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Best of Age of Autism: What Risperdal Did to Me

Risperdal photo Managing Editor's Note:  We ran this post back during the Sky Walker case.  In light of the Detroit story, it seemed approprite to run it again.

Sondra Williams, wife, Mom, writer (and adult with autism) wrote a post for us about the Sky Walker murder case (HERE.)  One of her own comments on the post referred to her having been put onto Risperdal, like Sky Walker (the "he" she refers to.)  I asked for (and received) her permission to run the comment as a post. Her final sentence chilled me, "yes much scary life when autistic and not have a voice."  Thank you, Sondra. 

Jane did not know he was of resperadol as I to been of that one too and it was of the worse  drug ever for me in this life. I to gaiend of much weight almost of 70 pound sin 3 or so  months, wet of the bed every night in floods not just slight accident, drooled and began of tardive issues, I to also had of no monthyly and began of lactating as if were of nursing a baby. they had of me on so much medication could do nothing but sleep most of my entire 24 hour day.

it was still for me undx autism at the time and the symptoms they seen were of all parts of autism but they were of only seeing parts of the whole and not putting all the parts together and thus over medicated as if the more the better and the more the less autistic I would of be to them.

in my of my past mental health records of the late 1990's much of the nurse and doctor notes shout of autism and yet none dx of me of it. was told was mentally ill and mild retardations. some of the things shared odd posture, no eye contact, odd pacing, long bouts of being of non verbal and not responsive and would not begin any task even though verbally told what to do unless one was in my space and began to physically get me to begin through prompts and cues of one to one. rigid notes of need for the same nurse to be in on the clinics, and the odd confused appearance of fear and such and then much also comment on the flat affect of me emotionally. One doctor asked of the husband over my eye contact and the husband shared it has been that way all or our marriage and dating time and that it was not new, the doctor asked of him do you think of that as odd he shared no it is of just her.

but anyways reperidol was of the culprit to me that eventually lead of me to be of locked away to massilon state hospital with very serious mentally ill people.  yes much scary life when autistic and not have a voice.



"Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), which has lost judgments of almost $660 million over the marketing of its antipsychotic drug Risperdal, began a trial today in which Texas is seeking damages of more than $1 billion.

State Attorney General Greg Abbott accused J&J of paying officials to get Risperdal on approved drug lists, marketing it for unapproved uses to children and the elderly, and lying about its effects. The case in state court in Austin was filed by a whistle-blower and joined by the state, which is seeking repayment of Medicaid payments.

Texas is asking for reimbursement of $579 million, said Tom Melsheimer, a lawyer for the whistle-blower. The amount could be tripled by jurors under state law. In addition, jurors will decide the number of violations and set a penalty of up to $10,000 apiece, if the state wins.

....The Texas suit was filed by a whistle-blower, Allen Jones, an ex-investigator for the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General.

Jones probed allegations that the chief pharmacist for the state’s mental health office had received payments from pharmaceutical companies. He sued Texas in 2004, his last year in the Pennsylvania job.

Jones determined in his probe that Janssen had “engaged in a fraudulent scheme that included payments to at least one Texas state official” to ensure that Risperdal was included as a preferred drug in the state’s Texas Medication Algorithm Project, known as TMAP, he said in court papers.

'Janssen had made payments to Texas and other state officials to facilitate the exportation of TMAP to other states, including Pennsylvania,' Jones said. He sued under a Medicaid- fraud law similar to the federal False Claims Act. It allows a whistle-blower to share in any settlement money or damages.

....Texas claims that Janssen and J&J paid four state health officials $340,000 to promote Risperdal, inducing them to breach their duties to the state.

'J&J sent the four leaders of TMAP around the country to promote TMAP, and, in the process, Risperdal,' David Rothman, a state expert, said in a pretrial report.

'They each had to sign consulting agreements with the defendants in which they pledged their fealty to the defendants, to the exclusion of all others, including their employer, the state of Texas,' Tommy Jacks, a lawyer for the state, said at a hearing in February."


"On November 28, the Texas Attorney General is expected to begin a landmark trial against Johnson & Johnson on charges that the pharmaceutical giant 'subverted scientific integrity' by paying off academic psychiatrists and state officials to boost the use of its atypical antipsychotic Risperdal among children and adults in that state....[A] comprehensive report by an expert for the plaintiffs — Dr. David Rothman, a professor of social medicine and history at Columbia University — recently came to my attention, and what amazed me about Rothman’s findings, beyond the malfeasance of academic psychiatrists who sold their scientific integrity for thousands of dollars in speaking fees — was the sheer scope of the ghost-writing campaign that J&J (via its subsidiary, Janssen) embarked on to peddle Risperdal to doctors and patients throughout the country. Rothman cites 12 cases in which Janssen hired ghostwriting contractors to draft positive articles about Risperdal and then found academics willing to put their names on the articles, which were then published in supposedly respected medical journals, like the New England Journal of Medicine and the British Journal of Psychiatry."

Marie-Anne Denayer, M.D.

Risperdal is a drug that I find cited with increasing frequency in the "traditional" medical litterature about autism.
As an adult neurologist I am always at odds with my colleagues psychiatrists who prescribe major neuroleptics for depression and anxiety. Risperdal is one of the newest generation of antipsychotics, the classic drug in that class of psychotropic agents being Haldol. Major Neuroleptics should be reserved to treat those unfortunate individuals who suffer from psychoses, schizophrenia being the most common one.....because major neuroleptics have serious neurological and endocrinological side effects, not only while patients take the drug, but some persist or appear and worsen after the drug has been discontinued
( intractable tardive oro-facial dyskinesias).

My opinion as a physician and a mother, is that they should not be prescribed to suppress behaviors that have a communication intent.

Our kids are not psychotic. They are chronically frustrated by their impaired communication skills. Our job as verbal parents, educators and health professionals, is to OBSERVE, ANALYZE behaviors and make every attempt at understanding what upsets our children.
The other day at Stop and Shop (my daughter's favorite store in the Universe), Stephanie became upset(yelling "Kix, kix", pinching, scratching and kicking) because she could not locate her favorite KIX cereals...the packaging had changed. She checked behind every single box of cereal, to make sure none of HER kind of Kix was hidden. Thank goodness the store manager knowing us (we are hard to miss, we are loud and each have our cart), had set aside an "old" box. I bought one old box(went in Stephanie's cart), one new box(in my cart). Once home, we opened the boxes and once Stephanie realized the inside was the same, all was well. This week's shopping went like a breeze, even if it took us the usual 5 hours( I make her count the fruits, bag, weigh and label them etc...great teaching opportunity, although it gets expensive).

My daughter now 23 has behavioral outbursts, at times violent out of frustration as do all of our kids. The "treatment" is not to prescribe a drug that clouds the mind so much, she will make no attempt at communicating.

Mary Hirzel

Invaluable! Thank you so much Sondra and Kim!!


Thank you, Sondra, for sharing your many valuable first-hand insights. I always appreciate reading what you write.


Is this the same Sondra Williams speaking here at the Autism Society's 40th National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders?

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