Risperdal is often prescribed to treat schizophrenia, the most common form of psychosis, affecting an estimated 26 million people worldwide. One in a hundred people will develop the condition, with symptoms surfacing between ages 15-25 in men and 25-35 in women. Childhood schizophrenia is a severe form of psychotic disorder that occurs at age 12 or younger and is often chronic and persistently debilitating. The cause is generally unknown but it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Most care is provided in the community with specialist teams made up of psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers, and support members. Some patients require in-hospital treatment. The primary medications used to teat schizophrenia are known as antipsychotics. They help with symptoms but they are not cure. Antipsychotic medications should be taken long-term.
One commonly prescribed antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia in both children and adults is Risperdal, known generically as risperidone. It is also used in children and adults to treat bipolar disorder and irritability with autism. It is often used off-label to treat other behavioral conditions including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD).
Risperdal has been linked to a embarrassing condition in boys and young men known as gynecomastia, in which breast tissue develops. Breasts can become tender and painful, and may even begin to lactate. Surgeries such as liposuction or mastectomy are often required to remove the breast.
Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals currently face hundreds of lawsuits alleging the company was aware Risperdal could cause gynecomastia but failed to adequately warn doctors or patients of this risk.
Source: Bristol Post