Side Effects of Risperdal, Seroquel, Zyprexa Linked to Kidney Injury: Study

Side effects of a popular class of antipsychotic medications, which includes Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa, may increase the risk of acute kidney injury among elderly patients, according to the findings of new research. 

In a study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found that atypical antipsychotics more than double the risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) and death, and nearly double the risk of hypotension (dangerously low blood pressure) and acute urinary retention.

The drugs already pose a health concern for the elderly patients, because of their overuse in the nursing home setting. Critics have pointed out that the drugs are often used as a form chemical restraints on elderly patients who are considered hard to handle, despite a known increased risk of death associated with use of the medications among the elderly. When nursing homes use them as chemical restraints it is often considered a form of nursing home abuse.

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Risperdal Lawsuits

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In this latest study, researchers specifically looked at the side effects of Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa, conducting a population-based cohort study among adults aged 65 years or older, who had received a new outpatient prescription for one of the medications from 2003 through 2012. The data was then compared with those who did not receive such a prescription. Data on nearly 98,000 elderly antipsychotic users were included in the study.

The findings suggest that the absolute increased risk for acute kidney injury on Risperdal, Zyprexa or Seroquel was 2.12 times higher than was seen among elderly patients who were not prescribed the antipsychotics. The risk of hospitalization was 73% higher.

However, a number of other health risks presented themselves during the study as well. The risk of all-cause mortality was 2.39 times higher for those taking Risperdal, Seroquel or Zyprexa than those who did not, appearing to confirm that the drugs carry an increased risk of death for the elderly. Researchers also found that the risk of hypotension was 1.91 times higher, and the risk of acute urinary retention was 1.98 times higher.

“The findings support current safety concerns about the use of these drugs in older adults,” the researchers concluded.

Risperdal Illegal Marketing

The drug Risperdal has particularly been a subject of concern among elderly patients, after the Department of Justice (DOJ) accused Johnson & Johnson of engaging in a kickback scheme to convince doctors to prescribe Risperdal to elderly nursing home patients, knowing that the drug was being used abusively and that it increased the patients’ risk of death.

In November 2013, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $2.2 billion to the federal government to settle its Risperdal illegal marketing claims.

Investigators say that the illegal marketing led to the unnecessary and risky use of drugs like Risperdal, potentially putting dementia patients’ lives at risk.

The DOJ began investigating Johnson & Johnson’s marketing of Risperdal in 2004, looking into an alleged kickback scheme between the drug maker and Omnicare, the nation’s largest provider of drugs to nursing homes.

In 2009, Omnicare reached a settlement with DOJ over kickback charges. DOJ investigators indicated that Johnson & Johnson paid Omnicare millions to push off-label use of Risperdal to nursing home doctors and hid the kickbacks as data fees, education fees and payments to attend Omnicare meetings.

In January 2010, the DOJ filed a civil False Claims Act complaint against J&J. Johnson & Johnson, which also accused the drug maker of illegally promoting Risperdal for use among children prior to obtaining FDA approval for such use. Concerns have also been raised about the potential side effects of Risperdal use by children increasing the risk of childhood diabetes.


  • KimNovember 29, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    I've taken seroquel for 28 years and my kidney function is down to 27%. I've taken respirdal and zyprexa off and on during most of those years.

  • JaneNovember 7, 2022 at 10:11 am

    I was put on Seroquel a year ago in September. I had insomnia and it helped. However, in the last three months, lab tests showed high blood sugar, and my kidney function was off. I am now off it and have labs again tomorrow.

  • HollyNovember 5, 2022 at 11:35 pm

    Can I be included in the class action if I have acute kidney failure if I was taking Seroquel at the same time

  • JamesJuly 6, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    Long term high dosage seroquel. Acute renal failure established by blood test.

  • LeonieFebruary 22, 2022 at 11:41 am

    I’ve been on for a year and have 2 stone weight gain and my kidney function has consistently got worse each month since I’ve been on it!

  • WendyApril 21, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    I need an attorney for seroquel and against the psychiatrist that wouldn’t help me get off of it and to this day is still calling it in to pharmacy and she knows what it was doing to me. I had to deal with all kinds of problems and I still am and it’s all do to that seroquel

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