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What are the Most Common Risperdal® Side Effects?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Risperdal® is also known by the drug name risperidone and its an atypical antipsychotic medication that was initially developed to treat schizophrenia. It is now also used to treat the manic phase of bipolar disorder and sometimes to help with behavioral issues in children with autism. There are numerous Risperdal® side effects and many can expect to encounter at least some of these. Consideration of side effects and frequency can help people decide whether this drug is appropriate to them.

By any measure, the most common of the Risperdal® side effects are drowsiness and increased appetite. Somnolence can occur in up to 42% of people who take this medication and may especially occur in kids, as per testing by risperidone’s makers. Surprisingly, higher doses of the drug in some populations translate to less fatigue or sleepiness. Increased appetite, which again may be more noted in child populations according to testing, occurred in 49% of pediatric patients. Less appetite increase is noted in adults.

Some Risperdal® side effects can significantly affect movement and risperidone had a 13-16% reported rate of Parkinsonism in testing. This overall condition can cause tremor, difficulty moving, a rigid body and postural instability, which means people can feel dizzy and unbalanced. In testing, some people, about 14%, suffered only from dizziness. Others ran the risk (9-18%) of developing dystonia, where muscle contractions occurred outside of the control of the person. Another symptom reported in those who tested Risperdal® was akathisia, or a sense of inner restlessness, in about 7-10% of people.

Other Risperdal® side effects that have been reported as fairly common include development of anxiety, an increase in saliva, and stomach upset in the form of acid indigestion, constipation and nausea. About 10% people taking this medication could develop a rash from it, and approximately the same percent are likely to have sustained nasal congestion. Studies on most medications are time limited, and even the most current information won’t always report all possible side effects or how these may change over time if a person continues to use a medication on a constant basis. It is quite possible to take this medication and have no side effects, or to take it and have most, and side effect expression may change with a person’s age, dose of medication and other medications he or she takes.

There is a warning that now applies to Risperdal® side effects in certain populations. In people who are elderly and who have dementia, this medication is strongly discouraged. It greatly elevates risk for sudden death and it should not in most cases be used.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia...
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