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How Effective Is Risperidone for Bipolar?

Risperidone, also known by the brand name Risperdal, is used to treat schizophrenia as well as bipolar disorder.
A physician may prescribe risperidone for several different psychiatric issues.
While risperidone is sometimes prescribed to prevent instability, it may actually worsen the problem in some cases.
Toothaches and nausea are potential side effects of risperidone.
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  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2014
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Risperidone for bipolar is effective in the treatment of this condition's symptoms, which are characterized by mood swings that range from manic euphoria to depression. In addition to treating bipolar, risperidone is used to treat schizophrenia and certain symptoms in autistic children. Also, risperidone was once commonly used to treat psychotic symptoms in those with dementia, but this has become a rarity because of an increase in adverse reactions.

When administering risperidone for bipolar, the health care provider should monitor the patient for anxiety, headache, agitation, and aggression. In addition, although risperidone for bipolar is sometimes prescribed for agitation, it can occasionally worsen the condition. When side effects are noticed, the health care provider should be notified, who can discuss alternative treatment options with the patient or his caregiver.

Cardiovascular side effects sometimes develop when risperidone for bipolar is prescribed. These can include palpitations, chest pain, and tachycardia, or rapid heart rate. In addition, standing up too fast can cause a drop in the blood pressure when taking risperidone for bipolar, and in rare cases, a heart attack can occur. Cardiac-related side effects require immediate medical attention to avoid complications.

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Some of risperidone's most common side effects include those of a gastrointestinal nature. They include nausea, vomiting, constipation, and stomach pain. In addition, dry mouth or an increase in salivation can occur, as can heartburn, difficulty swallowing, toothache, and loss of appetite. These side effects are generally mild and usually go away shortly after treatment has started.

Taking risperidone during pregnancy or while breast feeding may not be safe for the mother or the baby. This medication can be passed on to the baby via breast feeding and may cause problems during labor and delivery. A rare, but very serious syndrome can occur when taking risperidone called neuroleptic malignant syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by fever, sweating, muscle rigidity, and an impaired level of consciousness. Emergency medical attention is required because this condition can be life-threatening.

Drinking alcohol, driving a motor vehicle, or operating heavy machinery may not be safe when taking risperidone. This medication can cause profound drowsiness, impair reflexes, and cause confusion. It is also important to note that taking this medication won't cure the condition, but it will likely make symptoms more manageable. In addition, the patient may not notice immediate relief from his symptoms, because it can take a few weeks of treatment before improvement is achieved.

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