Thousands of individuals in the United Kingdom who are prescribed Risperdal and other antipsychotic medications are often taking them in the absence of a serious mental illness, a new study suggests.

According to a December 30th report from Medscape Medical News, new research suggests that half the prescriptions written for these drugs are done so without the diagnosis of a serious condition. Findings of the study, which were obtained by a team at the University College London and published in a recent issue of BMJ, indicate that antipsychotic drugs might be more likely given off-label to women, older people and individuals who are economically disadvantaged. “They are more likely to be prescribed to older people, who may be more sensitive to adverse effects such as movement disorders and cardiometabolic risk,” researchers said.

The study involved data obtained over a four-year period, from 47,724 individuals who were prescribed antipsychotics with a diagnosis of psychosis and bipolar disorder, or other diagnoses including depression, dementia, anxiety or none of these problems. Research was conducted between 2007 and 2011.

Risperdal Often Prescribed Off-Label to Women, Elderly People, Study Suggests

The proportion of patients taking a second-generation antipsychotic like Seroquel for the treatment of a serious mental illness was found to be 36%, and the rest were prescribed this and other medications for anxiety, depression, dementia, as well as sleep and personality disorders, according to the study. Risperdal was prescribed for these issues 14%, 22%, 12%, 11% and 4% of the time.

In the U.S., Risperdal is only approved to treat adults and adolescents with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, as well as children on the autism spectrum who may be exhibiting symptoms of irritability. Research suggests that this particular drug, which is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is also frequently prescribed off-label to treat ADHD.

Given the widespread popularity of this medication in the U.S. and Europe, one may wonder how many people have suffered complications now alleged in hundreds of Risperdal lawsuits. These may include but are not limited to gynecomastia, a condition referring to male breast development that has been associated with tenderness, swelling, lactation and other issues. As of January 2015, at least 1,200 lawsuits over this medication had been filed in a consolidated litigation established in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Considering a Risperdal Lawsuit? Contact Us Today.

Call a Risperdal lawyer today for more information about side effects that may stem from use of this antipsychotic. Contact us directly at (877) 779-1414.

Published January 5, 2015 by