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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Risperidone

Return to Risperidone overview
  1. Use and Action
  2. Warnings and side effects
  3. Sex, drink, weight and everything else
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Taking Risperidone to treat Psychosis: Andrew's story
The key with any medication is it has to be reviewed regularly and you need to be educated as to its purpose

An antipsychotic helps to adjust the levels of dopamine and other chemicals available in your brain to calm it down.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist before you take risperidone if you have any of these conditions

You need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following apply to you:

  • If you have any heart problems
  • If you have epilepsy
  • If you have diabetes
  • If you have had a blood clot, or anyone in your family has had one
  • If you have ever had unusual movements of your tongue, mouth or face
  • If you have kidney or liver problems
  • If you or someone in your family has had a stroke, or is at risk of a stroke
  • You have ever had a condition known as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) whose symptoms include high temperature, muscle stiffness or sweating
  • If you have a condition called porphyria (ask your doctor – if you have it, it should be on your records)

  • If you are a man who has ever had an erection that lasted for more than a few hours and was very painful (priapism)

Risperidone has possible side effects, and some of these are rare but serious

Go to a doctor or hospital straight away if you get any of the following symptoms:

  • swelling, pain, and redness in the leg, which may lead to chest pain and difficulty breathing. This might be a blood clot.
  • feeling a sudden change in your mental state, or difficulty with your memory
  • sudden weakness or numbness of your face, arms or legs, especially on one side, or slurred speech, even for a short period of time. This may be a stroke.
  • fever, muscle stiffness, sweating or a loss of consciousness (a problem called “Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome”)
  • if you get a painful erection that lasts more than a couple of hours in men (priapism)
  • movements of the tongue, mouth and face that you cannot control – this could be a condition called ‘tardive dyskinesia’
  • fits (convulsions)

Some side-effects that do appear should get better after a few days. If they do not, you should go back to your doctor

Not everyone will experience side effects with risperidone. Some of the more common side effects are listed at the bottom of this page. If you are experiencing a problem that might be a side effect, but that is not listed here, please take a look at the patient information leaflet that was in the medicine packet or speak to your pharmacist or doctor. If you think you have a side effect that has not got better within a few days go back to your doctor.

There are many possible side-effects when you start taking risperidone. Some people will have no side-effects and some people will have a few – it is hard to say which you will get as everyone is different. Most will get better after a few days, but if they do not and they are affecting your life, you should go back to the doctor.

Do not stop taking the tablets until you talk to your doctor, or you may get withdrawal symptoms as well.

Young people were more likely than adults to get some side-effects

Young people and children aged 5-17 were more likely than adults to get the following side-effects:

  • feeling tired, sleepy, or less focused
  • headache
  • feeling hungry and eating more (greater appetite)
  • being sick (vomiting)
  • getting cold symptoms like a blocked nose and cough
  • pain in your gut (abdomen)
  • fever
  • dizziness and shaking
  • loose poo (diarrhoea) and less control over when you wee (incontinence)
  • Again, speak to your pharmacist or doctor if you think you're having side-effects from risperidone

Risperidone can interact with some other medicines and drugs

Check with your doctor or pharmacist if risperidone is OK for you to take if you are on any other medicines.

If you have any further questions about this you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Always talk to the doctor if you are taking other medicines. Tell the pharmacist you are taking risperidone if you buy medicines (including things you put on your skin) for common illnesses.

The effects of some other medicines can be changed when you take them together with risperidone

Check this out with your doctor or pharmacist.

Get your weight and blood checked regularly when you take risperidone

  • You will have your weight checked, and have some blood tests, when you start taking risperidone.
  • You should then have your weight, blood sugar, blood fats, blood pressure and pulse measured regularly during early treatment, then at least 6 monthly or annually thereafter depending on your age.
  • You should also have your blood sugar tested when you start, after 4-6 months, and every year after that.
  • The doctor might also check your heart with an electrocardiogram ECG.
  • They might also check your height and development, and whether a young woman’s periods are regular.
  • It is very important to go for these checks when you are asked to do so.

The doctors should repeat these every year you’re taking risperidone. If you haven’t had these checked for a while, talk to your doctor to make sure they’re up to date.

