Defective Products

The Medical Advantages (or Disadvantages?) of Risperdal

The nerves of the brain are able to transmit messages to each other through the chemical neurotransmitters, which they, themselves, produce. Neurotransmitters, then, move from one nerve to another, attaching themselves to these nerves’ receptors to either stimulate or restrain their function. Risperdal, an oral drug, was developed to change the effects of neurotransmitters in the brain. Through this drug, abnormalities in the way the nerves communicate with each other are reduced, altering the psychotic state of an individual in the process (the abnormalities are identified as the cause of psychotic illness.

Claimed much safer to use compared to other anti- psychotic medicines produced before it, Risperdal instantly gained popularity in the medical realm. By 2011, more than 10 million prescriptions of the drug had been given to children with signs of irritability caused by autism and to those suffering from manic depression, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. The drug is available under the brand names Risperdal, Risperdal Consta and Risperdal M-Tab; there are also many different generic versions that take the name Risperidone. Risperdal was approved for medical use and prescription in 1994, two after Janssen-Cilag Limited, which is part of Johnson & Johnson. Though effective to some, others are cautioned before taking Risperdal, advising them to inform their doctors of any history of family illness, such as kidney, liver, diabetic and heart problems.

Pregnant women (or those intending to become pregnant soon), are, likewise advised to consult with their doctor about the safety of Risperdal. To elderly people suffering from dementia, however, use of Risperdal is strictly not allowed due to the increased risk of fatality it will subject them to. Besides treating schizophrenia, Risperdal has also been prescribed by doctors for off-label use (use on illnesses not approved or recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration), like Tourette syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorders and stuttering. Like other anti- psychotic drugs, as well as like many other types of medicine used to treat severe illnesses, Risperdal has been linked to many moderate, severe and, even, fatal effects on those who have taken it. Despite this, the argument that “its benefits outweigh the damages it can cause” is reason enough to keep its availability in the market. Some of the adverse effects Risperdal causes are Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), Tardive Dyskinesia, stroke and increased risk of diabetes. In 2003, 16 deaths were also reported as having been caused by this anti- psychotic drug.

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Common and Persistant Medical Dangers

There is no injury more personal than that of medical malpractice. Because a majority of people place their whole trust in the ability of doctors, hospitals, and all aspects of the healthcare industry to protect them from bodily harm, sustaining serious injury or death because of negligence undermines not only physical health but emotional security as well. Moreover, medical malpractice often involves close contact with one’s person, and the potential harm this poses can be extreme indeed.

Medical dangers take many forms. While medical malpractice perhaps excites the most horror, trauma and incredulity, one can also suffer grievous harm from drugs and medical devices. This can due to the lack of proper testing, improper marketing for off-label use, or simply defects in its manufacture or design. Many breakthrough drugs or devices that had early promise have led to health problems and complications which the manufacturers knew or should have known about, but failed to warn physicians and the public. This was done mostly to protect what most medical drug and device companies are most concerned with: profit. It’s as textbook as a “profits over people” mentality can be. These companies make so much money, that even if they are forced to shell out tens of millions of dollars to injured patients, they’re still sitting on hundreds of millions.

A good example would be the personal injury practice which galvanized the orthopedic community in 2012 and led to a rush of civil litigation against the manufacturer Stryker Orthopedics. Among other complications, those implanted with the Rejuvenate and ABG II product lines developed metallosis, a condition where elevated levels of heavy metals in the blood and tissue has a toxic effect. It was not the first time that Stryker had been cited for marketing defective products.

Some patients who only want to get curative or palliative care find themselves worse off because of the medical dangers that lurk unsuspected in healthcare. However, they need not remain victims. Engaging the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer will at the very least provide some compensation to cover medical expenses and for the pain and suffering, and hopefully provide motivation for these members of the healthcare industry to try harder to do better.

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