Risperdal and its associated side effects are making news lately with victims taking legal action against the drug’s manufacturer – Johnson & Johnson. Not until 2006, was it released to the public that the drug caused enlarged breast tissue in males, as well as motor dysfunction. Users affected most are children and the elderly with side effects causing permanent disfigurement and untreatable disorders. Gynecomastia and Tardive dyskinesia are two of the most common serious adverse reactions known to be caused by the use of Risperdal, otherwise known by its generic name, risperidone. Other potentially dangerous or life threatening side effects include:
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome – possibly fatal, symptoms of stiff muscles, fever, irregular or fast heartbeat, confusion, sweating and abnormal thinking.
- Diabetes, hyperglycemia, and other blood sugar disorders, especially affecting children and the elderly.
- Pituitary tumors
- Cellulitis – increased edema causing inflammation in the epidermis and dermis and also some connective tissues.
- Weight gain – extreme and rapid
- Suicidal thoughts
- Bone loss – includes early osteoporosis/osteopenia
The FDA approved risperidone’s use in adults, in 1994, but it was not approved for schizophrenia treatment in children until 2007. Until then, it been prescribed “off-label,” but Risperdal and its troubling side effects were not fully disclosed. Because doctors thought a patient would receive some benefit of the drug, it was prescribed for children with ADD/ADHD, autism, and other behavioral disorders.
Johnson & Johnson were pushing risperidone to doctors to treat behavioral disorders in children as early as 2004. In 2012, an Arkansas judge charged the drug manufacturer with deceptive practices, downplaying the multiple risks associated with the drug, and fined them $1.2 billion dollars. As of 2013, Johnson & Johnson has paid over $2.2 billion in response to its illegal marketing techniques, encouragement of deliberate overmedication of children, the elderly, and those with mental disabilities.
Anyone who has experienced any of these serious Risperdal side effects should first seek help from a medical provider, and then consider contacting a drug injury attorney to find out what options are available. Gynecomastia victims often require costly single or double mastectomy surgery to remove the affected tissue. Those suffering from Tardive dyskinesia will likely never regain full control of their own bodies. No one should suffer because a company puts its greed first.