21 users of schizophrenia drug dead

Kyodo

The death toll among people who have taken the schizophrenia drug Xeplion has climbed to 21, prompting the health ministry on Thursday to order the manufacturer to warn patients about its risks. The death toll was reportedly 17 on April 10.

Although a causal link between Xeplion and the deaths has not been established, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry ordered Janssen Pharmaceutical K.K., a unit of the U.S.-based Johnson & Johnson group, to revise its package insert, considering the unusually high number of deaths since the drug’s recent release.

An estimated 10,900 patients have been prescribed Xeplion since the drug was released last November, the ministry said.

Xeplion, which is injected, uses paliperidone palmitate to control symptoms of schizophrenia in adult patients. The chemical remains in the body for at least four months, it said.

To prevent further deaths, Janssen Pharmaceutical said it has instructed doctors to stay alert and refrain from prescribing the drug to patients whose treatment requires the use of more than one anti-psychotic medication.

While some of the 21 on Xeplion died from cardiac infarction or pneumonia, the cause of the other deaths hasn’t been determined. All died within three to 107 days of the first injection.

The reports also said some of the 21 patients were taking other anti-psychotic medications before trying Xeplion.

In Japan, the substance is injected every four weeks because it affects the body slowly over a few weeks.

Among its most frequently reported side effects are insomnia, headaches, respiratory tract infection, parkinsonism, increased weight, nausea, muscle and bone pain, tachycardia, tremors, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental illness that usually appears in late adolescence. Symptoms include disorganized thinking and speech, hallucinations, suspiciousness and delusions. In Japan, schizophrenia is the second-most prevalent mental disease after depression. About 800,000 people are undergoing treatment for the illness, the ministry said.

  • june conway beeby

    Another reason here for governments to increase funds for cause and cure research into schizophrenia and related diseases of the brain. Science has invested too much time on symptom reduction. Let us go directly to the research that could eradicate these chronic diseases. Symptom medication research has never done the job of eliminating the root cause of brain diseases. And families know that.
    That’s why they want science to follow this trail, with the kind of research that has already shown that these are biological diseases of the brain– age old microbial infestations that animals give to humans. Give us cure-oriented scientific research to remove these cruel scourges from the lives of those we love.

    Recent news events have shown us the abject misery these infections bring to lives of families and friends.