HeadMeds gives young people in the United Kingdom general information about medication. HeadMeds does not give you medical advice. Please talk to your Doctor or anyone else who is supporting you about your own situation because everyone is different. Please read more important details about our site.

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Return to Risperidone overview
  1. Use and Action
  2. Warnings and side effects
  3. Sex, drink, weight and everything else
Taking fluoxetine risperidone and sertraline listing
Taking Fluoxetine, Risperidone and Sertraline
I was grumpy when I came off the medication but my weight went back to normal

You can drink alcohol while taking risperidone, but it could make you very sleepy

  • You can continue to drink alcohol in moderation while taking risperidone. You might find having the two together makes you very sleepy.
  • So, during the first few days, it might be best to stop drinking alcohol until you see how the medicine affects you.
  • If you want to drink alcohol, remember that you might be sleepy and make sure you can get home safely.

Do not drive or ride a bike just after you start taking risperidone

  • Taking risperidone may make you feel tired or dizzy, and may affect your eyesight, when you start taking it.
  • This could affect you if you drive a car, ride a bike, or do anything else that needs a lot of focus. It might be best to stop doing these things for the first few days, until you know how it affects you.
  • Don't worry - most people drive as normal while taking risperidone.
  • You must tell DVLA if you have bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or other mental health conditions that could affect your driving.
  • You can be fined up to £1,000 if you do not tell DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving.
  • You may be prosecuted if you are involved in an accident as a result.

Try not to take risperidone for the first time just before your exams

  • Taking risperidone may make you feel tired, or make it hard to fall asleep at night. It can also give you headaches or affect your eyesight.
  • You should talk to your doctor about any future exams if you are starting risperidone.
  • You might decide together to delay starting it until you have done them.
  • If they are more than a month away, however, you might find that it is better to start risperidone to improve your motivation to study.
  • Don't worry - most people do exams as normal while taking risperidone.
  • Psychosis and schizophrenia itself can also affect concentration.

Risperidone is not a banned substance in sport

  • Risperidone is not a banned substance in sport.
  • Taking risperidone may make you feel tired and dizzy, and affect your eyesight
  • This could be dangerous in some sports like riding a bike or driving.
  • It might be best to stop such sports for the first few days, until you know how it affects you.
  • Don't worry - most people do sports as normal while taking risperidone.

Your weight may be affected by risperidone

    • A side-effect of risperidone can be either weight loss or weight gain.
    • Weight gain is more common than weight loss.
    • It is very difficult to know how it will affect each person who takes it but if you start to have problems with your weight while taking risperdone, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about this.
    • Your doctor should measure your weight regularly when you are taking risperidone.
    • Most of the weight gain is in the first 6-12 months and then it levels out.
    • As you grow you will gain weight naturally, but anything more than that should be watched.
    • Good practice for doctors suggests this routine for checking the weight of people who start taking antipsychotic medicines like risperidone:
  • Get your weight noted before you start
  • Get your weight checked every week for the first six weeks and then again after 3 months
  • Get your weight and waist measurement checked at least every 6 months
  • You could do these measurements yourself, and keep a chart to show your doctor.
  • If you put on weight, there are other antipsychotic medicines you can try which are less likely to make you put on weight.
  • Look at ways to try and lose extra unwanted weight.

For women, risperidone will not affect contraceptive pills or the 'morning after' pill

  • It can affect periods in girls by raising prolactin. If you stop having periods while taking risperidone, talk to your doctor and they will be able to do a simple blood test to check if the risperidone is the cause.

Risperidone may make you feel very sleepy, but may also make it hard to get to sleep

  • You can feel sleepy in the first few days of taking risperidone.
  • It should get better after the first week or two.
  • If you feel like a zombie, and you’ve been taking it for more than a month, you should go back to the doctor and see what else you could do.
  • For some people, it can make it hard for you to go to sleep.
  • If this happens, you can change the time that you take your risperidone each day (if you are taking tablets or liquid).
  • Take it earlier in the day and see if this makes it easier to get to sleep.
  • If you are on the long-acting injection, talk to your doctor if your sleep is disturbed.

