Have You Taken Risperdal? You May Be Able to File a Risperdal Lawsuit.
Risperdal, having been prescribed to more than 10 million people, is the most popular antipsychotic drug in the United States. But it may also be one of the most dangerous. Since it was approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, the drug has become a site of extreme controversy within the medical community. Linked to a multitude of severe side-effects–including hemorrhages, stokes, and even death–Risperdal has seen its manufacturer, Janseen Pharmaceutica (a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson), pay out nearly three billion dollars in settlements.
If you or a loved one has taken Risperdal, you may be at serious risk. There are many law firms that are committed to helping you. We urge you to a Risperdal attorney today for a free, no obligation evaluation of your claim.
What is Risperdal and How Does it Work?
Risperdal is the brand name for the drug risperidone, an atypical antipsychotic medication. Approved by the FDA to combat the debilitating symptoms associated with teenage and adult schizophrenia, Risperdal is primarily prescribed to manage visual and auditory hallucinations, lessen feelings of apathy, and increase feelings of pleasure. It has also been approved to treat irritability associated with child autism, as well as certain symptoms associated with teenage and adolescent Bipolar I Disorder, such as acute manic and mixed episodes.
Despite the FDA’s lack of approval, and despite a lack of clinical evidence, the drug is commonly prescribed to treat a number of “off-label” illnesses, as well, including severe dementia in Alzheimer’s patients, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit disorder, Tourette syndrome, a number of eating disorders, and severe depression, among others.
Risperdal can be administered in a variety of ways: as a liquid solution, as a conventional tablet, and as a Risperdal quicklet (a specially designed orally disintegrating tablet). A generic version of the drug, manufactured by Teva Pharmaceuticals, has been on the market since 2008.
As with many antipsychotic medications, scientists do not yet fully understand risperidone’s exact mechanism of action. However, in the case of schizophrenia, medical experts have hypothesized that the drug functions by blocking the Type 2 receptors of dopamine and serotonin, two important neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain involved in regulating mood and behavior. Schizophrenia is tightly linked with an excess of dopamine activity in the brain; by blocking the receptors dopamine acts on, risperidone is believed to greatly reduce dopamine activity, thereby reducing schizophrenic symptoms.
Beware: The Side-Effects of Risperdal
Since Risperdal was approved for public use in 1993, the list of known side-effects associated with the drug has grown both increasingly extensive and frightening. They include anxiety, blood clots, irregular heart rhythms, rapid weight gain, and a wide range of sexual problems (including erectile dysfunction and the inability to orgasm), just to name a few.
The elderly are considered to be particularly at risk of the drug’s more severe side-effects. In April of 2005, the FDA determined that elderly patients with dementia-related illnesses who took Risperdal were 1.6 to 1.7 times more likely to die of cardiovascular (i.e. heart failure, stroke) or infectious conditions (i.e. pneumonia). As a result of their study, the FDA required Risperdal products to feature a black box warning–the most serious warning label it requires for prescription drugs. Risperdal is still not approved for the treatment of illnesses associated with dementia.
Young men are considered to be at risk of another of Risperdal’s most serious side-effects: gynecomastia (enlarged breasts in men). First made public in 1999, the link between Risperdal and male breast growth has only grown stronger over the past decade, as additional studies have substantiated earlier reports. Men with gynecomastia experience swelling, pain, and tenderness, and may even produce milk and/or nipple discharges.
Risperdal is also believed to be a potential cause of a number of other serious medical conditions. These include: Neuroleptic Maligant Syndrome (NMS)–a potentially fatal disorder characterized by muscle rigidity and altered mental status; Tardive Dyskinesia–a potentially permanent condition characterized by a variety of involuntary facial movements; and harmful metabolic changes such as hyperglycemia and diabetes mellitus.
Pregnant women are also advised to avoid Risperdal, as the drug may cause newborn infants to experience abnormal muscle movements (known as extrapyramidal signs), and to suffer from a number of unpleasant symptoms, including somnolence (sleep disturbances), respiratory distress, and feeding disorder.
Injured by Risperdal?
If you or a loved one was injured as a result of taking Risperdal, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a Risperdal lawyer today to file a Risperdal lawsuit claim.