Although Risperdal received FDA approval to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia, recent news about the drug suggests that it may not be the safest form of treatment available. In 2003, Risperdal manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceutica Products announced that they would be contacting thousands of doctors warning of a possible link between Risperdal use and stroke in elderly patients.
The 2003 announcement followed a 2002 warning by Janssen to Canadian physicians. The 2002 warning reported 37 stroke or stroke-like events, including 16 deaths. In 2004, Janssen sent a letter to the healthcare community explaining the potential health risks associated with Risperdal. This letter followed extensive criticism by the medical community and the public that Janssen was deceptive in their advertising and promotion of the drug.
Risperdal has been prescribed for more than eight years to over 10 million people worldwide. It is the most popular drug used to treat schizophrenia, but several high-profile lawsuits have demonstrated the health risks associated with Risperdal. The drug is particularly hazardous to children and the elderly. Such risks prompted the FDA to become involved and require warning labels on Risperdal and other antipsychotic drugs.