Risperidone is sold under the trade name Risperdal and is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Company).
The medication works by averting the neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine that helps to get a clearer thought process. Initially, when the medication was released in the market, it was summoned as a “next generation” solution to the existing drug Haldol (haloperidol), which was also quite popular.
Over the years, Risperdal has earned more than $40 billion in sales. But this hugely popular drug has some serious health complications that led to risperdal class action lawsuit.
Similar to any other antipsychotic drug, it has some common health issues which can be curable by either changing the dosage or switching to a different medication. These common health effects are:
The severe complications that led to the legal complaints include:
Gynecomastia: it is one of the most dangerous complications where young boys and males have overdeveloped breasts. This growth happens as Risperdal leads to increased secretion of prolactin, the hormone responsible for breast development and lactation in women.
The FDA repeatedly warned J&J from 1999 to 2005 to stop promoting and branding Risperdal for use by young people. But despite the manufacturer’s knowing that Risperdal posed certain health risks in stimulating breast development, they continued to do so. This has been the main blame in the risperdal class action lawsuit.
More than physical pain, the condition leads a strong mental scar and it really becomes difficult for these young patients to deal with the emotional anguish. It usually requires surgery to correct the condition which otherwise can become permanent.
On a similar note, the drug also causes complications in young girls who face untimely lactation. Over production of prolaction creates disturbed menstrual cycles as well and can cause in delayed growth. This event is equally traumatizing to them as one can imagine. It was frightening to see how the side effects of the drug can only exasperate the emotional turbulence.
Risperdal also caused serious movement disorders such as extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS). The condition tends to become permanent if not treated timely.