With great power comes great responsibility. This is especially true in the world of psychiatric medications.

Modern medicine has brought with it the ability to treat many conditions previously thought untreatable. When someone exhibits signs of mental illness, we no longer lock them in asylums. We have pharmacological resources to combat mental illness.

Mood disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are among the most severe mental illnesses that plague us today. Risperdal, also known by its generic name risperidone, is one medication that can treat these disorders.

But the drug is not without its risks. Risperdal side effects are not to be taken lightly.

Explore our guide to these risks to help you learn more about this powerful medication.

How Risperdal Works

In addition to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, doctors prescribe Risperdal to treat irritability in patients with autism.

The drug is classified as an atypical antipsychotic, and the mechanism by which it works is not entirely clear at this time. Risperdal may work as a serotonin and dopamine antagonist, and its benefits may come from the way in which it regulates these essential brain chemicals.

How to Take Risperdal

Risperdal comes in several forms. There is a pill form and a liquid form, and daily doses range from .25mg to 8mg. The amount your doctor prescribes will vary based on your age, medical condition, and response to treatment.

Many patients take Risperdal twice a day. It’s important to time your doses and to take them regularly in order to get the maximum benefit from this medication.

Risperdal Side Effects

Let’s start with the serious warnings first. There are several potential side effects of Risperdal that should make you call your doctor and discontinue taking the drug immediately.

These most serious side effects include:

  • Seizures, convulsions, tremors, and/or uncontrolled shaking
  • Drooling
  • Stiff muscles
  • Fast or uneven heartbeats
  • Nosebleeds
  • White patches or sores on your lips or the inside of your mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Feelings of faintness as if you might pass out
  • Body aches and flu-like symptoms

And the serious Risperdal side effects in males also include a penis erection that is painful or lasts four hours or longer.

But these are not the only possible side effects of Risperdal.

Some of the subtler but no less important side effects include feelings of fogginess or haziness, weight gain, interruption in sleep and insomnia, enlarged breasts, lactation, and digestive problems in the stomach.

Of these longer term and subtler side effects, there are a couple that you should watch for especially.

Risperdal may cause hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which can lead to diabetes in some patients. This could lead to an entirely new condition which would require medications and a treatment plan of its own.

One of the most severe long-term Risperdal side effects is the possibility of tardive dyskinesia. This is a condition that affects the nervous system, causing stiff, jerky movements in the body and face that are often uncontrollable and permanent.

Don’t Lose Hope

While this list of Risperdal side effects can look scary, it’s important to remember that they are the result of a powerful medication. Some people who take Risperdal stabilize completely and experience no side effects.

The flip side of responsibility is power. Risperdal offers hope in the form of a powerful antipsychotic medication.

Always consult your doctor before taking any medication, especially Risperdal.

For more information and savings on Risperdal and antipsychotic medications, search our site for the drug you’re researching.