The antipsychotic medication, risperidone, causes global immunosuppression in healthy mice.

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Molecular Medicine, MMCRI

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PLoS One.


Atypical antipsychotic medications such as risperidone are widely prescribed for diverse psychiatric indications including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. These medications have complex pharmacology and are associated with significant endocrine and metabolic side effects. This class of medications also carries FDA black box warnings due to increased risk of death in elderly patients. Clinical reports indicate that patients treated with these medications are more susceptible to infections; however, the underlying mechanisms/pharmacology are unclear. We have previously reported that risperidone and it's active metabolite distributes to the bone marrow in clinically relevant concentrations in preclinical species, leading us to hypothesize that the hematopoietic system may be impacted by these medications. To test this hypothesis, using proteomic and cytokine array technology, we evaluated the expression of genes involved in inflammatory and immune function following short term (5 days) and longer term (4 weeks) treatment in healthy animals. We report that low-dose risperidone treatment results in global immunosuppression in mice, observed following 5 days of dosing and exacerbated with longer term drug treatment (4 weeks). These data are consistent with increased susceptibility to infection in patients administered these medications and have profound implications for the increasing off-label prescribing to vulnerable patient populations including children and the elderly.



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