Risperdal Attorney & Defective Drug Lawsuits

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Risperdal

Risperdal, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, is an atypical antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia, and has been linked to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening side effects. Schizophrenia is a tragic and debilitating mental disease that results from the imbalance of two vital brain chemicals called Serotonin and Dopamine. The lack of these chemicals causes hallucinations and muscle disorders.

The most dangerous and likely side effect of Risperdal use causes patients to develop diabetes, often without noticeable symptoms. Recent studies show that Risperdal is almost 50% more likely to cause diabetes than other antipsychotic drugs. Unchecked diabetes can lead to fatal coma and even death in short time.

Although designed to reduce the occurrence of serious side effects common to many older antipsychotic drugs, Risperdal still causes a number of serious health concerns. Some of the more common side effects include:

  • nausea
  • anxiety
  • dizziness
  • insomnia
  • low blood pressure
  • muscle stiffness
  • muscle pain
  • sedation
  • tremors
  • weight gain (sometimes up to 50 pounds)
  • sexual dysfunction
  • lactation in both genders

Some more serious side effects include debilitating strokes and Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, a devastating condition that causes fever, cognitive problems, blood pressure irregularities, coma, delirium, and muscle tremors.

Other common side effects of Risperdal include Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), Tardive Dyskinesia, and stroke. NMS is a potentially fatal condition that can cause severe muscle rigidity and spikes in blood pressure and pulse. Tardive Dyskinesia affects the central nervous system and can cause spastic facial ticks and uncontrollable and purposeless movement of the limbs and body. Less severe side effects of Risperdal include muscle weakness, fever, weight gain, and headaches.

Stroke

Risperdal is known to have caused 37 strokes or stroke-related conditions that killed 16 people before April 17, 2003. Many of these patients were elderly, and their doctors prescribed a regimen of Risperdal to treat their senile dementia. Although the drug was not specifically intended to treat this condition, it is well known that many pharmaceutical companies encourage this non-approved "off label" use prescription drugs in order to boost sales and increase use.

Janssen Pharmaceutica sent out a warning letter to doctors on April 16, 2003 warning of the potential risks that Risperdal posed to elderly patients. Janssen Pharmaceutica was severely criticized for not taking action sooner, as it sent out a letter warning of similar risks to Canadian doctors in 2002.

Risperdal Heart Attack Information

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) is a potentially life-threatening neurological disorder caused by antipsychotic medication and characterized by rigid muscles, high fever, and higher cognitive disability. Drugs like Risperdal can cause NMS due to a rare but acute adverse reaction occuring when the antipsychotic drug triggers an allergy in some patients.

Although allergic reaction is rare, those who begin to exhibit symptoms of NMS must get immediate medical treatment because the condition can accelerate rapidly. Without aggressive treatment, the victim of NMS can develop fatal complications, and death can occur anywhere between three and thirty days after the onset of symptoms.

Stroke

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) is a potentially life-threatening neurological disorder caused by antipsychotic medication and characterized by rigid muscles, high fever, and higher cognitive disability. Drugs like Risperdal can cause NMS due to a rare but acute adverse reaction occuring when the antipsychotic drug triggers an allergy in some patients.

Although allergic reaction is rare, those who begin to exhibit symptoms of NMS must get immediate medical treatment because the condition can accelerate rapidly. Without aggressive treatment, the victim of NMS can develop fatal complications, and death can occur anywhere between three and thirty days after the onset of symptoms.

Blood Clots

Blood clots are one of the most dangerous cardiovascular conditions that can happen to a victim. Although a natural bodily process, when blood clots occur inside blood vessels they can be immediately life threatening. Blood clots can prevent blood from traveling through the circulatory system, or can travel through the circulatory system to the heart and other parts of the body. Most blood clots originate in the legs, but they can occur virtually anywhere.

Due to the propensity for older patients to develop serious cardiovascular problems during Risperdal treatment, Janssen Pharmaceutica released a letter to American doctors warning that the drug may have caused 37 strokes or stroke-related conditions that killed 16 people. Risperdal can sometimes cause blood clots to form in the vascular systems of some patients, which if left untreated can cause stroke or even death if it prevents blood from reaching the brain.

Diabetes

One of the properties of Risperdal is that the medication can interfere with the way the body processes blood sugar. The drug can cause insulin resistance, which means that the body cannot draw sugar out of the bloodstream and process it into energy. Unprocessed blood sugar will eventually build up to the point where the body begins to shut down, unable to get energy from food and potentially suffering blindness, coma, and death due to toxic levels of glucose in the blood.

Many people who suffered diabetic side effects of Risperdal were unaware of the potential dangers until it was too late. Many of the symptoms of elevated blood sugar are similar to the flu, so it was frequently misdiagnosed as something less dangerous, particularly in people with no history of diabetes or other blood sugar-related health conditions.

Tardive Dyskinesia

Tardive Dyskinesia is a condition caused by some medications designed to treat delusional psychoses such as schizophrenia. It is characterized by uncontrollable and pointless movements such as lip smacking, grimacing, and spasms in the muscles of the arms and legs. It is incurable, and sadly many years must pass before symptoms of the disorder begin to appear.

Risperdal was developed in order to provide the same psychological stability without causing devastating coordination and movement issues. Unfortunately Risperdal does still cause Tardive Dyskinesia, and some victims of this terrible misfortune have secured multimillion dollar settlements in order to compensate for the irresponsibility of drug makers and doctors who care more about their profits than their patients.

More and more people are victimized by the life-threatening effects of Risperdal every month. If you or someone you know is one of these unfortunate people, you need to take immediate action. You could be entitled to financial compensation for your pain and suffering, but if you wait too long the statute of limitation laws in your state could restrict the amount of time you have to collect your restitution. Contact a dedicated, experienced, and knowledgeable Risperdal attorney today.

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The Law Firms of Steigerwalt & Associates are working to help victims of serious injury and death as a result of defective drugs like Risperdal.