Risperidone is a drug typically used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia, but it is also occasionally used to help those struggling with bipolar disorder, irritability associated with autism or depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). As with practically any medication, those taking this drug may develop some complications. The side effects of risperidone may be mild and can include things like drowsiness or increased salivation, while more severe side effects may take the form of allergic reactions and uncontrollable muscle contractions.
Many of the most common side effects of risperidone are not generally dangerous, and some people may simply find them annoying. These symptoms can include an increase in appetite, weight, and salivation, stomach and digestion issues that can include heartburn, nausea, or constipation, and skin-related problems like acne or dryness. Other mild but common complications may include dizziness, sexual dysfunction, hyperactivity, or fatigue.
Some of the more uncommon but relatively harmless side effects of taking risperidone may include vivid dreams or nightmares, frequent yawning, or a ringing in the ears. Occasionally, people may also develop colds, sinus infections, or pneumonia while taking this drug. Hair loss, leg cramps, and gas can also sometimes occur, though they are said to affect less than 2% of people on this medication.
Though less common, some side effects of risperidone can be more dangerous, even life threatening. Those who experience a prolonged fever and sweating, chills, body aches, or an irregular heartbeat are often advised to contact their doctor immediately. A noticeable swelling of the tongue, lips, face, or throat, hives, or trouble breathing may indicate an allergic reaction to this medication. Other serious complications related to taking risperidone can include fainting or lightheadedness, sores inside the mouth or on the lips, or sudden feelings of depression that may be accompanied by suicidal thoughts.
In some cases, the side effects of risperidone can include the development of certain medical conditions. Those taking risperidone may have a higher risk of forming hyperglycemia-related reactions, especially if they are significantly overweight. During the first few weeks of treatment, some patients may also develop orthostatic hypotension. This condition is characterized by a noticeable drop in blood pressure while rising from a resting position, which may cause the patient to become dizzy or faint. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), asthma, and anemia may also develop while taking this medication; however, such problems are not common.