Paliperidone is an atypical antipsychotic drug that is commonly used to treat schizophrenia. It may also be prescribed for dementia, autism, or Asperger syndrome. The drug works to restore chemical balance by altering the way certain substances in the brain function. It is meant to treat the symptoms of most of these conditions rather than the illnesses themselves. Paliperidone is marketed under the brand names Invega® and Invega Sustenna®.
Atypical antipsychotic drugs, or second generation antipsychotics, such as paliperidone are considered desirable by several medical professionals because they tend to cause fewer motor control side effects. This includes tremors, body rigidity, and general motor control. They are also believed to have fewer emotional side effects, such as those which cause a patient to commit suicide.
Paliperidone comes in tablet form. It is typically taken once a day in the morning with a full glass of water. For full effectiveness, the drug should be administered at the same time each day. The tablets should not be chewed, crushed, or split, but swallowed whole.
A doctor will usually monitor a patient on paliperidone, particularly in the early stages of treatment. Most medical professionals rely on patient feedback when deciding whether the drug is working. They may decide to change the dosage or discontinue use of the drug primarily based on this feedback.
Taking paliperidone can increase a patient’s sensitivity to extremes in temperature. Doctors typically advise avoiding situations in which it is possible to get very cold or warm. This includes dressing to avoid both heat and cold and staying hydrated by drinking sufficient fluids.
The mild side effects of paliperidone include upset stomach, nausea, dry mouth, and weight gain. Patients may also notice a change in menstrual periods and swelling or discharge of the breast. Mild feelings of restlessness, tremor, or drowsiness have also been reported as possible side effects. Some patients may also experience blurred vision, dizziness, or a headache. These symptoms need only be reported to a doctor if they become more severe or do not go away.
The more severe side effects of taking paliperidone should receive immediate medical attention. They include restless movements of the muscles in the eyes, neck, jaw, or tongue; stiff muscles; and difficulty swallowing. A high fever, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats, or sudden numbness or weakness should also be reported as soon as possible. Sores or white patches on the lips or inside the mouth are also considered serious.