Risperidone use has been linked to high blood sugar and diabetes in some young people

    • Some studies have shown a risk of developing diabetes among young people who have a family history of diabetes.
    • This could be linked to putting on weight.
  • Watch out for any early signs of diabetes: wanting to drink a lot, going for a wee a lot, feeling more hungry, feeling weak
  • If you already have diabetes, taking risperidone may affect your blood sugar levels.
  • Talk to your doctor, and check your blood glucose levels regularly.
  • You may have to increase the medication you use for your diabetes.

Risperidone does not mix well with street drugs

  • Some street drugs can increase levels of dopamine in the brain (e.g. cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy). As antipsychotics block the effects of dopamine, the “high” from street drugs may not be as “high” as before. You may therefore be tempted to increase the dose of your street drug to make up for it, but this could be dangerous.
  • Some street drugs can make you feel sleepy and this could be made worse with risperidone.
  • There are many other street drugs but we don’t know what effect taking them with risperidone will have.

Stopping the medication causes the balance of chemicals in the brain to alter

  •  When you start taking an antipsychotic, your brain adjusts to having  lower levels of dopamine around.
  • If you stop taking the antipsychotic suddenly, the balance starts to change again and your brain can take a while to adapt to this change. You could get your old symptoms back. You could get some symptoms from the change which are called withdrawal symptoms although these are mild and rare with risperidone.

Stopping this medicine quickly, or reducing the dose too much at once, may cause your old symptoms to come back

  • You will probably get your old symptoms back if you stop risperidone suddenly.

You can stop taking it safely with your doctor’s help

  • If you are thinking of stopping or want to stop, talk to your doctor and they can help.
  • They will reduce and stop the risperdone slowly so that any problems (like your old symptoms coming back) can be picked up quickly.
  • It is better to agree stopping with a doctor who will reduce you gradually. This will be done over a few weeks.

Some side-effects that do appear should get better after a few days. If they do not, you should go back to your doctor.

Don't stop taking Risperidone until you talk to your doctor or you may get withdrawal symptoms as well.

Very common - could affect more than 1 in 10 people

  • headache - speak to your pharmacist about treatments to help
  • feeling dizzy or low blood pressure - try not to stand up too quickly or sit or lie down if you're feeling dizzy
  • movement problems, sometimes called extra-pyramidal side-effects (EPSEs). This is a medical term that includes many symptoms relating to movement. Symptoms include: muscle stiffness, muscle tightness, or jerks when bending your arms and legs, your movements might feel a bit robotic; feeling restless all the time and needing to move around; shakiness in your hands and legs; if you develop EPSEs, your doctor may decrease your dose or give you other treatments to help
  • Common - could affect up to 1 in 10 people

    • feeling sleepy, tired, weak or exhausted - this can be worse at the start of treatment and wear off after a few weeks. If you take your dose once daily, you could try taking it just before you go to bed.
    • feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting) - try taking your dose with food
    • loose poo (diarrhoea) - make sure you drink lots of water and speak to your doctor or pharmacist if it continues for more than a few days
    • finding it hard to have a poo (constipation) - make sure you drink enough fluids, eat enough fibre (like brown breads, fruit and veg) and do enough exercise. Speak to your pharmacist if this goes on for a few more days than normal for you.
    • feeling more hungry and eating more (increased appetite) or eating less (decreased appetite) and therefore putting on weight or losing weight (decreased appetite) – try to eat lots of veg and fibre when you can. Speak to your pharmacist or doctor for advice on healthy foods.
    • heartburn, gut (abdominal) pain or discomfort
    • Higher level of a hormone called prolactin. This can cause women to stop having periods or milk leaking from your breasts. For men it can cause trouble getting an erection. Speak to you doctor if you get any of these symptoms and they can check your prolactin level with a simple blood test. In the long term (years), raised prolactin can weaken your bones.
    • Uncommon - likely to affect up to 1 in every 100 people

      • Although this list of side-effects can look scary, some people won’t get any side-effects at all. Speak to your pharmacist or doctor if you think you are having side-effects from risperidone.
      • There are other side-effects that you can get when taking this medicine – we have only included the most common ones here.
      • Please look at the leaflet inside your medicine box, or ask a doctor or pharmacist, if you want to know if you are getting a side-effect from your medicine.
      • If you do get a side-effect, please think about reporting it via the Yellow Card Scheme