What is Risperdal?

Risperdal is sold by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. It is one of their best selling drugs, sold for treatment of certain psychological disorders.

Risperdal is prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia in people over 13, Bipolar Disorder in people over 10, and the irritability that is associated with autistic disorders among children and teens between 5 and 16 years.

Risperdal received FDA approval for treatment of schizophrenia in adults in 1993. It wasn’t until 2006 did Risperdal receive any FDA approval for treating children and adolescents.

Risperdal is the brand name of the generic drug risperdone. The Risperdal patent expired on December 29. 2003, allowing more affordable generic versions of the drug (risperdone) to be sold by other companies.

The Mechanism of the Drug

The human brain is said to be the most complex thing known to man.

As with most pharmaceutical treatments for psychiatric conditions, the actual working mechanisms of Risperdal are a bit of a mystery.

This is common for drugs used for the treatment of schizophrenia, as the actual physiology of the disorder itself has mystified scientists for over 50 years.

We do know however that Risperdal acts on certain neurotransmitters in the brain, namely dopamine and serotonin. It blocks their receptors, restoring a balance within the brain, resulting in desirable behavioral changes.


To Janssen’s dismay, the fact that Risperdal causes gynecomastia is drawing attention from the media, and is the current focus of hundreds of Risperdal lawsuits.

Gynecomastia is a medical condition characterized by the growth of male breast tissue, leading to the development of breasts. The breast tissue can grow on one or both sides of the chest, and can also occur unevenly.

Risperdal causes a hormonal imbalance in males, increasing prolactin levels.

Prolactin is a hormone that stimulates the growth of breast tissue and also milk production in women.

Unfortunately, Risperdal causes abnormally high levels of prolactin in men and boys, causing the growth of breasts, and sometimes even lactation from the nipples.

Gynecomastia often requires painful surgery to correct.

Click here to learn more about Risperdal gynecomastia.

Other Risperdal Side Effects

Death of Elderly Users

Janssen Pharmaceuticals is not authorized to sell Risperdal to senior citizens suffering from dementia. Risperdal requires a clearly visible label warning users that the drug can cause death, especially in elderly users.

In fact, according to FDA statistics, elderly people with dementia who used the drug were over 1.5 times more likely to lose their lives as a result of such ailments as pneumonia and heart disease.

Despite not being permitted to market the drug for use for elderly patients with dementia, Janssen did so anyway and this resulted in death and the 3rd biggest pharmaceutical lawsuit settlement in history.

Tardive Dyskinesia and Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome

Medical sources also report that one of the Risperdal side effects is Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome. Commonly abbreviated as NMS, this potentially fatal disorder involves such symptoms as:

  • Autonomic instability (excessive sweating, irregular blood pressure, irregular heartbeat)
  • Hyperpyrexia (extremely high fever)
  • Altered mental status
  • Muscle rigidity

Risperdal is also known to cause tardive dyskinesia, a (potentially permanent and irreversible) condition characterized by such involuntary facial movements as:

  • Rapid eye blinking
  • Lip smacking
  • Grimacing
  • Tongue protrusion
  • Lip pursing or puckering
  • Other disruptive movement

Tardive dyskinesia comes with a heavy social stigma, and may make everyday social interactions difficult for the individual, leading to a decreased quality of life.

Risperdal and Pregnancy

Risperdal has not been studied for use during pregnancy, so it should be used with extreme caution in women who are pregnant. If you are taking Risperdal and become pregnant, consult with your healthcare provider to weigh the risks of taking Risperdal while pregnant against the benefits.

We do know however that in pregnant women, Risperdal may cause the infant to suffer from withdrawal symptoms postpartum. These manifest themselves in the form of extrapyramidal side effects (abnormal muscle movements, like those seen in tardive dyskinesia), otherwise referred to as EPS.

EPS comes with such symptoms as:

  • Feeding disorders
  • Respiratory distress
  • Sleep disturbances (somnolence)
  • Tremors
  • Excessive Muscle Elasticity (Hypotonia)
  • Excessive Muscle Rigidity (Hypertonia)
  • Agitation

In most cases, these withdrawal symptoms tend to pass after a couple of days.

Additionally, there are concerns that the drug can also cause metabolic disorders, including diabetes, abnormal weight gain, high cholesterol, and hyperglycemia (excess sugar in the bloodstream). Currently, these side effects are considered rare.

Common Risperdal Side Effects

Common side effects of Risperdal include:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dizzyness
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Increased appetite
  • Constipation
  • Sexual dysfunction

Risperdal Lawsuits

People taking Risperdal were not warned of the possibility of developing gynecomastia.

There have already been successful lawsuits against Janssen for improperly marketing the dangerous drug to elderly patients for the treatment of dementia, a use which was not approved by the FDA. This transgression which cost Janssen Pharmaceuticals one of the largest pharmaceutical injury settlements in history.

Additionally, Janssen pharmaceuticals has already been successfully sued for Risperdal gynecomastia. The settlements have already began, and if you have suffered as a result of this side effect, the time is now to fight back.

To get justice, you need to consult a legal team that has what it takes to make this giant pharmaceutical corporation pay for all the pain, suffering and distress you have undergone in association with Risperdal side effects.

In addition to your pain and suffering, the recovery process from Risperdal gynecomastia will be long and expensive. We want to make sure you have the financial ability to get better, and get the medical attention you deserve.

Demanding compensation from a manufacturing company is complicated. You do not have to take on the burden of tackling this on your own. By working with experienced Risperdal lawyers you will have an excellent chance of success in your Risperdal lawsuit.

Contact Band Gates & Dramis by completing our online form and we will get back to you in 24 hours. Or, call our toll free hotline for a free case evaluation:

Risperdal Lawsuit Help Line



We work hard to help you receive the just and fair compensation you deserve for all the problems, psychological distress and physical discomfort you have experienced as a result of the above stated Risperdal side effects. We do not collect a fee unless you recover your losses