What is adolescent schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious mental health illness. Symptoms of schizophrenia for adolescents may begin between 13 and 17 years of age.

Adolescents with schizophrenia may see a change in the way they think or decisions they make. Relating to others, including friends and family, may also become challenging. Adolescents with schizophrenia may find it hard to manage their feelings and may act or speak in ways that seem unacceptable or confusing. This is because they may have a distorted or unclear view of their surroundings.

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?

The symptoms are the same at any age but may vary based on the person. You can read more about the symptoms of schizophrenia here.

How is schizophrenia diagnosed in adolescents?

Diagnosis should be made by a doctor that has experience in evaluating and treating mental illnesses in adolescents.

The symptoms of schizophrenia are typically harder to identify and interpret in adolescents than adults. As a result, adolescents with schizophrenia are often misdiagnosed with other mood, learning, or developmental disorders. For this reason, doctors must rule out these other medical conditions before diagnosing a patient with schizophrenia.

How common is schizophrenia in adolescents?

Schizophrenia is much less common in adolescents than in adults. People with schizophrenia may begin having symptoms in their 20s, but sometimes symptoms may occur during the later teenage years. Schizophrenia affects both genders equally, but it’s more common for men to experience symptoms in their late teens.

Important Safety Information


INVEGA® (paliperidone) is used for the short-term treatment of schizoaffective disorder in adults and for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults and in adolescents (12-17 years of age).

INVEGA® is not approved for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis in elderly patients. Elderly patients who were given oral antipsychotics like INVEGA® in clinical studies for psychosis caused by dementia (memory problems) had a higher risk of death.

Do not receive INVEGA® if you are allergic to paliperidone, risperidone, or any of the ingredients in INVEGA®

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) is a rare but serious side effect that could be fatal and has been reported with INVEGA® and similar medicines. Call your doctor right away if you develop symptoms such as a high fever, rigid muscles, shaking, confusion, sweating more than usual, increased heart rate or blood pressure, or muscle pain or weakness. Treatment should be stopped if you are being treated for NMS.

Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) is a rare but serious and sometimes permanent side effect reported with INVEGA® and similar medicines. Call your doctor right away if you start to develop twitching or jerking movements that you cannot control in your face, tongue, or other parts of your body. The risk of developing TD and the chance that it will become permanent is thought to increase with the length of therapy and the total dose received. This condition can also develop after a short period of treatment at low doses, but this is less common. There is no known treatment for TD, but it may go away partially or completely if the medicine is stopped.

One risk of INVEGA® is that it may change your heart rhythm. This effect is potentially serious. You should talk to your doctor about any current or past heart problems. Because these problems could mean you're having a heart rhythm abnormality, contact your doctor IMMEDIATELY if you feel faint or feel a change in the way that your heart beats (palpitations).

Atypical antipsychotic drugs have been associated with metabolic changes that can increase cardiovascular/cerebrovascular risks. These changes may include:

  • High blood sugar and diabetes have been reported with INVEGA® and similar medicines. If you already have diabetes or have risk factors such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes, blood sugar testing should be done at the beginning and during the treatment. The complications of diabetes can be serious and even life-threatening. Call your doctor if you develop signs of high blood sugar or diabetes, such as being thirsty all the time, having to urinate or "pass urine" more often than usual, or feeling weak or hungry.
  • Changes in cholesterol and triglycerides have been noted in patients taking atypical antipsychotics. Check with your doctor while on treatment.
  • Weight gain has been reported in patients taking atypical antipsychotics. Monitor weight gain while on treatment. For adolescent patients (12-17 years of age) weight gain should be assessed against that expected with normal growth.

People with narrowing or blockage of the gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, or small or large intestine) should talk to their healthcare professional before taking INVEGA®.

Some people may feel faint, dizzy, or may pass out when they stand up or sit up suddenly. Be careful not to get up too quickly. It may help if you get up slowly and sit on the edge of the bed or chair for a few minutes before you stand up. These symptoms may decrease or go away after your body becomes used to the medicine.

Patients (particularly the elderly) taking antipsychotics with certain health conditions or those on long-term therapy should be evaluated by their healthcare provider for the potential risk of falls.

INVEGA® and similar medicines have been associated with decreases in the counts of white cells in circulating blood. If you have a history of low white blood cell counts or have unexplained fever or infection, then please contact your doctor right away.

INVEGA® and similar medicines can raise the blood levels of a hormone called prolactin, and blood levels of prolactin remain high with continued use. This may result in some side effects, including missed menstrual periods, leakage of milk from the breasts, development of breasts in men, or problems with erection.

If you have a prolonged or painful erection lasting more than 4 hours, seek immediate medical help to avoid long-term injury.

INVEGA® should be used cautiously in people with a seizure disorder, who have had seizures in the past, or who have conditions that increase their risk for seizures.

Call your doctor right away if you start thinking about suicide or wanting to hurt yourself.

INVEGA® can make some people feel dizzy, sleepy, or less alert. Until you know how you are going to respond to INVEGA®, be careful driving a car, operating machines, or doing things that require you to be alert.

This medicine may make you more sensitive to heat. You may have trouble cooling off or be more likely to become dehydrated. Be careful when you exercise or spend time doing things that make you warm.

INVEGA® should be swallowed whole. Tablets should not be chewed, divided, or crushed. Do not be worried if you see something that looks like a tablet in your stool. This is what is left of the tablet after all the medicine has been released.

Do not drink alcohol while you are taking INVEGA®.

The most common side effects that occurred with INVEGA® in the treatment of schizophrenia in adults were: abnormal muscle movements (including tremor [shaking]), shuffling, uncontrolled involuntary movements, and abnormal movements of the eyes); feeling of inner restlessness or needing to be constantly moving; and fast heartbeat. The most common side effects that occurred with INVEGA® in the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents were: drowsiness, abnormal muscle movement (including a feeling of inner restlessness or needing to be constantly moving, tremor [shaking], involuntary muscle contractions, stiff muscles making your movements jerky); feeling of inner restlessness or needing to be constantly moving; fast heartbeat, and anxiety (nervousness). The most common side effects that occurred with INVEGA® in the treatment of schizoaffective disorder in adults were: abnormal muscle movements (including tremor [shaking]), shuffling, uncontrolled involuntary movements, and abnormal movements of the eyes), sleepiness, heartburn, constipation, weight increase, and sore throat.

This is not a complete list of all possible side effects. Ask your doctor or treatment team if you have any questions or want more information.

If you have any questions about INVEGA® or your therapy, talk with your doctor.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see full Prescribing Information including Boxed WARNING for INVEGA®.