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Risperdal is a drug that has been prescribed for over two decades to young people with autism, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. However, many patients and families of patients have filed lawsuits against the makers of Risperdal because of the severe side effects of Risperdal.
Risperdal, or risperidone, has been approved since 1993 for schizophrenia in adults and adolescents. It is a second-generation antipsychotic that is known to target both dopamine and serotonin, thus making it more effective than other drugs that attempt to treat the same symptoms.
Not only is Risperdal approved to treat schizophrenia, but it has since been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain types of autism spectrum disorders as well as bipolar disorder. It is also often prescribed off-label to treat ADHD, depression, sleep disorders, and anxiety.
Side Effects of Risperdal
Gynecomastia, or the abnormal growth of breasts in males, is often the cause of Risperdal litigation against Johnson & Johnson. Gynecomastia has been associated with Risperdal use and may have affected tens of thousands of young boys who have taken the drug.
Gynecomastia as one of the side effects of Risperdal is thought to be caused by the increase of prolactin as a result of Risperdal use. Prolactin is present in both males and females but is more prevalent in the female body.
Prolactin is what stimulates breast growth and lactation in women. When a male’s body sees an increase in prolactin, as what can happen with Risperdal, that boy or young man can develop breasts.
This is a development that can only be reversed via surgery. It is not to be confused with weight gain. Gynecomastia is the actual development of breast tissue.
Gynecomastia is a physically and emotionally debilitating side effect that many Risperdal users experience.
But, there are many other side effects of Risperdal, some minor and some devastating. One of the lesser spoken about side effects of Risperdal falls under the category of movement disorders. Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) are neurological and muscular problems that can be caused by Risperdal.
EPS are uncontrolled movements that are characterized by short, quick limb movement or slow, difficult movements of the head or tongue. Other antipsychotics may cause EPS, but Risperdal has been shown to have more instances show up as one of the side effects of Risperdal.
Another one of the more serious side effects of Risperdal is heart problems. It has been found that Risperdal, as well as other antipsychotics, can instigate cardiac arrhythmias. These interferences with heart electrical impulses can lead to heart problems and even death.
One study found that users of Risperdal had between a 1.7 and 3.2 times higher incidence of irregular heartbeats than a control group. Death rates in this study were higher as well: between 2.6 and 5.8 times higher.
In this study, four drugs were studied and Risperdal had the most cases of arrhythmia and heart attack associated with it.
Additionally, pituitary issues, hyperglycemia, weight gain and the increase in the risk of diabetes are other side effects of Risperdal.
If you or someone you love has been adversely affected by Risperdal use or has developed gynecomastia, movement disorders or heart problems as a result of taking Risperdal, you may qualify for a Risperdal lawsuit.
Speaking with an experienced attorney can help you determine if this is the right choice for you. Contact the attorneys at McDonald Worley today by filling out the form on this page for more information.