Risperdal, or Risperidone as it is also known, is an atypical antipsychotic drug that is used to treat a number of mood disorders including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and in some cases, autism. The drug was developed and is distributed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals—a Johnson and Johnson company—and has made the company billions.

What is less well known about the drug is its devastating side effects and the various lawsuits and other legal trouble the two companies have endured because of it. While Risperdal was hailed as a wonder drug and a more humane replacement for previous drugs used to treat mood disorders, it has since been given an FDA “black box warning” indicating just how dangerous it can be.

To help you better understand just what Risperdal can do to the human body, the below is important information regarding the dangerous side effects of Risperdal.

General Side Effects of Risperdal

For the general population, there are a number of serious side effects that, although rare, might affect a significant minority of individuals who take Risperdal. Some of these side effects include:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision (these side effects in particular can make driving and operating heavy machinery more dangerous)
  • Drooling
  • Anxiety
  • Increased weight gain

In addition to being dangerous, some of the above side effects can be humiliating. Humiliating and dangerous side effects are a theme with Risperdal. 

The drug can also cause a number of involuntary movements. Dystonia is known for its uncontrollable, repetitive muscle movements, while Tardive Dyskinesia often manifests itself through facial twitches. 

Side Effects of Risperdal in Children 

Risperdal was originally intended for adult use but was later approved for use in children. One of the most humiliating side effects experienced by boys who have taken Risperdal is the development of breasts. 

This occurs because the drug introduces a hormone, prolactin, into the system. This hormone in turn produces breasts in boys as young as age four. Unless those afflicted with gynecomastia, as it is known, undergo surgery, the breasts will be permanent.

The side effects of Risperdal in girls is equally as troubling. Because of the introduction of prolactin into their bodies, girls who take the drug experience early breast development and even lactation. In addition to being humiliating, early lactation in girls can also be dangerous and alter their natural menstrual cycles.

Side Effects of Risperdal in the Elderly

For elderly patients who take Risperdal, especially those who have dementia, taking the drug can be fatal. Studies have shown that elderly patients who take Risperdal are more likely to die from a host of common illnesses and conditions including:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Stroke
  • Pneumonia 

In addition to the elderly, studies have shown that even younger individuals who take Risperdal and other atypical antipsychotic drugs like it are more likely to die from heart problems than those who do not take that particular type of drug.

Other Drugs that Increase the Likelihood of Serious Side Effects

In addition to Risperdal having its own list of dangerous side effects, there is an even longer list of other drugs that can increase the likelihood of those side effects occurring should both drugs be taken at the same time. While the list is too long to cover in its entirety here, reputable websites such as the Mayo Clinic and others keep an updated list of drugs that interact with Risperdal.

What to do if You Have Been Negatively Impacted By Risperdal Side Effects

If you have experienced any of Risperdal’s side effects, now might be the time to consider legal action. Janssen and its parent company Johnson and Johnson know they are pushing a dangerous drug on unsuspecting patients who are just trying to get better. 

Instead, those individuals are being harmed by the drug that is meant to help them. With the assistance of a qualified lawyer, you might be able to seek compensation to help you as you recover from the side effects of Risperdal.