Risperdal Side Effects
Bipolar disorder (or manic-depression) and schizophrenia are two serious mental disorders suffered by millions of Americans. In 2011 more than 54 million antipsychotic drug prescriptions were actually written for patients; 23% of these prescriptions were Risperdal.
Risperdal was developed by Janssen-Cilag (a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary) in 1992. This anti-psychotic oral drug was, in turn, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1994 for treatment of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and irritability experienced by children with autism.
Risperdal was advertised by its manufacturer as causing lesser side-effects compared to all the other anti-psychotic drugs that came before it, thus, it immediately gained popularity among US doctors. And because it was also proven effective, doctors started prescribing it for off-label use, specifically as treatment for attention deficit disorder (ADD) in children, behavioral disorders (in elders with dementia), Tourette syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, stuttering and anxiety.
Risperdal’s effectivity was mainly due to its capability to alter the effects of the brain’s neurotransmitters, which cause abnormal brain communication that result to psychotic illness. In 2003, however, after a decade in the market, reports of severe side-effects and deaths being linked to Risperdal started to surface. These reports included: Tardive Dyskinesia, which is the uncontrolled twitching of the tongue and/or face and uncontrolled limb movement because of a disorder in the central nervous system; development of Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome or NMS, a deadly state caused by irregularities in blood pressure and rigidity of the muscles); and, incidences of strokes and death. During this same year, Johnson & Johnson sent a warning letter to U.S. physicians, telling them of the risk of stroke in elderly patients who used the drug.
Eventually, Risperdal was said to be causing more harm than good. In a study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology in 2006, it was said that prolonged use of the drug by male children and adolescents can also result to gynecomastia, known informally as “man boobs.”
The law firm Williams Kherkher says in its website that there are many other side-effects linked to Risperdal. Some of these are gynecomastia, bone loss (demineralization), galactorrhea, sexual dysfunction, diabetes, high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movement), pancreatitis, arrhythmia, increased risk of death among elderly people suffering from dementia, and so forth.
People harmed by Risperdal have the right to file a legal case against the drug’s manufacturer for the justice and compensation they are legally allowed to receive. It is, however, important to be represented by a highly qualified lawyer for the greater chance of gaining the favor of the court.