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Risperdal

Alert! April 12, 2005 The New York Times reported that the FDA will now require Black Box warnings about the increased risk of death on the labels of some of the most aggressively marketed, hence widely prescribed drugs such as Zyprexa (Eli Lilly) Risperdal (Johnson & Johnson) Abilify (Bristol-Myers Squibb), Clozril (Novartis), Geodon (Pfizer).

On July 24, 2004, the Miami Herald reported that the maker of Risperdal "has acknowledged misleading doctors and other healthcare providers about the safety of the product, minimizing potentially deadly side effects."

"Risperdal is the leading drug used to combat schizophrenia and other types of psychotic disorders, earning Janssen about $2.1 billion in annual sales," the Herald wrote, "The drug was first marketed about eight years ago, and is prescribed to more than 10 million people worldwide."

Risperidone, sold under the brand name Risperdal, is an antipsychotic drug indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia and psychosis. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, Risperdal is usually prescribed by doctors to treat psychotic disorders and symptoms such as hallucinations, hostility and delusions. The medication, which works by regulating the imbalance of chemicals in a user's brain, is made by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

The side effects of Risperdal use include, but may not be limited to, erratic heartbeat, muscle weakness and spasms, high fever, constipation, weight gain and headache. Long-term use of the drug (more than 6-8 weeks) has not been evaluated in clinical trials. Risperdal has been linked to the development of diabetes. A recent study performed by a former FDA official and a Duke University researcher discovered that over a nine-year period, 132 diabetes cases, five ending in death, were reported to the FDA by Risperdal users. In August 2003, researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston University and the University of Illinois at Chicago released findings from a study performed on three antipsychotic drugs, including Risperdal that also connected the medication to an increased rate of diabetes.