Let your family and friends know you are taking risperidone so they can support you and help you look out for benefits and side effects

  • It might actually be a great idea to choose a good friend to tell about your medicine when you start taking it. (Or - even better - to take a friend with you to the doctor before you start taking the medicine!)
  • They could look at the medicine leaflet, or at this website.
  • They could help you to understand whether the medicine improves your behaviour, or gives you side-effects (sometimes it is hard for us to see it ourselves).
  • The side-effects of risperidone might put a strain on your friendships and relationships, especially in the first few days of taking it.
  • You may become more anxious, for example. It may make you irritable.
  • You might feel more restless at first – it might seem like your old symptoms are getting worse.
  • These side-effects should get better after a few days.
  • You should then be getting the good effects of risperidone, and that should improve your relationships in itself.

Risperidone can have side-effects that might affect your sex life

The good effects of risperidone may have a good effect on your sex life as your symptoms settle and you can concentrate on your relationships.

There are some side-effects that include:

  • Men might get painful erections, or problems with getting hard (getting an erection) and coming (ejaculating)
  • If the erection does not go away after more than a couple of hours, and is very painful, it may be a condition called ‘priapism’ and you must go to hospital for treatment straight away.
  • Women might have some bleeding from their vagina, and might not come (reach orgasm) the same way as before
  • Women may get irregular periods
  • Men and women might get bigger breasts, and some milk flow from the breasts
  • You may have a lower sex drive
  • If you lose or gain weight, or get other physical side-effects, you may just not feel as sexy as before

These effects should pass after the first couple of weeks. If they do not, and this is a problem for you, go back to the doctor and see what else you could try.

While taking risperidone it might be more difficult for you to fall pregnant, but this effect is not permanent

  • Risperidone can increase the level of a natural hormone called prolactin in the body.
  • This hormone is produced in high levels to produce milk in breastfeeding mothers, and provides some natural contraception.
  • It is also produced at low levels in men.
  • This means that women taking risperidone might find it more difficult to get pregnant if their prolactin levels rise. Do NOT rely on this as an alternative to good contraception.
  • Talk to your doctor about this if you want to get pregnant with your partner, and see below for more information about taking risperidone during pregnancy.

Is it safe to take risperidone in pregnancy?

There is no yes or no answer to this question. When deciding whether or not to take risperidone during pregnancy it is important to weigh up how necessary risperidone is to your health against the possible risks to you or your baby, some of which will depend on how many weeks pregnant you are.

Remaining well is particularly important during pregnancy and while caring for a baby. For some women, treatment with risperidone in pregnancy may be the best option for both mother and baby.

As with other antipsychotics taking risperidone may cause your folate levels to become low and a prescribed supplement dose of 5mg daily should be taken.

There is information on over 400 mums who took risperidone and there does not seem to be an increased risk of malformations, miscarriage or diabetes during pregnancy.

If you have taken risperidone close to delivery your baby may have some side effects or discontinuation symptoms.

Discontinuation symptoms such as being irritable, crying or problems feeding and sleeping are usually mild and go away in a few days without treatment.

Please consult the UK Teratology Information Service’s Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (Bumps) website for more information, including specific information on risperidone in pregnancy.

Is it safe to breastfeed my baby whilst taking risperidone?

    • Risperidone is passed to the baby in breastmilk in small amounts. This could help with any discontinuation symptoms.
    • You should discuss the risks and benefits of breastfeeding with your midwife or doctor.
    • Remember that it is important for you to remain well whilst you are bonding with and looking after your baby. For this reason, it may be best to take medicine for your mental health when breastfeeding.
    • Make sure that your doctor, nurse, or health visitor checks your baby for any side effects.
    • If your baby was premature or has health problems, then you will need to be extra careful about taking medicines whilst breastfeeding. It may be best not to breastfeed if this is the case, however you should discuss this with your doctor or midwife.

Risperidone can produce a false positive result in some drug tests

  • Risperidone can produce a false positive test for LSD on a urine drug screen.
  • Talk to your doctor about this if it is a problem for you.