Risperdal Side Effects

by on June 23, 2012


Risperdal side effects are experienced by many individuals who take this medication. It may cause impaired thinking, slowed reactions, and poor judgement so patients should not perform tasks that require skill or concentration until they know how Risperdal will affect them. Drowsiness, dizziness, and weight gain are common side effects of risperidone, but more serious symptoms may occur in some patients.

Common Risperdal Side Effects

There are a variety of side effects associated with the use of risperidone. Many patients will experience these side effects before the symptoms that are being treated improve. In some cases, it may take several weeks before noticeable changes take place. The most frequently reported risperidone side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Increased appetite
  • Significant weight gain
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Increased dream activity
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreases in sex drive or performance
  • Vision problems
  • Agitation, anxiety, or restlessness
  • Increased saliva
  • Lactation, or breast milk production in women
  • Dry skin or discolored skin
  • Difficult urination
  • Sleep difficulties or insomnia
  • Runny or stuffy nose

If any of the symptoms above do not improve, become worse, or interfere with your daily activities, contact your doctor to discuss other treatment options.

Serious Risperdal Side Effects

Antipsychotic drugs also carry a risk of more serious side effects. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a life threatening neurological disorder, is one such danger. At least two fatal cases of this disorder have been attributed to the use of Risperdal. Tardive Dyskinesia, a severe movement disorder, has also occurred. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms while taking Riserdal:

  • Severe dizziness or fainting
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Shallow or difficult breathing
  • Tremors or unusual, uncontrolled movements
  • High fever
  • A painful, long lasting erection
  • Uncontrollable twitching or shaking
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Slow movements
  • A shuffling walk
  • Unexplained sweating
  • Muscle stiffness

A serious allergic reaction to risperidone is possible. Do not take Risperdal if you have experienced adverse reactions to risperidone in the past and seek emergency medical care if you have signs of an allergic reaction, including hives, skin rash, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or swelling of the face, lips, throat, or tongue.


As one of the only federally approved drugs for psychiatric treatment in children, Risperdal is thought to be safe and effective in most children and teens. Adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 may see substantial improvements in symptoms of schizophrenia after treatment with risperidone, while children as young as 10 may take the medication to prevent aggressive behavior, self-injury, and violent explosions that may occur with bipolar disorder or autism. In most cases, children will not experience any serious risperidone side effects when it is taken correctly. Any strange or unusual behaviors should be reported to his or her doctor immediately.


Experts are not sure if Risperdal is safe to use during pregnancy. It is categorized as a pregnancy category C drug and should only be administered to pregnant women if it is absolutely necessary and no safer treatment options exist. Antipsychotic medications like risperidone may cause withdrawal symptoms, feeding difficulties, breathing problems, and other concerns in newborns, especially when taken during the last trimester of pregnancy. This medication can be passed through breast milk and can cause serious danger to an infant. Do not breastfeed while taking Risperdal.

Pre-existing Condition: Dementia

Elderly patients who suffer from dementia related conditions such as Alzheimer’s are at a greater risk of serious side effects if they take antipsychotics like Risperdal. These patients have a much higher chance of having a stroke or a potentially fatal heart attack while taking Risperdal. Riserdone may also have serious adverse reactions in individuals with other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have liver, kidney, or heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, or a history of diabetes, breast cancer, or epilepsy. Individuals with a low white blood cell count, previous suicidal behaviors, or Parkinson’s disease are also at risk.

Other Medications

Some medications may interact adversely with risperidone. Many drugs will intensify the drowsiness caused by Risperdal, including sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medications for depression or anxiety. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines before taking Risperdal:

  • Tagamet
  • Zantac
  • Tegretol
  • Solfoton
  • Clozaril
  • Rifampin
  • Medications for Parkinson’s disease such as Atamet, Mirapex, Permax, etc.
  • Seizure medications like Dilantin and Demerol
  • SSRI antidepressants including Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac, Citalopram and others.

It is a good idea to keep an up to date list of all medications, supplements, and herbal remedies you are currently taking. There may be other drugs that can cause adverse reactions when taken with risperidone. Talk to your doctor if you drink alcohol on a regular basis. Drinking can increase the risk of side effects associated with Risperdal.

When used as directed, most patients do not experience serious or debilitating Risperdal side effects. It can be a beneficial treatment for psychiatric conditions in children over the age of 10, as well as adults, but should not be administered to younger children or to elderly patients with symptoms of dementia.