Risperdal and the Generic Risperdone
If you’ve been injured by taking Risperdal, an attorney can help determine if you deserve compensation for your injuries.
Risperdal is a potent antipsychotic medication manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson that first came to market in the United States in 1993. The drug falls under the category of dopamine antagonist, and is considered an atypical antipsychotic – a second-generation version of what are known as typical antipsychotics. Atypical antipsychotics were claimed at the time of marketing to differ from typical antipsychotics in that they are less likely to lead to motor control disabilities in patients, including involuntary tremors, body rigidity and unsteady Parkinson’s disease-type movements. Since its introduction, Risperdal (known generically as risperidone) has become one of the most widely used antipsychotic drugs available, but at the same time, the medication has come under significant scrutiny for major side effects possibly related to the use of Risperdal, particularly abnormal breast growth side effects in boys and young men.
Upon its initial approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, Risperdal was widely used as a treatment for schizophrenia, a chronic mental disorder associated with a breakdown of thought processes and by a deficit of typical emotional responses. In the years after its approval as a schizophrenia treatment however, Risperdal was additionally indicated for use among patients suffering from bipolar disorder, acute mania associated with autistic disorders, and is now used by medical professionals nationwide to treat a number of other psychiatric illnesses.
Risks Associated With Risperdal
Despite its potential success in managing certain mental illnesses, mounting research has identified Risperdal use as a possible risk factor for a series of major side effects, including gynecomastia (breast growth in males), heart attack, hyperglycemia, diabetes, stroke, tardive dyskinesia and hyperosmolar coma. Gynecomastia in particular is a major concern for Risperdal patients, and the link between the antipsychotic and the condition is believed to be related to increased levels of prolactin, a hormone that regulates breast growth in milk production. According to reports, this can lead to spontaneous milk production in women and abnormal breast growth in men. In light of these side effect risks, a growing number of lawsuits are being filed against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of Risperdal patients who have suffered serious medical problems.
J&J’s Marketing of Risperdal
Amid growing concerns over the side effects possibly linked to Risperdal, Johnson & Johnson has come under fire for its marketing of the atypical antipsychotic drug. In fact, the federal government has been investigating J&J’s Risperdal sales practices since 2004, including allegations that the drug firm marketed the medication for unapproved, off-label uses. Reports in 2012 indicated that J&J officials reached an agreement with the Justice Department to pay as much as $2.2 billion to resolve the allegations of off-label Risperdal marketing. In August 2012, J&J agreed to pay $181 million to settle claims by 36 states that it illegally advertised and promoted Risperdal and another antipsychotic called Invega, which represented the largest multi-state consumer protection-based drug settlement in history. In addition to these settlements, J&J has paid over a billion dollars more to resolve allegations related to the company’s improper marketing of its Risperdal antipsychotic.
Potentially Dangerous Drugs Manufactured by J&J
Johnson & Johnson is the world’s largest seller of healthcare products, but the firm has been plagued in recent years by drug recalls, lawsuits and other issues that have tainted its reputation as one of the most trusted brands in the world. Across the country, there are hundreds of patients who took Risperdal to treat schizophrenia or another psychiatric disorder and have since suffered from devastating side effects like gynecomastia or life-threatening medical problems like stroke or heart attack. As of September 2012, as many as 420 lawsuits had already been filed against J&J alleging injuries related to the company’s antipsychotic medication, roughly 130 of which were related to male breast growth side effects in particular. As more information is brought to light about the risk of Risperdal side effects, the number of complaints brought against J&J in the United States is expected to increase dramatically.