Risperdal is a medication used to treat mental/mood disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and irritability associated with autistic disorder. It is an atypical antipsychotic; it works by helping to restore the balance of natural substances in the brain.
Risperdal is not for use in conditions involving dementia. It may cause heart failure, sudden death, or pneumonia in older adults with dementia related conditions, and may also make the patient more sensitive to temperature extremes such as very hot or cold conditions. It may also impair thinking or reactions, reducing the ability to conduct activities such as driving.
Risperdal has been linked to a number of disorders including diabetes, stroke, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome. There have been 37 reports of stroke related events, and including 16 deaths. In 2003 a warning letter was sent to physicians by Johnson and Johnson warning against the elevated risk of stroke for elderly patients. There have been charges against Johnson and Johnson citing that it illegally marketed Risperdal, and that it has encouraged physicians to dispense Risperdal for conditions other than what it is prescribed to treat. There have been felony charges made against Johnson and Johnson by the U.S. Justice department, along with a conviction that would prevent the drug being sold to health care facilities and in the Medicare program.