With the advent of modern medications due to several clinical breakthroughs, mental health has become as important as physical health. Mental health problems such as mood-based disorders can seriously impact one’s emotional wellbeing. Such disorders may make you remain in a state of gloom, joy or a combination of these feelings. Often, these mental conditions may persist for a fairly longer time. It is difficult to isolate mental health problems; they do show up in your behavior – at home, work and other areas. Of the several types of such mood-based problems, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxieties, etc. are the most commonly experienced conditions. Drugs such as Risperdal can help in the case management of these mental conditions. However, Risperdal can cause a few undesired side effects. It serves well to know what these side effects are, and also know what to do to manage them effectively.
There are multiple ways by which a mental health specialist treats mood disorders. The foods you eat often, exercises or workouts, mind relaxation techniques, hobbies or other creative pursuits can bring positive changes to your mental wellbeing. Medications are also considered for people who may need a drugs-based treatment plan. Medications such as atypical antipsychotics are prescribed to strike a right balance of chemicals in your brain. Risperdal is one such drug, used mainly for the treatment of mood disorders or other mental conditions. The range of conditions Risperdal is used include irritability linked to autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.
Risperdal is an atypical antipsychotic medicine. It enables the chemicals in your brain to be present at a balanced level. The commonly administered dose is one or two times each day. It is a taken orally either before or after a meal. Liquid form of this drug is added to fluids like milk (of the low-fat category), coffee, water or orange juice. While mixing it with such fluids, you need only about 100 ml or upto 3.5 ounces. Taking the liquid form of Risperdal with extra amounts of fluids runs the risks of diluting this drug’s treatment capabilities and other essential properties.
Side effects of Risperdal
This drug may trigger a few undesired side effects. Commonly experienced effects include being lightheaded, feeling dizzy, weariness, abdominal discomforts such as nausea, gain of body weight, drooling, etc. Such side effects are however experienced only over a shorter period of time; especially, while you are starting the doses of Risperdal. These common side effects will soon disappear as you continue taking the drug. However, if these discomforts do not go away on their own, it is strongly recommended to consult your treating doctor for needful guidance. Your doctor may either change the dosage or may prescribe safer alternatives to minimise the side effects.
If these side effects are presenting discomforts to you, always remember that your doctor has prescribed it for unique reasons. The chief reason is the benefits derived from this drug are much more than the aforesaid mild and temporary side effects. You need to ask your physician about the ways by which you can minimize these discomforts. For instance, excessive drowsiness or dizziness can enhance the risks of fainting or falls. Your physician may tell you to slow down your movements – especially during change of postures. When you are trying to get up from a sleeping position or lying down from a sitting posture, do these activities as slowly as possible.
Relatively serious side effects of Risperdal
In some uncommon cases, this drug may trigger a few serious side effects. Such serious side effects include an increased level of anxiety, being extremely confused, respiratory difficulties during sleep (such as sleep apnea), cramping of muscles, etc. Some people have also reported relatively serious side effects such as temors or shakes, swallowing problems, restlessness and being extremely stressful.
Risperdal may increase the levels of cholesterol in blood; as a result, some people may experience an increase in bodyweight. The drug may also trigger an increase in triglycerides. So, if you have heart related problems, such as prior instances of cardiac arrests or a marked presence of lipids and fats, you need to inform your treating physician about these cardiac conditions. It is highly recommended to tell your doctor about the drugs you are already consuming to lower your cholesterol level.
Diabetes and intake of Risperdal
Those living with diabetes mellitus may need to take this drug with added caution. This is because of the capability of Risperdal to increase your blood sugar levels. This is only a very remote possibility. But, people with high blood sugar levels or insulin sensitivity issues need to consider the possible risks. So, if you experience signs such as frequent urges to urinate, a persistent feeling of thirstiness, etc., you may need to talk to your treating physician on an emergency basis. It also becomes important to monitor your blood sugar levels on a periodic basis. If the blood sugar levels are continuing to remain at a higher level, your physician may accordingly alter the drugs prescribed to manage diabetes. Your diet plan as well as workout regimen may also need to be altered to suit these changes.
Other extremely rare and one-off side effects of Risperdal
Very rarely, Risperdal may trigger an increased secretion of a substance called prolactin. This substance – among women – can lead to an excessive production of breastmilk. It can also cause a few hormonal changes which in turn can make it difficult for women to become pregnant and can also trigger erratic menstrual cycles or periods. You are hence advised to talk to your doctor if you experience any of these side effects. Your physician may prescribe safer or alternative drugs to counter these adverse side effects.
