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Risperdal, Invega and Movement Disorders

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Risperdal and Invega are atypical antipsychotic drugs. They can cause serious side effects, including movement disorders like tardive dyskinesia, tardive dystonia and parkinsonism.

Antipsychotic medications like Risperdal (risperidone) and Invega (paliperidone) can cause muscular and neurological problems called extrapyramidal symptoms, or EPS. These uncontrolled movements may involve a series of short quick movements of the limbs, head and tongue, or slow, painful, twisting movements that are repeated over and over. People may even make involuntary noises such as grunting.

People with these conditions often consider the movements embarrassing, tiring and disruptive. They also tend to feel isolated and may be embarrassed to go out in public. Sometimes the movements are so severe that they are disabling. For some, the conditions remain even after they stop taking the medication.

In addition to Risperdal and Invega, prescription medications Reglan, Zyprexa, Thorazine, Haldol and Stelazine are known to cause these movement disorders.

Movement Disorders Associated with Risperdal and Invega

Several movement disorders are linked to the use of Risperdal and Invega, but the three most mentioned are tardive dyskinesia, tardive dystonia and parkinsonism, all of which are mentioned in Risperdal packaging. It’s possible for one person to suffer from all of these disorders at the same time.

Researchers don’t understand why or how antipsychotic medications cause these disorders. Some theories point to the way antipsychotics alter the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain like serotonin and dopamine.

Dopamine is responsible for regulating body movement, and it is possible that by altering dopamine levels, Risperdal, Invega and other antipsychotics can cause unnatural and involuntary movements. This may cause abnormal stimulation of the parts of the brain that signal muscles to move.

Tardive Dyskinesia

Tardive dyskinesia means “late-developing abnormal movements.” They are called late developing because most symptoms appear after taking a drug for a period of time. These uncontrolled movements are usually quick, jerky and repetitive. When patients are asleep, the symptoms may subside, but grow much worse during moments of stress or agitation.

Symptoms of tardive dyskinesia include:
Rapid blinking of eyes Lip smacking
Tongue twitching and protruding out of the mouth Raising eyebrows
Foot and toe tapping Body jerking
Jerky hand, finger and arm movements Facial grimacing, tic-like movements

Clinical studies show that among Risperdal users, tardive dyskinesia most affects older women.

Tardive Dystonia

While tardive dyskinesia is characterized by quick, jerky, repetitive movements that are more embarrassing than painful, tardive dystonia involves slower, painful, twisting movements of the muscles. This disorder mostly affects young men.

Some of the symptoms of tardive dystonia are:
Difficulty speaking (dystonia), running out of breath mid-sentence Grinding of teeth
Involuntary flinging out arms or legs Distress
Disability Difficulty walking and breathing
Abnormal body postures

Tardive dyskinesia and dystonia can be similar in the way they present themselves, and their symptoms may overlap.

Parkinsonism

In clinical trials, parkinsonism was listed as one of the most common adverse reactions to Risperdal. When caused by a medicine, it is also referred to as secondary parkinsonism. This helps differentiate the condition from Parkinson’s disease.

Like tardive dyskinesia and dystonia, parkinsonism causes involuntary body movements. Elderly users are most susceptible.

Symptoms of secondary parkinsonism resemble those of Parkinson’s disease and include:
Decrease in facial expressions Loss or weakness of movement
Soft voice Stiffness of torso, arms or legs
Tremors Memory loss
Difficulty controlling body movements Slow, shuffling gait
Stooped posture

There are no cures for any of these movement disorders, though doctors may prescribe other drugs or suggest certain vitamins to help control symptoms. In many cases, patients will have irreversible damage to receptors in the brain. Neurologists who specialize in movement disorders may also be able to help.

Lawsuits Involving Movement Disorders

While the majority of lawsuits filed by people injured by Risperdal involve young boys and men who developed breasts (gynecomastia) after taking the drug, movement disorders also led patients to file take legal action.

In 2000, a Philadelphia jury awarded $6.7 million to plaintiff Elizabeth Liss, who developed tardive dyskinesia after taking Risperdal to treat bipolar disorder. This was one of the first lawsuits involving a movement disorder and Risperdal.

More recently, in February 2014, the family of a child who developed irreversible tardive dyskinesia at age 15 after taking Risperdal for autism symptoms filed a lawsuit and was awarded $1.5 million by a Chicago jury.

In addition to lawsuits filed by people suffering from movement disorders, hundreds of men and young boys who developed breasts after taking Risperdal also filed lawsuits. If you or a loved one suffered from risperdal side effects, Drugwatch can help. Contact our Patient Advocates for help today.

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