Report Highlights Risks of Risperdal for Children with Autism

risks of RisperdalRisks of Risperdal Become Widespread Issue

A new report warns that use of Risperdal, an atypical antipsychotic medication, to treat autism may help to improve focus and reduce tantrums, but there are some potentially serious risks of Risperdal, including sleepiness, weight gain and other side effects. The medication was originally introduced for schizophrenic adults, but it has been widely used across the U.S. for children with aggression, irritability, autism, bi-polar disorders and other behavior disorders. Risperdal was the first medication approved by the FDA to treat autism symptoms, and it has also been widely used “off-label” to reduce repetitive behaviors and to treat hyperactivity.

The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative released the report in May 2014, highlighting several concerns over the possible side effects and risks of Risperdal that could occur should the drug be used to treat autism. Although experts state that Risperdal may help autistic children to focus on other treatment methods and reduce tantrums that are often commonplace with the condition, several physicians warn that Risperdal carriers a severe risk of fatigue and weight gain. Additionally, not everyone who takes the medication experiences the benefits, and the problems are likely to return when the patient stops taking the drug.

According to the report, children taking Risperdal gained an average of six pounds within eight weeks of starting treatment. While six pounds may not seem significant to a 140-pound adult, it can be quite dramatic for a 60-pound boy. Several medical experts have warned that rapid or prolonged weight gain may increase the risk of childhood diabetes. Additionally, Risperdal use in young boys has also been linked to a condition known as gynecomastia, or the abnormal growth of breasts in males. Due to the apparent weight gain associated with Risperdal, a gynecomastia condition is often left unnoticed until the growth of the breasts significantly outpaces the weight gain.

In recent years, the manufacturer of Risperdal, Johnson & Johnson, has been facing a growing number of lawsuits brought forth on behalf of young adults and teenagers. These claims allege that Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately inform the medical community and consumers about the risks of Risperdal. In some cases, surgical procedures were required to remove the affected tissues.

The latest report concludes that Risperdal should be prescribed and used with caution after several risks of Risperdal have been established, and only for children with the most severe symptoms of autism after other treatment options have failed. If you or someone you love took Risperdal and you developed gynecomastia or experienced other adverse side effects, contact Attorney Group for a free consultation. We can review your case, answer your questions about the risks of Risperdal and help determine if you are eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer and seek compensation for your injuries.