Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are mental disorders that scientists are still trying to understand and treat. Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in one’s mood and impacts one’s ability to carry on basic daily tasks. Schizophrenia, also a mental disorder, is an irregular social behavior that causes one to fail to understand what is real. Antipsychotic medication is one method to deal with these mental disorders. Risperdal is a drug that has been marketed and prescribed to treat both of these conditions. Patients who have taken this medication have suffered severe side effects, including heart problems, movement disorders, and death in elderly patients. These serious side effects have caused users of Risperdal to file lawsuits against the drug maker to recover compensation for their injuries.
What is Risperdal?
Risperdal is an injectable medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat schizophrenia and to maintain Bipolar I Disorder. The drug was developed by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The FDA first approved the drug for antipsychotic treatment in 1994. Risperdal may be used on its own to control Bipolar I Disorder or in combination with other drugs, such as lithium or valproate. Risperdal is not a cure for Bipolar I Disorder, but is intended to help patients manage their disorder and significantly delay time to relapse. Risperdal operates by affecting chemical receptors in the brain, including Dopamine and Serotonin receptors.
Risperdal Side Effects
The use of Risperdal, however, comes with a variety of side effects, some of which cause long-term damage. The side effects that Risperdal users have suffered include the following health concerns:
Serious side effects include:
- Movement disorders, such as restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck;
- Heart problems, including changes in pulse, heart rate or blood pressure;
- Fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
- Blood problems, such as low numbers of white blood cells; and
- Seizures, drooling, or uncontrolled tremors.
Other common side effects include:
- Dry mouth;
- Cough or sore throat;
- Fatigue or insomnia;
- Headache or dizziness;
- Weight gain;
- Nausea, vomiting, constipation; and
Recently, several lawsuits have been filed against the maker of Risperdal alleging that users of the drug, especially adolescent males, have developed gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is a swelling of the breast tissue in males that is caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. Several studies have found that the use of Risperdal may cause the development of male breast tissue. Other lawsuits have been filed claiming that the company failed to warn users of other possible side effects, including movement disorders and the risk of death for elderly patients. These complaints claimed that the drug maker knew of Risperdal’s risks, but failed to adequately warn users. If you or a loved one has suffered from gynecomastia or another serious health issue from taking Risperdal, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. Contact an experienced defective drug attorney today to discuss your case.