Reviews of the popular antipsychotic medication Invega show a wide range of side effects—some serious—associated with the drug.
Invega (paliperidone), produced by Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a division of Johnson & Johnson), is an atypical antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia. Invega works by changing the effects of brain chemicals. The drug binds to the dopamine receptors in the brain where they are responsible for integrating emotions, perceptions and self-control, Top Class Actions explains.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Invega in 2006 for individuals 12 and older.
Reviews on the Invega website indicate that Invega should not be prescribed to treat psychotic conditions related to dementia because the drug has been linked to possible heart failure, rapid heart rate, sudden death or pneumonia in older adults. According to the Mayo Clinic, common Invega side effects include: headache, nausea, vomiting; absent, missed, or irregular menstrual periods; difficulty having a bowel movement; fear or nervousness; and inability to sit still. Invega can cause increased sensitivity to temperature changes, especially to very hot or cold surroundings. Increased fluid consumption is recommended for anyone taking Invega.
Invega has been associated with elevated blood sugar levels and a higher rate of type 2 diabetes. Weight gain can also be a side effect of Invega, and excess weight increases the risk of diabetes.
Among the more troubling Invega side effects in males is gynecomastia, where a male experiences the growth of female breasts. Because of the way Invega works, the body can increase production of prolactin, the hormone that enables lactation (breast milk production) in females. At abnormally high levels, prolactin can result in breast growth in males. Some men and boys gain weight and experience breast enlargement. Though gynecomastia can sometimes reverse without treatment once the cause is removed (for example, Invega), in some cases surgery may be necessary to restore normal male appearance. Any surgery involves risks, and the patient has to be prepared for pain and limitations during recovery.
Since Invega causes the pituitary gland to generate more prolactin, the medication can also cause the gland itself to enlarge and pituitary tumors can become a problem, Top class Actions reports. An Invega user who experiences vision problems, internal bleeding, headaches or convulsions should be examined for a pituitary tumor.
Patients reviews indicate that patients taking Invega experience movement disorders, including the onset of involuntary, repetitive movements. These motor skill irregularities are linked with Invega. Patients should report any movement problems to a doctor because the problem can become irreversible.
Invega reviews often include information about the side effects of Risperdal (risperidone) because the two atypical antipsychotics are similar. This year, five lawsuits involving young males who developed gynecomastia after taking Risperdal have gone to trial in Philadelphia. Four of the five trials ended with a damage award for the plaintiff. The awards ranged from $500,000 to $70 million in a case decided on July 1, 2016.