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About Risperdal

Risperdal (generic name: risperidone) is an atypical antipsychotic drug, was originally intended for use in adults with schizophrenia. Today, it is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults and adolescents, short-term treatment of manic or mixed episodes of bipolar disorder, and treatment of autism-related irritability in children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 16.but has also been prescribed for the treatment of bipolar disorder in individuals over the age of 18.

Manufactured and marketed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subdivision of Johnson and Johnson, Risperdal was originally approved by the FDA in 1993. Since then, a growing number of problems and side effects have been linked to the use of this drug.

Rispedral Side Effects

Risperdal increases levels of prolactin in the body, which can result in spontaneous production of milk in women and in growth or enlargement of breast tissue in men (this condition is called gynecomastia). In some cases, Risperdal has been linked to male breast cancer.

Other common severe side effects associated with Risperdal include the following:

  • Tardive dyskinesia (a movement disorder)
  • Stroke
  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)
  • Increased risk of sudden heart attack and death
  • Diabetes/hyperglycemia
  • Weight gain
  • Cellulitis
  • Suicidal thoughts and impulses
  • Pancreatitis
  • Bone loss

The risk of side effects associated with Risperdal use is more significant in children under the age of 18 and the elderly. Children in particular are at an increased risk of the following:

  • Weight gain
  • Rapid development of diabetes
  • Blood disorders
  • Movement disorders

Risperdal, like other atypical antipsychotics, causes the body to break down and process fat instead of carbohydrates. This change causes the body to developing insulin resistance to the extra carbohydrates and to accumulate excess fat. This property of Risperdal is what links it to an increased risk of hyperglycemia, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes.

Elderly patients, especially those with dementia, should not take Risperdal since this drug increases the risk of death in the elderly nearly twofold. The FDA does not approve the use of Risperdal in patients with dementia. Risperdal makes death from heart disease and pneumonia, among others, more likely . Elderly patients also face an increased risk of stroke from Risperdal use.

Risperdal can cause tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder, particularly in elderly women. Warning signs for tardive dyskinesia include lip smacking or puckering, cheek puffing, abnormal tongue movements, uncontrolled jaw movements, or uncontrolled arm and leg movements. It can also cause Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, or NMS, a potentially fatal condition often accompanied by hyperpyrexia, altered mental status, muscle rigidity, and irregular heartbeat or blood pressure.

In compliance with a label change requested by the FDA in February 2011, Risperdal now carries a warning to pregnant women and their doctors. At issue is the likelihood that Risperdal will cause withdrawal symptoms in newborns. These symptoms occur in the form of extrapyramidal signs (EPS), or abnormal muscle movements.

As an antidepressant, Risperdal can also increase the risk of suicide in users under the age of 24. The Risperdal label carries a warning advising of this risk. Warning signs for suicide include sudden or strong feelings, trouble sleeping, getting upset easily, increased energy, and reckless behavior.

Risperdal off-Label Prescriptions

Risperdal has been widely prescribed off-label for use in younger patients, particularly for autism, aggression, ADD, and ADHD. It has also often been prescribed to treat irritability and aggression in the elderly. While doctors have the authority to prescribe drugs for uses other than those the drug was intended for if they believe these uses will be effective, Risperdal has come under increasing scrutiny and a large number of problems associated with this drug have come to light. Thus, many healthcare providers today believe that Risperdal should only be considered as a drug of last resort.

In particular, although Risperdal was not approved by the FDA for use in children until 2006, it was widely prescribed to young boys before then, and many of these boys grew breast tissue. While doctors had attributed this tissue growth to weight gain, it now appears clear that Risperdal was behind this physical change. Risperdal victims who had to deal with this uncomfortable physiological change, now young adults, are coming forward to bring Janssen and Johnson and Johnson to account.

Risperdal Lawsuits and Settlements

Johnson and Johnson has faced hundreds of Risperdal lawsuits alleging serious health problems caused by the drug. State and federal Risperdal cases have also alleged improper marketing practices with regard to this drug and others marketed by Johnson and Johnson. The company has paid millions to resolve these suits.

Most notably, in April 2012, an Arkansas state judge ordered Johnson & Johnson along with Janssen to pay close to $1.2 billion for violation of Medicaid fraud law and the state's Deceptive Practices Act. A similar lawsuit in Texas in January 2012 resulted in a $158 million verdict against Johnson and Johnson.

Johnson and Johnson made the first settlement on a Risperdal breast growth lawsuit in September 2012. The plaintiff, a man form Texas, was 21 at the time of the settlement. He claimed that he had grown enlarged breasts after taking Risperdal as a child (an off-label use for which the drug was not approved) and had required surgery in order to remove the excess fatty tissue. At least five more settlements for Risperdal breast tissue growth claims have been made since, and dozens of similar claims are still pending.

Injured by Risperdal? Call Us Today.

If you have suffered severe side effects from Risperdal use, including breast tissue growth, hyperglycemia, diabetes, or stroke, we encourage you to speak with one of our dedicated Risperdal attorneys to see if you have a valid claim against Johnson and Johnson, the drug's manufacturer. It is important to choose a top law firm for your Risperdal lawsuit in order to secure maximum compensation for your injuries. If your Risperdal lawsuit goes forward, you may be eligible to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering. However, there are time limits to bringing a Risperdal lawsuit, so be sure to contact our office today.