Risperdal, which is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division
of Johnson & Johnson, is another member of the family of drugs knows
as Atypical Antipsychotics.
Risperdal has been linked to diabetes and, more specifically, Type 2
diabetes. (Type 2 diabetes is sometimes called adult-onset diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of heart disease
Other serious side effects, however, include Neuroleptic Malignant
Syndrome (NMS), Tardive Dyskinesia, stroke or stroke-like events,
and even death. (NMS is a potentially fatal syndrome involving
muscle rigidity, and irregular blood pressure and pulse).
Tardive Dyskinesia is a central nervous system disorder, which results in
involuntary movement of the limbs and twitching of the face and tongue.)
Although it is primarily used for treating schizophrenia, Risperdal is also
used to control other behavioral disorders in elderly patients ( such as
nursing home patients) who have delusions, aggression, and anxiety
as is often seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and/or dementia.
Risperdal has also been under scrutiny for causing severe side effects and
adverse reactions mentioned above.
Although Risperdal was approved by the FDA in 1994, it took some time
before the dangerous side effects were completely identified though a
series of studies.
On April 11th of 2003 Johnson & Johnson sent “Dear Doctor” letters to
thousands of physicians in the United States advising them of the
possible risk of stroke among elderly patients taking Risperdal.
The letter indicated that Johnson and Johnson had modified the Risperdal
label so that practitioners were aware that:
… ” there was a significantly higher incidence of cerebrovascular adverse
events in patients treated with risperidone compared to patients treated
with placebo. RISPERDAL has not been shown to be safe or effective in the
treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis ” [ Click Here to
read the actual Risperdal “Dear Practitioner letter” ].
This came after Johnson & Johnson had received 37 reports of stroke or
related events like blood clots or hemorrhages, including 16 deaths.
As a result of these findings, Johnson & Johnson updated the warning label
on Risperdal to include more specific information about strokes in the
elderly. At this time it became apparent that Risperdal should not be used
to treat dementia because there is no evidence that it is safe or effective
in that capacity.
Risperdal has also been known to cause irregular headaches, muscle
weakness and spasms, high fever, constipation, weight gain, and
People on Risperdal who have any or all of these side effects should
contact their doctor and discuss these problems with their doctor because
these conditions may be warning signs of serious illness.