Risperdal (risperidone) is an anti-psychotic drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1993.
It is used to treat certain mental/mood disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, irritability associated with autistic disorder.
Manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, the controversial drug contains risperidone, an atypical antipsychotic that belongs to the chemical class of benzisoxazole derivatives. It works by changing the activity of dopamine and other naturally occurring chemicals in the brain.
In 2007, annual sales of the medication peaked at over $4.5 billion. After the patent expired and the drug became available generically, profits declined but were still estimated at $1.5 billion in 2013 for the name brand Risperdal products.
You or someone you care about may have been prescribed this drug to treat ADHD, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It works by targeting both serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain. This helps control feelings of happiness and reward. It may also help in treating negative symptoms, such as social withdrawal, apathy, lack of motivation and inability to experience pleasure.
However, if you have experienced adverse health effects from this drug, you might be eligible for a lawsuit with the aid of a qualified Risperdal lawyer.
Risperdal Uses and Side-Effects
Risperdal is a powerful second-generation antipsychotic (SGA) drug that manipulates serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain to improve mood and thinking. The Food and Drug Administration initially approved Risperdal as an anti-schizophrenia medicine; the agency later expanded the approved uses to include certain bipolar disorders and some aspects of autism.
Low-risk side effects include fatigue, dizziness, and sexual dysfunction. More serious side effects include:
- Osteoporosis: Risperdal elevates prolactin levels, resulting in short-term sexual dysfunction. Long-term exposure makes bones very brittle.
- Muscle Disease: Many patients develop “tardive dyskinesia (TD) and extrapyramidal effects (EPS); both of these conditions cause uncontrollable muscle reactions, typically on the face.
- Transient Ischemic Attacks: TIA occurs in elderly dementia patients, and causes a high risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Serious Side Effects
It has been linked to serious medical conditions. Some of these conditions are life-threatening.
One of the most serious side effects is gynecomastia (male breast growth). It has been alleged that the drug may increase levels of prolactin, a hormone, which stimulates breast development in women.
Gynecomastia can be treated using medications such as tamoxifen (Soltamox) and raloxifene (Evista). However, this does not carry a great success rate so many adolescents and young men undergo male breast reduction surgery to remove excess breast tissue. This often leaves unsightly scars and does not always improve the appearance.
Another serious side effect is movement disorders. These disorders include uncontrolled movements involving the limbs, head, or tongue. Sometimes involuntary grunting noises are made as well.
Other side effects include diabetes and heart problems.
These conditions can be disruptive, embarrassing, and tiring. In many cases, the condition remains after the medication is stopped. Any experienced side effects of this magnitude from Risperdal should also be discussed with your lawyer.
Movement disorders are a serious side-effect of Risperdal. Studies have linked Risperdal to movement disorders such as extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) and tardive dyskinesia, both of which cause uncontrolled movements that can be distracting and embarrassing. It is not currently understood why Risperdal may cause these types of movement disorders in some individuals.
Lawsuits are being filed for people who suffer from movement disorders caused by Risperdal with the aid of attorneys. These movement disorders can become so severe that they affect the quality of life for many people.
Other Common Side Effects
Stop taking risperidone and contact your doctor at once if you experience the following side effects:
- Fever, stiff muscles, confusion, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats.
- Restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck.
- Drooling, tremor (uncontrolled shaking).
- Seizure, convulsions).
- Fever, chills, body aches, flu-like symptoms.
More significant possible side effects include: low blood pressure, dizziness, heart palpitations, sleepiness, constipation, weight gain, sexual dysfunction and fatigue.
In a study of people taking the drug, the most common side effects in the treatment of bipolar were weight gain and slow movements, with tremor, stiffness and a shuffling walk (when used with lithium or valproate).
This is not a complete list of all possible side effects.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have not yet issued a recall for Risperdal despite the fact that the drug has been linked to harmful medical conditions. Some of these conditions include the enlargement of breast tissue in males known as gynecomastia, and movement disorders that can be debilitating. The FDA is still reviewing data and scientific studies to determine if it should be recalled from the market.
Even though Risperdal was not recalled, you can still pursue a lawsuit by contacting an attorney. If you were prescribed Risperdal and developed serious complications, you may be entitled to compensation. Settlements include compensation for your pain and suffering, disability, lost income, medical expenses, and psychological harm.
Legal Action Taken Against Risperdal
The makers of Risperdal, Johnson & Johnson, have lost three consecutive class action lawsuits over the marketing tactics of their highly profitable drug.
In November 2013, Johnson & Johnson agreed to settle criminal and civil investigations by paying over 2.2 billion.
In addition, a Philadelphia jury recently ordered health giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $1.75 million to a Maryland man who developed breasts while taking Risperdal.
It marked the third verdict in thousands of lawsuits filed over the side effect.
Families and their lawyers are actively filing legal claims against Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen unit, claiming that Risperdal causes male breast tissue enlargement.
There are more than 130 lawsuits reportedly pending against Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen unit, alleging the drug caused male adolescents to grow breasts.
The Risperdal lawsuits allege the plaintiffs developed gynecomastia, or abnormal male breast growth, as the result of taking Risperdal.
In some cases, the plaintiffs developed breasts as large as “D” cups, and the abnormal breast growth did not go away — even after the drug had been discontinued for years, sometimes requiring breast reduction surgery.
Although Risperdal has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 1993, it was initially only approved for use by adults as an antipsychotic, specifically for treating schizophrenia. The lawsuits allege the manufacturers failed to adequately warn of this potentially permanent side effect and that the antipsychotic medication was often prescribed to children for off-label use such as for treating autism or ADD.
Statute of Limitations
In a negligence case, including a defective drug case, the plaintiff usually has two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. But in many cases, especially defective drug cases, the plaintiff’s injuries may not become apparent for months or years. In these cases, the discovery rule applies.
While the precise elements vary state by state, the discovery rule “tolls” the statute of limitations, which means the clock stops running, until the plaintiff had:
- Actual or constructive knowledge of harm, and
- Sufficient notice as to the cause of that harm.
Risperdal lawsuit settlements have not yet been paid to those harmed by the drug. Currently, our law firm is investigating potential cases for patients and their families against the drug manufacturer for medical conditions caused by Risperdal. Recent medical studies have proven that there are significant health risks that were not disclosed by the pharmaceutical company to the consumers. These risks include risk of gynecomastia (male breast growth), movement disorders, diabetes, and heart problems. Settlements in Risperdal lawsuits are expected to be substantial with the help of the right lawyer. It is important you contact an attorney right away if you believe you may have a case, as there are strict time limits for filing defective drug cases.
Consult with a Skilled Risperdal Attorney
Risperdal, an atypical antipsychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia and certain problems caused by bipolar disorder, has been linked to the development of gynecomastia in boys and young men.
Gynecomastia is a condition that causes boys to grow breasts. The drug is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.
Risperdal lawsuits are filed against Johnson & Johnson, the drug company the manufacturers, advertises and sells the drug to consumers. Lawsuit allegations against the company include that it:
- Failed to warn the public of the risks associated with taking Risperdal
- Failed to properly test Risperdal for dangerous side effects
- Withheld research data from the public about the drug dangers
- Sold the drug even though it knew it could be dangerous
- Manufactured and sold an unsafe product
The criteria for filing a Risperdal lawsuit include the following:
- Must be male
- Must be currently younger than 21 years of age
- Started taking Risperdal before 10/2006
- Developed breast growth with or without lactation, or diagnosed with gynecomastia
Reach out to a Risperdal lawyer at Drug Lawsuit Source today to get started.