Doctors know this drug increases suicide risk, but keep prescribing it anyway
| Popular priest dead after taking mood disorder med
| New York Post – The body of the Rev. Patrick Burns, 57, was found a Dec. 14 in the rectory at Holy Name of Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn, NY.
He had slash marks on his left wrist, and an empty bottle of the antipsychotic drug Risperidone was discovered in the room, sources said. [Risperidone is a prescription drug intended to treat mood disorders. Details below. – Ed.]
Police also found a 16-page suicide note.
“I’m shocked and amazed,” the church’s music director told The Post on Sunday. “I would never think he did this.”
Police discovered the dead priest after the church’s pastor, the Rev. Larry Ryan, requested a wellness check on him, sources said.
Burns struggled with health issues in the past. He spent an unspecified amount of time away from the pulpit on medical leave at one point, according to an obituary in The Tablet magazine. Read more.
Risperidone warning – “increased risk of suicide”
Risperidone, sold under the trade name Risperdal among others, is an antipsychotic medication.
It is mainly used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability in people with autism. It is taken either by mouth or by injection into a muscle. The injectable version is long-acting and lasts for about two weeks.
Common side effects include movement problems, sleepiness, dizziness, trouble seeing, constipation, and increased weight.
Serious side effects may include the potentially permanent movement disorder tardive dyskinesia, as well as neuroleptic malignant syndrome, an increased risk of suicide (emphasis added), and high blood sugar levels.
In older people with psychosis as a result of dementia, it may increase the risk of dying (emphasis added). It is unclear if it is safe for use in pregnancy
Risperidone is an atypical antipsychotic. Its mechanism of action is not entirely clear, but is believed to be related to its action as a dopamine antagonist and serotonin antagonist.
Study of risperidone began in the late 1980s and it was approved for sale in the United States in 1993. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.
It is available as a generic medication. The wholesale price in the developing world is between 0.01 and 0.60 USD per day as of 2014. The cost for a typical month of medication in the United States is between 100 and 200 USD as of 2015. [Thus the profit margin on this deadly drug in the U.S. is enormous. – Ed.]
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