Risperdal Side Effects Lawsuit
Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication intended to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia. More than 10 million people have used Risperdal, allowing Risperdal to be the number one prescribed antipsychotic drug. For Johnson & Johnson, the drug reaps high financial gains, bringing in annual global sales of $2.1 billion. So successful, Risperdal is the second biggest selling medicine for J&J.
More and more, Risperdal is not being prescribed for just schizophrenia or other severe mental illnesses, but for behavioral disorders in children and in elderly patients with dementia and Alzheimer's disease, including delusions, aggression, and anxiety. The Public Citizen consumer group is also worried by the safety implications that have arisen in various clinical trials, showing the dangerous effects of Risperdal.
Most recently a link between Risperdal and Gynecomastia, the growth fo breast tissue in men and boys, has raised serious alarms for many patients and caretakers using the drug.
Risperdal Side Effects
Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug that was approved to treat symptoms of schizophrenia. The approval of Risperdal was successful, creating $2.1 billion in annual global sales. While Risperdal was not intended to cure mental illnesses, it appeared to successfully treat symptoms of them without serious adverse effects. Risperdal works by interfering with the communication among nerves in the brain.
By releasing chemicals known as neurotransmitters the nerves are able to communicate with one another. Neurotransmitters attach to receptors of neighboring nerves, causing changes in the cells that have receptors. The use of Risperdal allows several receptors on nerves to be blocked so that communication among nerves does not occur.
At the beginning of April 2003, J&J announced the company was planning on sending out thousands of letter to U.S. physicians to advise them of the increased risk of stroke appearing in elderly Risperdal patients. The Risperdal stroke announcement was very concerning to many people because Risperdal treatment has become more widespread over the years. These days, Risperdal is not prescribed exclusively to help treat mental illnesses, but is used more and more to control behavioral disorders in elderly patients, conduct disorders in children, and now for autism in children.
J&J had already made an announcement warning Canadian doctors and patients of the Risperdal stroke risks in October 2002, and included in the warning J&J cited 37 reports of Risperdal stroke or Risperdal stroke-like events, including 16 deaths. Advocacy groups wonder why unnecessary risk is being taken when prescribing Risperdal to patients for reasons other than for psychotic disorders.
Most common Risperdal Side Effects:
- Breast Tissue Growth in Men (Gynecomastia)
- Abdominal pain
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Abnormal walk
- Chest pain
- Involuntary movements
- Nasal inflammation
- Decreased activity
- Decreased sexual desires
- Lack of coordination
- Dry skin
- Difficulty urinating
- Heavy menstruation
- Weight gain
- Lethargic feelings
- Join pain
- Difficulty ejaculating
- Respiratory infection
Some Risperdal patients may want to consider alternate treatment methods due to the evidence of increased risk and lack of adequate safety studies. The use of Risperdal with pregnant women has not yet been determined safe. It has been reported that some mothers that used Risperdal while pregnant had babies with problematic births. One mother using Risperdal had a baby with serious brain problems and it is unknown if Risperdal may have contributed to the birth defect.
Risperdal studies on animals have indicated that undesirable effects could occur, though experts are still unsure of what effect Risperdal has with pregnant women. It has been shown that Risperdal can pass through the milk of nursing animals, and so women that are still breast-feeding should discuss alternate treatment methods to Risperdal to be safe.
There have only been studies showing the safety of Risperdal in adults, so children may risk very serious side effects. The use of antipsychotic medications for children has continued to be a controversial subject over the years and the growing trend of prescribing new and powerful drugs like Risperdal to children has especially high risk considering the risk that the risperdal side effects could last forever.
The various clinical trials testing Risperdal in Alzheimer's patients has also shown the increased risk of stroke or stroke like events, such as blood clots or hemorrhages that can occur. Since Risperdal labeling has always included information stating there is no evidence showing Risperdal is safe or effective for dementia treatment, elderly patients may consider seeking alternate options. Elderly people are already at an increased risk for suffering stroke, and the recent J&J warning advising physicians of increased risk of stroke among elderly Risperdal patients may be further evidence to be extremely cautious.
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