Side Effect Hell, part 6: The Truly Bizarre

For an index of all Side Effect Hell posts, click here.

 Drug: Risperadone

Most of the problems I’ve talked about so far are pretty common. This one is a much rarer one, which I managed to draw from the lottery.

Hyperprolactinaemia. It’s a really big word, but all it means is producing too much of the hormone prolactin. It’s best known for its ability to stimulate breast milk production, and it can also can cause menstrual disturbances. It does other weird and wonderful things to men, but being not-male means that I didn’t go through these.

So, I hadn’t been breast-feeding for years, when all of a sudden I was spilling breast milk everywhere, and my periods gave up on me. Panicpanicpanic I can’t be pregnant, can I? I can’t deal with that right now! But the pregnancy test comes back negative. Confusion sets in.

It turned out that the risperadone I was on was causing me to overproduce prolactin, and the whole constellation of problems was linked to that. I didn’t know it was even possible for this to happen, and it’s not information that I was given at the time.

This was a few years ago now, and thankfully this time I started on a risperadone trial, my doctor added aripiprazole to the mix to counteract that problem. But at the time, I was a frightened teenager wondering what the hell was happening to my body. And being a frightened teen, I REALLY didn’t want to discuss it with my GP, but I had to. It was humiliating – most of all because I didn’t have any knowledge of what on earth could be causing it. It was an episode that was characterised by fear and embarrassment.

It didn’t have to be. I could have been given some info about the drug. Rare side effects are just that, rare, but they’re usually the most frightening and should be pointed out to you at some point before you take a medication.

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4 thoughts on “Side Effect Hell, part 6: The Truly Bizarre

  1. purplegr3mlin

    I think doctors should actually discuss side effects with patients! My psychiatrist doesn’t mention anything, I just research before I take ANYTHING.
    I was so worried about my prolactin levels when I was on Risperidone! I would’ve panicked just like you if it happened, even knowing what caused it!
    Yikes!

    I’m glad you’re sharing experiences, it’s really nice to read. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Wombat Post author

      My doctors have never ever discussed potential side effects with me. I think the thinking behind it is that if you don’t know what’s possible, then you won’t make things up. Or something. Additionally, most meds do not come with their little info inserts round here. It’s frustrating, and confusing.

      Reply
      1. purplegr3mlin

        This is why I hate doctors, lol.

        I could also see that as frustrating. Come to think of it, my anti-psychs never came with info slips either… all my other medication did though… uhhh…

        Reply
  2. Pingback: Side Effect Hell Index | Drop Bear Exterminator

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