Heart Attack from Risperdal
Serious side effects from the antipsycotic drug Risperdal may include heart problems and heart attacks. Lawyers are filing claims on behalf of injured consumers. File your claim today for FREE.
A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, is a serious heart problem that mounting research has linked to the use of the popular antipsychotic drug, Risperdal. Drug maker Johnson & Johnson (J&J) first introduced Risperdal (known generically as risperidone) to the U.S. market in 1993 as a treatment for schizophrenia, although the atypical antipsychotic was later approved to treat bipolar disorder and a number of other psychiatric disorders as well. Today, patients taking Risperdal and similar antipsychotic medications are believed to be at an increased risk of experiencing serious side effects, including heart attack, stroke, male breast growth (gynecomastia) and a movement disorder known as tardive dyskinesia. In light of these life-altering side effect risks, product liability lawyers across the country are investigating claims filed on behalf of Risperdal users who believe they have been adversely affected by J&J’s antipsychotic drug.
Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms
A heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of the heart muscle becomes blocked, preventing the heart from receiving the blood and oxygen it needs to function properly. If blood flow isn’t restored quickly, the affected section of the heart muscle will begin to die. Some common symptoms of heart attack include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Upper body discomfort, including uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or pain
Treatment for Heart Attack
A heart attack is a medical emergency, and receiving treatment at the first signs of a heart attack is key to limiting the amount of permanent damage to the heart muscle. Unfortunately, of the people who die from heart attacks, roughly half die within of hour of the first heart attack symptoms and before they reach the hospital. Once a heart attack diagnosis is confirmed or strongly suspected, doctors can begin treatment to try to promptly restore the flow of blood to the heart. The two main treatments for heart attack include “clot-busting” medications, which can dissolve blood clots blocking the coronary arteries, or angioplasty, a nonsurgical procedure that opens blocked or narrowed arteries.
Heart Attack Complications
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States, resulting in approximately 600,000 deaths every year. In some cases, a heart attack can lead to life-threatening medical problems, including heart failure, a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, and arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats. Ventricular fibrillation is a life-threatening arrhythmia that can be fatal if not treated right away. Even after the initial heart attack treatment, there are certain steps a victim must take to prevent additional complications, possibly including taking daily medications, undergoing cardiac rehabilitation and making lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, following a heart-healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically active.
Research Linking Heart Attack to Risperdal
According to a 2009 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, newer antipsychotic medications like Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa are just as likely – perhaps even more likely – to cause a fatal heart attack as older antipsychotic drugs like haloperidol. Despite the long-standing belief that Risperdal and other second-generation antipsychotic drugs are safer than first-generation antipsychotics, researchers involved in the NEJM study found that patients taking either conventional antipsychotics or atypical antipsychotics were about twice as likely to die of a heart attack as those not taking the medications. Atypical antipsychotics like Risperdal were initially designed to avoid the risk of tardive dyskinesia among patients, a side effect associated with the conventional versions of the medications. Unfortunately, research has identified tardive dyskinesia as a possible side effect of Risperdal as well, which challenges the belief that second-generation antipsychotics are any safer than the first-generation drugs.