would start talking about doing it, then say forget he didn’t really want to go. Of course this is all while he is off his meds-so traveling isn’t a sure thing for his future. But its good to see him looking ahead.

??? Not at any VA hospital I have worked at. The VA is probably one of the world’s leading experts in that field, as so many vets have the double whammy of complex PTSD + paranoid delusionality (for whatever reasons, not always including sz genetics). The docs at the VA may or may not be as “high-quality” as those elsewhere, but the VA does have enormous experience with sz.