Risperdal (risperidone) is an antipsychotic drug that has been used to treat numerous conditions such as autism-related irritability, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder in patients from varying age groups. Despite a lack of approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, millions of children and elderly adults have also been prescribed Risperdal for off-label use to control symptoms of ADHD and dementia. However, many Risperdal users have experienced life-altering side effects about which they were not forewarned.
There are indications that Johnson & Johnson, Risperdal’s manufacturer, may have known about these harmful side effects, but failed or neglected to warn the public about them while marketing the drug. The company has since made billions of dollars selling Risperdal, while their patients have had to risk and live with unforeseen complications. The Risperdal attorneys of Chandler McNulty LLP believe that drug companies whose products harm patients and breach their trust should be held accountable. We are experienced in litigating against massive pharmaceutical manufacturers, and our firm is dedicated to helping people who have been harmed by Risperdal recover compensation. Call (713) 997-8310 to speak with an attorney about your options.
Active Ingredient in Risperdal
Risperidone, an antipsychotic drug that affects certain receptors in the brain, is the active ingredient in Risperdal. Risperidone impacts certain hormone receptors in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin, adrenergic, and histamine h1 receptors, in order to treat the symptoms of certain psychiatric conditions. It has been shown, however, that risperidone can increase the threat of mortality and strokes in dementia patients.
The Creation of Risperdal and its Relationship with the FDA
Janssen-Cilag, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, spent the years between 1988 and 1992 working on the development of an antipsychotic drug that would serve as an alternative to the medications that were commonly prescribed at the time. Risperdal was the resulting medication, and it was quickly approved by the FDA in 1993 as a treatment for irritability in schizophrenic patients. The drug seemed to be incredibly successful, as there were over a million prescriptions by 1996.
The drug’s first notable complaint came in 2001, when the Miami Herald reported several alarming side effects after Risperdal had been used to treat “unruly” children in Florida foster homes. The next year, Janssen Pharmaceuticals sent out a letter to doctors in Canada enumerating the risks of prescribing Risperdal to elderly patients who were suffering from dementia. Doctors in the United States did not receive this letter until 2003. That same year saw the FDA officially approve Risperdal for patients with bipolar disorder.
Two years later, the FDA began to require that Risperdal packaging include a black box warning explaining the increased mortality risk for elderly dementia patients. The FDA has never approved the use of this drug for the treatment of elderly patients suffering from dementia. Recently, though, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson accusing the company of marketing Risperdal for unapproved uses. In response, Johnson & Johnson reached a settlement in which they were required to pay $2.2 billion and plead guilty to criminal misdemeanor charges.
Risperdal Side Effects
Risperdal has been linked to numerous dangerous or harmful side effects that were not advertised. The most commonly seen Risperdal side effect is gynecomastia, a condition where males begin to develop female breast tissue. This is especially jarring for Risperdal patients who are young boys taking the drug because of behavioral issues and psychological imbalances.
The development of breasts in these boys leads to great confusion and can have a negative impact on their overall behavior and self-worth. However, older individuals are also regularly prescribed Risperdal, and they may suffer from other complications. Some of these other uncomfortable or dangerous side effects of Risperdal include:
- Tardive dyskinesia
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
- Irregular heartbeat and heart attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
- Risk of death in elderly dementia patients
These side effects can be both physically and psychologically damaging to their victims, and those who have had to endure Risperdal side effects may be able to seek compensation from Johnson & Johnson. Complications associated with Risperdal can have an undeniable effect on a person’s life and victims should be able to recover damages for the difficulties thrust upon them.
If you or someone you care about has suffered from complications associated with Risperdal use, call the Risperdal attorneys of Chandler McNulty LLP at (713) 997-8310. You and your family should not have to bear the brunt of these damaging side effects alone. Our experienced pharmaceutical defect attorneys may be able to help you through the long process of putting the costs and damages you’ve accumulated because this faulty drug behind you.