Risperdal Linked to Type 2 Diabetes
Risperdal (generic name: risperidone) Johnson & Johnson’s schizophrenia drug, has been linked with a high incidence of type 2 diabetes, hyperglycemia and other blood sugar disorders. Risperdal is in the class of drugs called atypical antipsychotics, which are a newer class of antipsychotics touted as having a lower incidence of blood sugar disorders than the older medications such as Haldol and Thorazine. Risperdal was approved by the FDA in 2003.
Diabetes Study Results
Data from a study that was reported at a conference of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology in Philadelphia August 23 and 24, 2003 showed that patients on Risperdal had 1.49 times as many (49% more) cases of diabetes as those on older antipsychotic drugs. The study of 19,878 U.S. military veterans between October 1998 and October 2001 indicated that Risperdal and other members of the new class of anti-psychotic drugs posed a higher risk of diabetes.
Risperdal is intended to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia including positive symptoms (delusions, thought disorder, hallucinations) and negative symptoms (social withdrawal, lack of energy, apathy, and reduced ability to express emotion). Risperdal affects a broad range of neurotransmitter receptors, including serotonin and dopamine receptors. In addition to schizophrenia, Risperdal has been prescribed for the treatment of acute bipolar mania, agitation and severe anxiety in people with a wide range of psychotic illnesses. It has also been prescribed off-label for many less severe psychological disorders and for disorders in children. Risperdal and the other newer atypical antipsychotic drugs were intended to have full antipsychotic activity, with the advantage of fewer and less severe motor side effects and extrapyramidal symptoms such as akahisia (restlessness and fidgety movements), tardive dyskinesia (involuntary, uncontrollable movements), and akinesia (drug-induced Parkinsonianism, including tremors). Instead of having less side effects, it has been found after Risperdal and the other drugs in the class were approved and used by millions that the risk of developing diabetes was so high. Furthermore, Risperdal may lead to Tardive Dyskinesia as the older antipsychotic medications did. Tardive Dyskinesia is one reason that the older antipsychotic medications were not tolerated well by many schizophrenia patients.
Risperdal & Pancreatitis
Risperdal has also been linked with pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum. The duodenum is the upper part of the small intestine. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine through a tube called the pancreatic duct. These enzymes help digest fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body use the glucose it takes from food for energy.