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Posted by Edna on Jan 29, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Taking Risperdal

The benefits manifested by the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal during the years immediately following its release plus the claim that is causes lesser side effects compared to other drugs intended to treat brain-related illnesses, enabled it to gain immediate popularity in the medical field. This acceptance led to the issuance of more than 10 million prescriptions by the end of October 2011.

The use of Risperdal was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1994; it is prescribed to patients to treat mixed or manic episodes of bipolar disorder, long-term treatment of bipolar disorder, irritability due to autistic disorder and schizophrenia.

By altering the effects of chemicals (called neurotransmitters) in the brain, Risperdal is able to affect abnormal brain communication, which is the cause of psychotic illness, and improve the condition of the patient. Besides the FDA-approved use of Risperdal, doctors also prescribe the drug for off-label use, such as in treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorders, Tourette syndrome and stuttering.

The year 2003 was marked with reports of severe side-effects and fatalities that, allegedly, were caused by Risperdal. Incidences of strokes, deaths and the development of Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome or NMS (a deadly condition caused by the rigidity of the muscles and irregularities in blood pressure) and Tardive Dyskinesia (uncontrolled twitching of the face and/or tongue and uncontrolled movement of the limbs caused by a disorder in the central nervous system).

A 2010 study on Risperdal, however, found that the drug makes no improvement on the social skills and conversational ability of children with autism and that the obsessive behavior of many autistics has not been reduced. The study also showed that, though, Risperdal may have provided some benefits to people suffering from dementia, the incidences of stroke and death were still higher.

Some of the other reported side effects and complications from Risperdal include heart failure, diabetes, bone loss, pancreatitis, cellulitis, pneumonia, neutropenia and fast/irregular heartbeat. Risperdal is a prescription drug supposed to be taken orally. It was developed by Janssen-Cilag, one of Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiaries, in 1992, especially, for individuals suffering from schizophrenia.

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