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Risperidone & Weight Loss

author image Michelle Kerns
Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.
Risperidone & Weight Loss
Risperidone, a medication used to treat mental disorders, may cause weight gain. Photo Credit: Homofaber/iStock/Getty Images

Risperidone is a prescription medication used to control the symptoms associated with a variety of mental disorders. Risperidone use may cause several side effects, including significant weight gain. Before you use the drug for the treatment of any medical condition, be certain to speak to your doctor about the potential risks of antipsychotic drug use.

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Risperidone -- also known as Risperdal or Risperdal M-Tab -- is a commonly used psychotropic drug used for treating mental conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in both adolescents and adults. It has also been used as a method for medically controlling excessive irritability in autistic children. Its effects in the body are thought to be connected to its ability to act as a dopamine type 2 and serotonin type 2 antagonist, meaning it blocks dopamine and serotonin receptors.

Risperidone and Weight

Risperidone does not induce weight loss; by contrast, risperidone use is associated with an increase in appetite, a rise in blood cholesterol levels and potentially significant weight gain in up to 5 percent of its users. These weight and triglyceride-related side effects of risperidone may increase the risk of developing heart disease or diabetes. If you are taking risperidone and are concerned about weight gain, speak to your doctor about beginning a personalized diet and exercise program, as well as about other options that can help counteract the effects of the medication.

Other Side Effects

Besides weight gain, risperidone use may cause nausea, headaches, a runny nose, unexpected sleepiness, fatigue, blurry vision, vomiting, cough, drooling, abdominal pain, rashes, anxiety, constipation, difficulty urinating, a dry mouth and a sharp decrease in your sex drive as well as an inability to achieve orgasm. Risperidone can also interfere with the function of medications like clozapine, phenobarbital, rifampin, carbamazepine and Parkinson's disease drugs like levodopa and bromocriptine.


Risperidone should not be used by elderly people suffering from dementia since the drug may cause pneumonia or heart failure to develop in older individuals. Risperidone should also not be used by anyone with a history of kidney, liver or heart disease; Parkinson's disease; diabetes; breast cancer; or epilepsy. If you've been prescribed risperidone by your physician, be certain to drink plenty of fluids and avoid drinking alcohol or exposing yourself to external temperatures that are either excessively hot or cold. Seek medical assistance immediately if you begin to feel dizzy, light-headed or confused or begin to experience shaking, difficulty swallowing, uncontrollable muscular contractions or a high, unexplained fever.

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