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Published on 24 August 2007

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Child schizophrenia drug approved

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said children in the USA can be given a popular adult psychiatric drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The ruling allows Risperdal (risperidone) to be given to teenagers aged 13 to 17 who suffer from schizophrenia.

And children aged between 10 and 17 can be given the drug to combat bipolar disorder.

The medication was initially approved last autumn in the USA for treating irritability in autism.

Risperdal is manufactured by Janssen, which is based New Jersey, and is the third biggest selling antipsychotic drug in the USA.

It racked up sales of $2.3bn (£1.1bn) in 2005, according to the pharmaceutical data company IMS Health.

Janssen was founded in 1953 by Dr Paul Janssen, a leading Belgian researcher, pharmacologist and general practitioner.

The FDA said there has been no approved drug for the treatment of schizophrenia in youths until now, and only lithium is currently approved for the treatment of bipolar disorder in adolescents.

The regulator added that the dose approved for youths is slightly lower than the amount recommended to be given to adults.

Side-effects can include drowsiness, fatigue, increase in appetite, anxiety, nausea, dizziness, dry mouth and a rash.

Copyright © PA Business 2007

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