More than 50% of patients in the United Kingdom who are currently being treated with Risperdal and other antipsychotic drugs haven’t actually been diagnosed with a serious mental illness (SMI), such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Those most likely to receive off-label antipsychotic treatment included women, elderly patients, and those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, according to the report, which appears in BMJ Open.
“In this study of antipsychotic prescribing in a large primary care database representative of the UK, approximately half of the prescriptions for first-generation and second-generation antipsychotics are issued to people who have no record of SMI…in their clinical notes,” authors of the study write.
According to a report from MedScape.com, the study drew on data from a primary care database in the United Kingdom called the Health Improvement Network, with the research team focusing on individuals prescribed antipsychotics between 2007 and 2011. More than 47,000 such patients were identified. Of those, 50% treated with first-generation antipsychotics had no SML diagnosis. The percentage of off-label use among patients treated with second-generation medications varied. For example, 14% being treated with Risperdal had an anxiety disorder, 22% were being treated for depression, 12% suffered from dementia, 11% had a sleep disorder and 4% were diagnosed with a personality disorder
The findings of this study are troubling, considering the serious side effects that can sometimes accompany the use of Risperdal and other antipsychotic medications. In fact, Risperdal is currently at the center of a U.S. litigation in which plaintiffs allege the drug caused diabetes, gynecomastia (male breast growth) and other complications. The majority of these Risperdal lawsuits, which accuse Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals of concealing these risks, are pending in a mass tort litigation now underway in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court in Pennsylvania.
Last year, the manufacturers of Risperdal also agreed to settle charges with the U.S. government regarding the marketing of it and other drugs. Among other things, the U.S. Department of Justice had alleged that the company illegally marketed Risperdal for off-label uses. The $2.2 billion settlement was one of the largest in U.S. history involving health care fraud allegations.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is now representing Risperdal gynecomastia plaintiffs in the Pennsylvania litigation. If you would like to learn more about filing a Risperdal lawsuit for this serious injury, please call our attorneys today at for a free, no-obligation case review.