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.
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.
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|
|Difficulty controlling body movements||Slow, shuffling gait|
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.