Risperdal is a well-known anti-psychotic medication that is produced by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of the world’s largest medical manufacture Johnson & Johnson. Risperdal is also sold under its generic drug name, Risperidone and in a slightly different form known as Invega (paloperidone).
The drug works by blocking neurotransmitters in the brain, like dopamine and serotonin. When it was introduced, Risperdal was hailed as a “next generation” drug that was going to be a safer version of an older drug called Haldol (haloperidol).
During the drug’s existence, Risperdal has earned Johnson & Johnson over $40 billion in sales and continues to bring over $3 billion in yearly earnings. However, that is not the only figure they can boast, since Risperdal is also responsible for thousands of injuries, countless emotional pain, and a few hundred deaths.
Risperdal came onto the market in 1993 when the FDA approved the drug for treatment of schizophrenia in adults. It was later approved to treat schizophrenia in children, bipolar disorder in adolescents, and behavioral disorders associated with autism. It has also been used off-label to treat a number of other conditions.
Side Effects of Risperdal
Risperdal can cause everything from harmful, yet more common side effects to very serious, life threatening side effects. Of course, all medications have side effects, but few have been as irresponsible and as dangerous as Risperdal.
Common Risperdal side effects include: (1) Nausea and vomiting, (2) Anxiety or restlessness, and (3) Fatigue or sedation. Risperdal can also have dangerous interactions, including (1) Irregular heart rhythm, (2) Increased sedation, and (3) Increased risk of seizure.
In addition to common side effects, Risperdal causes serious adverse effects which have been extremely dangerous to many different people.These side effects can be permanent, humiliating, and increase the risk of death.
The most serious side effects include: (1) Breast Development in Boys, (@) Lactation in Young Girls, and (3) Movement Disorders
Risperdal has another serious side effect that has been widely publicized and has created some legal issues for Johnson & Johnson. This dangerous side effect involves movement disorders which can become worse over time. These abrupt, often violent movements are known as extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) and can be permanent even after Risperdal is discontinued. Symptoms of EPS often include Tremors similar to those caused by Parkinsons disease, Drooling or inability to control mouth muscles, Facial tics, and Abnormal head, shoulder, and limb movements (Tardive Dyskinesia).
One of the most disturbing dangerous side effects of Risperdal is the increased risk of death in elderly patients with dementia. These elderly dementia patients died from pneumonia, cardiac failure, or stroke while taking Risperdal. Because of this disturbing trend and the clear correlation, the FDA required that a so-called “black box warning” be placed on Risperdal. A black box warning is the most severe warning the FDA issues and is so named because of thick, black border surrounding the warning on the packaging; it is meant to be highly visible.