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Risperdal is a common antipsychotic medication manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Janssen is a division of Johnson & Johnson. Risperdal is also sold under the generic name risperidone

The medication works by blocking neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin and dopamine.

Risperdal is prescribed to treat a variety of illnesses and conditions, including:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Mania or mixed episodes of bipolar disorder
  • Behavior problems, including mood changes, self-injury, and aggression
  • Autism

According to the prescribing recommendations, there are age limits for many of the approved uses of risperidone or Risperdal.

Common Side Effects Associated With Risperdal 

There are several known side effects associated with using Risperdal. 

According to MedlinePlus, Risperdal side effects include:

  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Stomach pain
  • Increased saliva
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Increased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Agitation
  • Late or missed menstrual periods
  • Difficulty staying asleep or falling asleep
  • Dreaming more than usual
  • Vision problems
  • Restlessness
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Discolored or dry skin
  • Breast discharge or enlargement
  • Difficulty maintaining balance or feeling unsteady and dizzy
  • Decreased sexual ability

Some of the side effects of Risperdal can be serious. Serious side effects according to MedlinePlus that may require immediate medical attention include:

  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Faintness
  • Falling
  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Unusual movements of the body or face that cannot be controlled
  • Slow movement or shuffling gait
  • Painful erection of the penis that lasts for hours
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Irregular or fast pulse

Risperdal and risperidone can also cause other side effects. Whenever you experience any side effects after taking a medication, you should immediately contact your doctor’s office. For severe reactions, go directly to the emergency room or call 911 for help.

Have There Been Problems With Risperdal?

The drug was introduced to the market in 1993 after approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). First, the FDA approved the drug to treat schizophrenia in adults. Later, Risperdal was approved to treat childhood schizophrenia, behavior disorders, and bipolar disorder. Additionally, Risperdal is used to treat several off-label conditions

In addition to the dangerous side effects associated with Risperdal, there have also been other serious side effects.

Male Breast Development

Risperdal has been associated with male breast growth or gynecomastia in young boys. The use of Risperdal can cause an increase in the secretion of the hormone prolactin. Prolactin is responsible for the fatty tissue growth in the breasts and lactation. 

Boys who develop gynecomastia can experience severe emotional distress. In addition, some boys develop severe mental health disorders, including clinical depression and anxiety. Without surgery, the condition could be permanent. 

Johnson & Johnson has been sued numerous times over this issue.

Death in Elderly Individuals

Taking Risperdal can increase the risk of death for elderly individuals with dementia. As a result, the FDA required a black box warning for Risperdal after elderly patients died from a stroke, cardiac failure, or pneumonia while taking Risperdal. 

Movement Disorders

Risperdal can also cause movement disorders that worsen over time. The disorders may be permanent, even after the person stops taking Risperdal. Symptoms include:

  • Tremors 
  • Facial tics
  • Inability to stay still (akathisia)
  • Stiffening of the tongue and/or jerking of the chick toward the neck (torticollis)
  • Inability to control mouth muscles
  • Drooling
  • Abnormal limb, shoulder, and head movements (Tardive Dyskinesia)
  • Loss of voluntary movement (akinesia)

Johnson & Johnson has also faced legal issues because of these potentially deadly side effects of Risperdal.

Heart Problems

Risperdal can interfere with heart rhythm. As a result, the patient could experience cardiac arrhythmia, leading to death or cardiac arrest. A 2009 study found that individuals who use atypical antipsychotic medications like Risperdal had two times the chance of sudden cardiac death than those who did not take the drug. 

Lactation in Young Girls

Young girls who take Risperdal can have early onset female lactation. They may have enlarged breasts at a very early age. The development of breasts and milk production at a young age can be emotionally traumatizing. 

Lawsuits for Damages Caused by Risperdal Side Effects

Many lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals alleging negligence and wrongdoing. However, the damages caused by taking the drug outweigh the advantages.

Product liability cases involving defective drugs are common. When drug manufacturers produce defective drugs or fail to provide adequate warnings, they can be held financially liable for damages. Individuals who were injured after taking Risperdal have sought damages for their medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, permanent impairments, and other losses.

If you experienced side effects after taking Risperdal, you might want to talk with a Risperdal lawsuit lawyer about your case. You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.