Risperdal, also known as risperidone, is a potent, anti-psychotic medicine that is often prescribed by doctors to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism. The FDA approved this drug in 1994 as a treatment for schizophrenia in adult patients. Then in 2006, Risperdal was approved for treating irritability and autism in children and adolescents. And in 2007, it was approved to treat bipolar disorder in patients ages 10-17 and schizophrenia in patients in ages 13-17. Unfortunately, Risperdal comes with an extensive list of dangerous side effects.
Serious Side Effects of Risperdal
Risperdal has been linked to serious health issues and side effects among children and adolescents that have taken it. Some young men have developed breasts and suffered psychological damage. They have even had to suffer through surgery to remove the breast. The development of male breasts is a condition known as gynecomastia.
If you suffer any signs of an allergic reaction like hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, or difficulty breathing, you should get to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.
Stop taking Risperdal and call your doctor right away if you have any of the following serious side effects including fever, stiff muscles, irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures, nosebleeds, trouble swallowing, or feeling like you might faint.
Less serious side effects include weight gain, headache, dizziness, dry mouth, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and mild skin rash. This is not a complete list and other side effects can occur. Call your doctor for medical attention of side effects. You can also report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Interactions with Other Drugs
The dosages of Risperdal range from 0.5 mg to 0.8 mg per day. Drugs it may interact with include Clozaril (a serotonin reuptake inhibitor), Paxil, and Diflucan. Studies of not yet been done concerning pregnant women, so any woman who is pregnant should not take Risperdal because the risks are unknown. Risperdal is secreted in breast milk and therefore should not be taken by a woman who is breastfeeding her infant.
Risperdal Lawsuit Data
A lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice saying the Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Risperdal and a sub company of Johnson & Johnson, failed in their duty to disclose important information on the major side effects of Risperdal while it was marketing the drug for off-label uses in children. According to the papers filed, the drug makers knew that Risperdal caused specific health problems in children. Despite repeated warnings from the FDA, the drug maker continued the marketing for off-label uses.
Allegedly, Risperdal was marketed before FDA approval for use by adolescents. It was said to be able to treat disorders such as ADHD, ODD, OCD, and Autism. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania was quoted as saying, “J&J’s promotion of Risperdal for unapproved uses threatened the most vulnerable populations of our society—children, the elderly, and those with developmental disabilities.”
Because of the lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay over $2 billion to settle the claim that they falsely misbranded and marketed several prescription drugs including Risperdal. This huge payout sends a strong message to the drug makers that they will be faced with strong criminal and civil penalties if they continue to place their profits over the care of patients.
If you or someone you love has suffered from serious side effects, including developing male breasts (gynecomastia), after taking Risperdal, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
CONTACT the Lieser Law Firm today for a FREE legal consultation.