A new study is raising concern that Risperdal and other antipsychotic drugs are being increasingly used by substance abusers for non-medical purposes. The presentation of the research last month at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) 24th Annual Meeting & Symposium comes as hundreds of Risperdal lawsuit claims are moving forward in courts around the country.
The report was based on a survey of 429 people who had been admitted to rehab and detox units of the Addiction Institute of New York. Of those, 17% reported using an antipsychotic to either enhance the affects of an illicit substance or to mitigate its unwanted affects. The respondents reported using the antipsychotics with a range of other substances, including alcohol, opioids, cocaine/crack, methamphetamine, and/or marijuana. Of those surveyed, 24% reported using Risperdal in such a manner.
The authors of the survey recommended that atypical antipsychotics be prescribed to known substance abusers only for the treatment of psychosis. Patients with other conditions should be screened for abuse, and all patients should be monitored for signs of addiction, they wrote.
Meanwhile, more than 200 Risperdal lawsuits are currently pending in a mass tort litigation underway in Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. All of the lawsuits claim use of the drug caused patients to develop serious side effects, including Risperdal gynecomastia. This condition is characterized by excessive growth of male breast tissue. According to claims, the disorder results from an increase in the production of the hormone prolactin, which is stimulated by the use of Risperdal. Among other things, plaintiffs in Risperdal lawsuits allege that Johnson & Johnson failed to provide adequate warnings about the drug’s significant side effects. They also claim that the drug maker improperly marketed Risperdal for off-label uses, including for use in children.
Some of the charges levied in Risperdal lawsuits echo allegations made by the U.S. Department of Justice, which last month reached a settlement with Johnson & Johnson involving the marketing of Risperdal and other drugs. Under the terms of the settlement, the company entered a guilty plea to one criminal misdemeanor charge that it marketed Risperdal for use in elderly dementia patients. However, Johnson & Johnson did not admit wrongdoing in resolving civil charges over the alleged marketing of the drug for pediatric uses. The settlement requires Johnson & Johnson to pay a total of $2.2 billion in civil and criminal penalties.
Alleged victims of Risperdal male breast growth are eligible to receive a free, no-obligation case review from a member of the legal staff at Bernstein Liebhard LLP. To learn more about filing a Risperdal lawsuit, please call .