Risperdal News: Are Too Many Foster Kids Being Treated Off-Label with Atypical Antipsychotics?

Published on April 15, 2014 by Sandy Liebhard

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The use of the medication in children is at issue in many Risperdal lawsuit claims. Now a new study is raising concerns that too many children in foster care may be taking atypical antipsychotic medications like Risperdal to treat symptoms related to ADHD.

While Risperdal and other atypical antipsychotics are approved for some pediatric indications, they have never been cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in those with ADHD. Yet research published this month in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology found that nearly a third of foster children, ages 2 through 17, who had been diagnosed with ADHD were being treated with one of these medications.

The study examined data on more than 260,000 youths aged 2 to 17, enrolled in one state’s Medicaid program in 2006. Risperdal was among the most-frequently used antipsychotics in foster kids with ADHD.

“Our poorest, most vulnerable children, lacking access to evidence-based care, are receiving potentially harmful treatment with little oversight. The highlight of [the] paper for any reader should be the simple but necessary recommendations for antipsychotic prescribing and monitoring in these populations,” the lead author of the study said in a statement announcing its findings.

Risperdal Lawsuits Claim Medication Was Wrongly Marketed for Use in Children

A number of Risperdal lawsuits have been filed that claim the manufacturers of the drug improperly marketed it for use in children. These include more than 350 claims that are pending in a mass tort proceeding underway in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania. Dozens of these lawsuits were filed on behalf of men and boys who allegedly developed Risperdal gynecomastia, a condition marked by excess development of male breast development.

In November 2014, Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals agreed to settle allegations of improper marketing that had been filed against the company by the U.S. Department of Justice. Among other things, the government had accused the companies of improperly marketing the medication for off-label use of Risperdal in children.

Legal Help for Risperdal Gynecomastia Victims

Risperdal users who experienced gynecomastia, or male breast growth, may wish to explore their options for filing a Risperdal lawsuit. To discuss your case with a Risperdal lawyer at Bernstein Liebhard LLP, please call for a free legal review.