Risperdal (risperidone). Risperdal was the first of the atypicals that could be used without weekly blood work. It works on both the dopamine and serotonin systems of neurotransmitters. Possible side effects include weight gain, sedation, tremors, muscle stiffness, low blood pressure, dizziness, insomnia, and anxiety. There have been some reports of tardive dyskinesia in patients taking risperidone. Usually the side effect medicine, Cogentin (benztropine), is prescribed to help with side effects of stiffness, restlessness, and muscle rigidity. Too much benztropine can cause a “spacey” feeing and trouble thinking. It is important to take the prescribed dose and only when symptoms of muscle rigidity appear. My son had two drug reactions to risperidone caused by self-dosing and not having the side effect medicine available while having muscle stiffness and tremors.
Adverse Reaction Reports Filed with the US FDA: There have been 12,883 adverse reactions reported to the US FDA in connection with Risperdal (risperidone). The FDA estimates that less than 1 percent of all serious events are ever reported to it, so the actual number of side effects occurring is most certainly higher.
635 cases of weight increase
532 cases of death
467 cases of diabetes mellitus
443 cases of attempted suicide
438 cases of somnolence
384 cases of drug being ineffective
370 cases of aggression
364 cases of neuroleptic malignant syndrome (a life-threatening neurological disorder)
343 cases of extrapyramidal disorder (movement syndromes)
Seroquel (quetiapine). Seroquel is another newer antipsychotic medication. Doctors originally recommended that patients taking it have special eye examinations, because an animal study showed that beagles taking high doses developed cataracts. At this time, there has been no report of any human developing cataracts from the drug. Possible side effects include sedation, memory problems, upset stomach, and agitation. I would add flattened emotions and akinesia to this list of side effects. Seroquel is used to control the mood swings in affective and schizoaffective disorders.
Seroquel Drug Warnings:
There have been multiple drug regulatory agency warnings from four countries (United States, Canada, Australia, and South Africa).
Three warnings on Seroquel causing death or increased risk of death
Three warnings on Seroquel causing withdrawal reactions
Three warnings on Seroquel causing blood disorders
Two warnings on Seroquel causing diabetes
Two warnings on Seroquel causing weight gain/ obesity
Two warnings on Seroquel causing suicidal behavior or ideation
Two warnings on Seroquel causing birth defects
Two warnings on Seroquel causing involuntary movements
Two warnings on Seroquel causing strokes
Two warnings on Seroquel causing heart problems
There are many other, newer atypical antipsychotic medicines coming out. A total of thirty or more exist on the drug market today. Many have short testing cycles (six to ten months) and are released before being thoroughly tested at different doses. There have been several recent studies done evaluating the effectiveness of antipsychotics weighed against the side effects of using them.
The antipsychotics my son was on created his state of malaise and apathy, and furthermore, they diminished his sex drive and ability to maintain a relationship with his girlfriend. My definite belief is that Marco should have been weaned off of the antipsychotics and had the BEAM intervention surgery done early in his illness. I believe that the psychiatrist that Marco was seeing deterred him from pursuing the BEAM treatment by telling him it would make him simple. The psychiatrist knew nothing about BEAM and the success of the people who have had the treatment.
The BEAM Procedure for schizophrenia works hand in hand with psychiatrist prescribed antipsychotics after the surgery at reduced dosages and gradually reduces their use altogether.