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Medical Uses of Risperdal

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Defective Medication | 0 comments

Most people know that antipsychotic drugs help to manage the symptoms of behavior and affective disorders, but not how. Risperidone (brand name Risperdal) as an atypical (2nd generation) antipsychotic drug acts on the receptors of dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and histamine. It is the initial treatment given to psychotic patients alone or in combination with other mood stabilizing drugs such lithium or valproic acid, depending on the type and seriousness of the disorder, and it is most efficacious when given in the short term.

Risperdal enjoyed immense popularity since it was first introduced in the market in 1993 because it was more effective than 1st generation antipsychotics and patients exhibited less extra pyramidal side effects (movement disorders). This last improvement is thought to be due to the repressive action of risperidone on 5-HT2A/2C (serotonin) receptors at low doses.

Several studies done regarding the effects of risperidone since it was first introduced showed that it is a relatively safe and effective treatment protocol for children and teenagers with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disordered speech and thought, and poor social and emotional responses. It often manifests in people during the end of adolescence or in early adulthood, and successful management of the disease is greatly improved when the disorder is caught prior to onset (prodromal). This reduces the disruption in development and lessens the severity of the condition.  Risperidone co-administered with cognitive behavior therapy was found to reduce psychotic conversion at the 6-month prodromal period.

Early intervention (prior to the first episode) is also said to reduce the symptoms and slow down the progression of bipolar disorder. Also typically presenting in late adolescence and early adulthood, bipolar disorder is distinguished by the extreme fluctuations in mood, energy and activity levels. It is considered a serious mental illness because it can significantly disrupt a person’s ability to function.

While risperidone appears to be an effective short-term solution for controlling a wide array of symptoms of mental disease, recent events regarding serious side effects of the drug and subsequent litigation has prompted warnings regarding its use. Ongoing clinical trials and safety regulations are in place to address these issues, which will hopefully result in effective guidelines for safe administration, especially for the most affected populations.

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Bases for Pharmaceutical Product Liability Claims

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Defective Medication, Personal Injury, Product Liability | 1 comment

Product liability is the general term used for claims against a manufacturer, distributor, seller, or retailer of a product which causes injury or harm to the user. When it comes to drug-related claims, however, there are three bases that it may fall under.

One basis for a drug-related product liability claim is defective manufacturing. This may encompass any type of error that makes the drug dangerous which would otherwise be safe. This can be a mistake in the formulation, tainted bottles or syringes, mislabeling, packaging mishaps, or shipping problems i.e. improper storage. An example would be the recent recall of batches of Excedrin and other over-the-counter medications because the bottles may contain the wrong medicine. Any person injured by this type of mistake may have a case against the drug manufacturer or packaging company.

Another basis for a claim would be dangerous side effects. While it is commonly accepted that most drugs even when properly manufacturer do have unavoidable side effects, the drug company still has the duty to warn physicians and patients, especially when they are potentially dangerous. In many such cases, claimants allege that the drug manufacturer knew about the dangers but concealed the knowledge. A good example would be birth control formulations Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, manufacturer Bayer Pharmaceutical knew the drospirenone-based contraceptives increased the risk of developing potentially fatal blood clots 1.5 times more than other types of contraceptives but failed to issue the proper warning.

Last but not least would be improper marketing of the product. Most commonly in drug-related product liability cases, the problem arises when the manufacturer or distributor markets the medication for off-label uses. For example, drug A is approved by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat illness B, and the label will specify this. But to sell more, the drug company tells its sales force to claim that drug A is also good for illness C and illness D. This is off-label marketing, and it can have serious consequences. This is what happened with the anti-epilepsy medication Depakote, which was being marketed to treat migraines and bipolar disorder although it was not approved by the FDA for these conditions. It caused birth defects in children whose mothers were prescribed with Depakote for migraines during their pregnancy.

If you sustained serious injury from dangerous or defective drugs, you should seek compensation for the pain and suffering it caused. Consult with a personal injury lawyer experienced in handling drug-related product liability cases as early as possible.

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