Neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a potential side effect of Risperdal, is characterized by hyperthermia, rigidity, and autonomic dysregulation. The condition was first noted in the medical literature in 1960, after large numbers of patients began being treated with powerful antipsychotic drugs. Along with Risperdal, neuroleptic malignant syndrome has been linked to the use of olanzapine, paliperidone, aripiprazole, ziprasidone, amisulpride, quetiapine and clozapine.
Free Risperdal Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was diagnosed with neuroleptic malignant syndrome after taking Risperdal, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer of Risperdal and we can help.
What is Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)?
While a number of risk factors for neuroleptic malignant syndrome have been noted, the low incidence of the disorder and difficulty in studying it in a controlled setting make a comprehensive understanding somewhat problematic. What is known is that NMS is a potentially fatal reaction to antipsychotic medications like Risperdal (generic: risperidone). Neuroleptic malignant syndrome causes fever, muscle stiffness, changes in mental status, and autonomic dysfunction. Although the precise mechanism of the disorder is still being debated, the basic pathological abnormality is believed to be central D2 receptor blockade or dopamine depletion in the hypothalamus and nigrostriatal/spinal pathways. This increases the temperature set-point, impairs thermal homeostasis, and causes extrapyramidal muscle rigidity. NMS shares a number of characteristics with serotonin syndrome and malignant hyperpyrexia.
- The number of patients diagnosed with neuroleptic malignant syndrome is currently low, and has been falling over the past several years. This is thought to be due to decreased use of antipsychotics, preventative measures, and increased awareness of the disorder. Reported rates range from 0.02-12.2% in patients administered antipsychotic medications.
- A recent Chinese study showed an incidence of 0.12% in antipsychotic patients, and an Indian study reported a similar incidence of 0.14%.
- Occurrence of NMS is increased in patients under 40, and in men (2:1 ratio), which likely reflects the greater use of antipsychotics by males.
Symptoms of Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
Signs and symptoms of Risperdal-induced neuroleptic malignant syndrome may include:
- Dyspnoea (shortness of breath)
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- Tremors / involuntary movements
- Oculogyric crises (prolonged involuntary upward deviation of the eyes)
- Opisthotonos (hyperextension and spasticity of the head, neck and spinal column)
Neuroleptic malignant syndrome often appears after initiation or increase in dosage of Risperdal, and in about 90% of cases this occurs within a week to 10 days. The onset tends to be gradual over 1 to 3 days, and usually occurs within a month of starting or increasing the dose of Risperdal. However, it is important to understand that the disorder can occur at any time during the use of Risperdal.
Over the past several years, mortality from neuroleptic malignant syndrome has dropped from 20-30% to about 5-12%. In most cases, death is caused by cardiovascular collapse, respiratory failure, kidney failure, arrhythmia, or intravascular coagulation. Morbidity typically results from respiratory failure, renal failure, seizure or arrhythmia. If kidney failure occurs during an episode of neuroleptic malignant syndrome, the mortality rate is increased up to 50%.
Once a patient stops taking Risperdal, neuroleptic malignant syndrome can persist for 1 to 3 weeks. The prognosis is generally favorable if there:
- Is early diagnosis of the syndrome
- Is adequate care and treatment
- Are no complications
Do I Have a Risperdal Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Risperdal Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new Risperdal Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome cases in all 50 states.
Free Risperdal Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was diagnosed with neuroleptic malignant syndrome after taking Risperdal, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Risperdal Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Suit and we can help.