The best-selling antipsychotic drug Risperdal (generic: risperidone) has recently been linked to gynecomastia, the rapid onset of type 2 diabetes, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and tardive dyskinesia. Additionally, there have been at least 37 reports of stroke-like events associated with Risperdal, including 16 deaths. Manufactured and marketed by Jenssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), Risperdal belongs to a controversial class of drugs known as atypical antipsychotic medications which are designed to combat the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Free Risperdal Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured by Risperdal, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.
Risperdal is currently the most widely-prescribed antipsychotic medication in the United States. Since being granted approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to treat schizophrenia in 1993, Risperdal has been prescribed more than 10 million times, generating over $2 billion in sales for Janssen each and every year. A decade after its initial approval, the FDA cleared Risperdal to treat bipolar disorder, and a new market for an already wildly successful drug was born.
2013 Risperdal Settlement
On November 4, 2013, Johnson & Johnson agreed to resolve criminal and civil investigations into the marketing of Risperdal and other widely-prescribed medications by paying over $2.2 billion, one of the largest penalties ever levied against a company for healthcare fraud. According to the agreement, J&J’s Janssen division will plead guilty to misbranding Risperdal for unapproved uses, as well as for paying kickbacks to physicians and to Omnicare Inc., the largest pharmacy for nursing homes. Click here to learn more.
Side Effects of Risperdal
Unfortunately, despite its massive popularity and widespread success, Risperdal has recently been linked to the following serious side effects:
- Production of prolactin
- Pituitary tumors
- Tardive Dyskinesia
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)
- Increased risk of sudden death from heart attack
- Diabetes, hyperglycemia and other blood sugar side effects
- Weight gain, potentially rapid and extreme
- Suicide, suicidal thoughts
- Bone loss
- Increased mortality in the elderly with dementia and related psychosis
Risperdal and Gynecomastia
Studies have indicated that the use of Risperdal can increase levels of the hormone prolactin in the male body, which is thought to be one of the main reasons why the drug causes boys and young men to grow breasts (a condition known as gynecomastia). Prolactin is the same hormone that causes new mothers to continue lactating after they give birth. In severe cases of Risperdal-induced gynecomastia, a mastectomy may be required to remove the breasts. Signs and symptoms of gynecomastia may include:
- Enlargement of the male breasts (which is typically symmetrical in location and may have a rubbery or firm feel)
- Breast tenderness
- Breast sensitivity
- Breast pain
Risperdal ‘Off-Label’ Use
One of the main reasons Risperdal is so popular is because it is commonly prescribed in a so-called ‘off-label’ capacity (for which it was neither tested nor approved by the FDA) to treat a variety of conditions including autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and senile dementia. These off-label uses were never studied under clinical conditions, but nevertheless generated sales and profits for Johnson & Johnson, while simultaneously increasing the public’s perception that Risperdal was a wonder drug.
Risperdal Linked to Strokes in Elderly Patients
One of the main casualties of the reckless prescribing behavior practiced by many doctors when it came to Risperdal was the elderly community. The drug is suspected in at least 37 incidents of stroke-like events in older patients undergoing treatment for senile dementia, 16 of whom tragically died. Because Risperdal was never formally tested on the elderly population, Janssen sent a letter to Canadian doctors in 2002 warning them of this risk. Strangely, the company waited until the next year to share the same information with American doctors.
If you or someone you love suffered any of the serious side effects listed in this article after being treated with Risperdal, you should take a stand and send a message to Johnson & Johnson about the errors of placing profits above public safety. Let our team of dedicated, experienced, and knowledgeable professionals fight for you and obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact the Risperdal lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Do I Have a Risperdal Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Risperdal lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new Risperdal injury lawsuits in all 50 states.
Free Risperdal Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one has been injured by Risperdal, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.