This drug may very rarely lead to a medical condition called tardive dyskinesia. This condition may result in losing control over a few facial muscles or limbs. People may wave their arms or stick their tongue out, without actually wanting to do such gestures. Some people may also needlessly blink their eyes – again, without a need for it. In general, these jerky and stiff gestures are done after having lost control over the corresponding muscles. You need not worry much about these, as not all people who take atypical antipsychotic drugs like Risperdal are likely to experience these side effects. These effects are managed by reducing the strength of doses, discontinuing the current drug and taking another alternative as part of the medication plan.
Serious side effects of Risperdal
It is very uncommon for Risperdal to cause serious or acute side effects. However, in very remote cases, people who take Risperdal may report convulsions, seizures, passing out, etc. In equally remote cases, some people may experience excessive sweating, symptoms linked to renal disorders (such as change of color of urine, altered output or discharge of urine, etc.) and erratic heartbeats. In all such instances mentioned above, you are advised to take medical help as promptly as possible.
As a very rare occurrence, men may experience a prolonged and painful erection of penis. Such spells may last for even upto 3 hours or more. If you experience this, it is recommended to immediately stop taking this medicine and contact your treating physician or pharmacist without any further delay.
You need to inform your physician about all known allergies to drugs. You also need to tell about hypersensitivity to inactive substances or chemicals added to drugs. Allergies triggered by Risperdal though are very remote. As a one-off and extremely rare occurrence, you may experience inflammation of lymph-nodes, episodes of drowsiness, a few respiratory problems such as gasping, slowing down of respiratory cycles, etc., severe itchiness, rashes on skin, etc. You are advised to call 911 or get in touch with a poison control center closer to your home in the US. If you are a resident of any of the Canadian provinces, call Health Canada or rush to a poison control center located in your province.
General instructions associated with the intake of Risperdal
The strength and frequency of your dosage may depend on multiple factors. The most commonly considered aspects include your bodyweight, age, gender, current mental condition, the other drugs you are taking as well as other treatment plans you are currently pursuing. The mental health specialist may begin your doses with very low strength and then slowly increase the doses. The key factor is how well your body responds to such low-level doses. It hence becomes very important to strictly follow your doctor’s inputs all through your treatment.
You need to know that this drug may also be prescribed in its liquid form. The liquid variant of this drug needs to be measured with the spoon or cup offered along with its pack. If you use a spoon or ladle available at home, you may run risks of an overdose. Also, if you have missed a dose of Risperdal, and if the next dose is already coming close, never take the missed dose again. Skip it and take the next dose. People who have taken two (2) doses together or without much time interval in between 2 doses have triggered side effects of an overdose.
If you suspect that you have taken an overdose, talk to your treating physician or pharmacist immediately. In the US, you can call a local poison control center located closer to your home, get in touch with emergency helpline numbers of food and drug administration (FDA) or contact 911. Those living in Canada can quickly go to a local poison control center or take needful emergency help from Health Canada.
Risperdal may interact with a few other drugs, if co-administered along with them. The list of such drugs includes sleep inducers such as lorazepam and anxiety-reducing drugs like alprazolam. You may need to stay aware of its possible interactions with cough-relieving as well as opioid-based pain relieving drugs such as hydrocodone, codeine, etc.
You need to remember that the side effects and allergic reactions listed above do not form a full list. It is possible that Risperdal may trigger a few reactions and side effects that are not listed here. So, check with your physician and pharmacist if you encounter any other symptoms soon after taking Risperdal. If you have had prior conditions or a medical history of hepatic disorders, renal problems, blood related disorders (such as decreased count of white cells), skewed lipid profile (high levels of triglycerides or blood cholesterol) and ocular problems such as glaucoma, cataract, etc. you need to keep your medical team informed of such conditions. Also, if your family’s clinical history includes conditions like dementia or Parkinson’s, your doctor needs to be kept informed about them.
In sum, the most common side effects associated with the intake of Risperdal are abdominal discomforts such as nausea, dizziness, tiredness, gain of body weight, being lightheaded and drooling. Risperdal can also increase the level of blood sugar in your system. Though it is an uncommon occurrence, those living with insulin sensitivity issues or high blood sugar levels need to be watchful of frequent urges to urinate, persistent spell of thirstiness, etc. Consult your physician on an emergency basis if you notice any of these symptoms.