Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication that is used to treat a ride array of conditions. Risperdal contains risperidone and is commonly referred to by that name. The drug is taken orally and is used to treat both children and adults. It is designed to restore the balance of natural chemicals within the brain. It is used to treat several mood disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
People may be prescribed Risperdal for long periods of time to treat mood swings, hallucinations, and living with emotional withdrawal. It can also be prescribed for short-term uses to treat behavioral problems such as verbal and physical aggression, agitation, and general suspiciousness. The drug is also prescribed to seniors to treat dementia. In addition to treating bipolar and schizophrenia, doctors have also used Risperdal to help children with autism or ADHD control their urges and behaviors.
The most common side effects of Risperdal include:
- jerky, involuntary movements of head, neck, arms, or eyes
- general fatigue
The more serious side effects can indicate an allergy to risperdone. Patients should watch for fever or stiff muscles, drooling and tremors, seizures, chills, nosebleeds, white patches on the inside of the mouth or lips, difficult swallowing, lightheadedness, and penis erections that are painful or last more than four hours.
There are other side effects that are not as commonly known. These include aggressive behavior, changes in vision, trouble concentrating, memory problems, shuffling walk, twisting body movements, and unusual secretion of milk. There are also numerous claims that the use of risperdone causes gynecomastia, or the development of male breast tissue in boys and teenagers.
Risperdal was introduced in 1993, but it quickly became one of the most profitable and popular medications in the United States. The number of prescriptions quickly topped one million in 1996. The first public indication of serious problems came in 2001 when the Miami Herald reported that the medication was causing serious side effects among teenagers who were in Florida foster homes. In these cases, the mediation was being used as a chemical restraint.
Janssen Pharmecutica issued a statement to Canadian doctors regarding Risperdal in 2002. It was a warning advising doctors of the risks associated with using Risperdal to treat elderly people with dementia. There were allegations that the drug was responsible for 37 stroke-like events and as many as 16 deaths.
In the United States in 2003, the FDA as a treatment for bipolar disorder officially approved Risperdal. That same year, Janssen sent a similar warning letter to American doctors. However, doctors continued to use the medication to treat mood disorders in adults and children. Today, it continues to be the most prescribed antipsychotic drug in the country.
Researchers believe that Risperdal works to block dopamine. This results in the pituitary gland releasing prolactin. This milk-producing hormone stimulates breast milk in women. One of the listed side results of Risperdal is the spontaneous production of breast milk. In men, this excessive hormone can lead to gynecomastia. The treatment for excessive breast tissue is liposuction, breast reduction surgery or mastectomy. Anyone who is using this medication is encouraged to watch for the growth of unwanted breast tissue. It may present on one or both sides of the body, and it can be uneven or lopsided when present in both breasts. Symptoms include pain, tenderness, swelling, and nipple discharge.
It is important to note that Risperdal will not cause gynecomastia in all people. The drug continues to be one of the most heavily prescribed antipsychotic medications, and the side effects do not affect all users. However, consumers should be aware of the risks so that they can make an informed decision about their personal health care. Further, those who are taking the medication should be aware of the full risks and understand what their options are if they start experiencing some of the most serious side effects.
If the prescription drug Risperdal has injured if you or anyone you know, contact John Michael Bailey Injury Lawyers right away.