Risperdal Warnings and Precautions

Some Risperdal Warnings and Precautions

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of with Risperdal include:
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a special warning (a "black box warning") about the use of Risperdal in elderly people with dementia (a condition involving confusion; disorientation; and a loss of memory, intellect, and judgment) or psychosis. Elderly people with dementia (Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia) who are treated with antipsychotics -- including Risperdal -- are more likely to die (of various causes) than those who were not treated with those medications. Risperdal is not approved to treat dementia or dementia-related psychosis, and caution should be used before using Risperdal in elderly people with dementia.


  • Risperdal can cause tardive dyskinesia, a condition involving unusual and uncontrollable body or face movements. The condition can become permanent (even if Risperdal is stopped). The best way to prevent it from becoming permanent is to tell your healthcare provider right away if you notice any abnormal movements (including abnormal movements of the tongue) while taking Risperdal.
  • Risperdal can cause an increase in blood sugar levels and can increase the risk of developing diabetes. Tell your healthcare provider if you develop signs of diabetes while taking Risperdal. Possible signs of diabetes can include increased thirst, increased urination, or hunger. If you have diabetes, your blood sugar should be monitored carefully and regularly during treatment with Risperdal to make sure your diabetes is not becoming more severe (see Risperdal and Diabetes).
  • Risperdal can cause a drop in blood pressure when going from a sitting or lying position to standing (known medically as orthostatic hypotension). This can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms when standing. Orthostatic hypotension can be especially dangerous in people with heart disease or congestive heart failure (CHF).
  • Risperdal may increase the risk of seizures. Before starting Risperdal, tell your healthcare provider if you have epilepsy or a history of seizures.
  • Risperdal can cause difficultly swallowing, which can lead to inhalation of food (potentially causing pneumonia). Tell your healthcare provider if you notice any problems swallowing.
  • Risperdal can cause high levels of the hormone prolactin. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop signs of high prolactin, such as breast enlargement or breast discharge.
  • Very rarely, Risperdal can cause priapism (a painful erection of the penis that does not go away). Since this is a medical emergency, seek medical care immediately (to prevent permanent damage to the penis).
  • If you have liver or kidney disease, talk to your healthcare provider before taking Risperdal.
  • People with Parkinson's disease may be more sensitive to the effects of Risperdal. Be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider.


  • Antipsychotics (like Risperdal) have been reported to cause low white blood cells. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop frequent or persistent infections, as this may be a sign of low white blood cells. If you already have a low white blood cell count (or have had such a problem in the past), your healthcare provider should monitor your white blood cell count frequently during the first few months you take Risperdal. 


  • Risperdal is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe to take Risperdal during pregnancy. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using Risperdal during pregnancy (see Risperdal and Pregnancy).
  • Risperdal passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about using Risperdal (see Risperdal and Breastfeeding for more information).
  • Risperdal can interact with other medications (see Risperdal Drug Interactions).
  • Generally, alcohol should be avoided while taking Risperdal (see Risperdal and Alcohol).
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