Risperdal is an atypical antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder, and acute manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar mania. Risperdal works by readjusting the balance of these chemicals, helping to control symptoms. Risperdal was approved by the FDA in 1993 and was developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. It was approved to treat disorders in both children and adults. Children with autism have been prescribed the drug to treat symptoms of irritability.

Risperdal has been linked to type 2 diabetes, juvenile diabetes, hyperglycemia, other blood sugar disorders, diabetic coma and pancreatitis—a dangerous inflammation of the pancreas.

A 2003 study reported that there were 49 percent more cases of diabetes among patients taking Risperdal than patients taking older anti-psychotic drugs. After the study, the FDA required that the makers of Risperdal include a warning label that recommends its users to be monitored for blood sugar abnormalities.

In addition to this announcement, in 2005 the FDA issued an alert stating that elderly patients treated with Risperdal for dementia had a higher chance for death by stroke and cardiac arrest than patients who did not take the drug. Other dangerous side effects of Risperdal include excessive weight gain, Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), and Tardive Dyskinesia. NMS is a potentially fatal condition that can cause severe muscle rigidity and spikes in blood pressure and pulse.

Also, Risperdal has been prescribed to treat dementia in elderly patients, although this use is not approved by the FDA. The FDA has warned that Risperdal should not be used to treat dementia because it can increase the risk of various ailments including heart disease and pneumonia in elderly patients.

Serious side effects may include:

  • Fever, stiff muscles, confusion, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats
  • Restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck
  • Drooling, tremor (uncontrolled shaking)
  • Seizure (convulsions)
  • Fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms
  • Nosebleeds
  • White patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Feeling like you might pass out
  • Penis erection that is painful or lasts four hours or longer

Less serious Risperdal side effects may include:

  • Weight gain
  • Feeling hot or cold
  • Headache, dizziness
  • Drowsiness, tired feeling
  • Dry mouth, increased appetite
  • Feeling restless or anxious
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation
  • Cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose
  • Mild skin rash
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