Zyprexa like Risperdal and Seroquel, has been associated with serious side effects in patients, especially those who have already been diagnosed with diabetes. Knowledge of the potential dangers of Zyprexa were discovered as a result of a series of findings beginning in 2001 when the FDA was alerted to 19 case reports of diabetes associated with the drug. One of these cases resulted in a patient's death due to necrotizing pancreatitis, a very serious condition in which cells in the pancreas die. An emergency report issued by the Japanese Health and Welfare Ministry in April of 2002 concerning the side effects of Zyprexa noted that there had been two deaths of patients who had diabetes prior to taking the anti-psychotic medication. It also reported that there had been seven other patients who lost consciousness or slipped into comas after taking the drug. In April of 2003, the Wall Street Journal ran a front page article on Zyprexa and the other Atypical Antipsychotics with respect to their connection to cases of Type 2 diabetes ( sometimes called "adult onset diabetes"). The authors of the Wall Street Journal article estimated that somewhere around 11 million people have taken Zyprexa. An eight-year study found that nearly 300 patients developed diabetes, 75 became seriously ill, and 23 died. In addition to the Wall Street Journal article, five lawsuits were filed against Eli Lilly and Co. accusing the company of failing to warn Zyprexa patients of the risk that Zyprexa caused the patients' diabetes. The plaintiffs are seeking damages of up to $35 million. In order to confront the charges, Lilly sponsored two patient trials and opened its files of Zyprexa patients to an outside researcher to study the issue. The lawsuits claim that Lilly knew that the product was dangerous and unsafe and that it never took the necessary steps to provide this critical information to medical professionals or patients. Finally, in May of 2003 forty reports of hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar), diabetes mellitus, or exacerbation of diabetes were received in the UK including one which proved to be fatal. In March of 2004, Eli Lilly ( the company that markets Zyprexa in the United States) sent a so call "Dear Doctor Letter" to thousands of physicians who were likely to use Zyprexa. The letter indicated that Lilly was adding a warning statement to the Zyprexa label regarding the increased risk of hyperglycemia and diabetes in people taking Zyprexa and similar medicines. Risperdal (Risperidone) Lawsuit Risperdal, which is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, is another member of the family of drugs knows as Atypical Antipsychotics. Risperdal has been linked to diabetes and, more specifically, Type 2 Diabetes. (Type 2 Diabetes is sometimes called adult-onset diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke) Other serious side effects, however, include Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), Tardive Dyskinesia, stroke or stroke-like events, and even death. (NMS is a potentially fatal syndrome involving muscle rigidity, and irregular blood pressure and pulse). Tardive Dyskinesia is a central nervous system disorder, which results in involuntary movement of the limbs and twitching of the face and tongue.) Although it is primarily used for treating schizophrenia, Risperdal is also used to control other behavioral disorders in elderly patients ( such as nursing home patients) who have delusions, aggression, and anxiety as is often seen in patients with Alzheimer's disease and/or dementia. Risperdal has also been under scrutiny for causing severe side effects and adverse reactions mentioned above. Although Risperdal was approved by the FDA in 1994, it took some time before the dangerous side effects were completely identified though a series of studies. On April 11th of 2003 Johnson & Johnson sent "Dear Doctor" letters to thousands of physicians in the United States advising them of the possible risk of stroke among elderly patients taking Risperdal. The letter indicated that Johnson and Johnson had modified the Risperdal label so that practitioners were aware that: … " there was a significantly higher incidence of cerebrovascular adverse events in patients treated with risperidone compared to patients treated with placebo. RISPERDAL has not been shown to be safe or effective in the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis. This came after Johnson & Johnson had received 37 reports of stroke or related events like blood clots or hemorrhages, including 16 deaths. As a result of these findings, Johnson & Johnson updated the warning label on Risperdal to include more specific information about strokes in the elderly. At this time it became apparent that Risperdal should not be used to treat dementia because there is no evidence that it is safe or effective in that capacity. Risperdal has also been known to cause irregular headaches, muscle weakness and spasms, high fever, constipation, weight gain, and headaches. People on Risperdal who have any or all of these side effects should contact their doctor and discuss these problems with their doctor because these conditions may be warning signs of serious illness. Seroquel (Quetiapine Fumarate ) Lawsuit Seroquel, manufactured by AstraZeneca, is an oral medication used to manage the symptoms associated with schizophrenia such as delusions, thought disorder, hallucinations, social withdrawal, lack of energy, apathy, and reduced ability to express emotion. The drug, which was approved by the FDA for marketing in 1997, affects a broad range of neurotransmitter receptors, including serotonin receptors. It is also sometimes used to treat the mania associated with bipolar disorder. News of Seroquel's side effects and emerged as a result of observational data released at a medical conference in Philadelphia which showed that patients on Seroquel had 3.34 times as many cases of diabetes as those on older antipsychotics such as haldoperidol. Towards the end of August, 2003, news of side effects associated with Seroquel became widely publicized and caused the value of AstraZeneca's stock to decrease by almost one percent. Soon after, the law firms of Parker & Waichman and Aylstock, Witkens & Sasser announced that a class action lawsuit had been commenced in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida on behalf of all those who had used Seroquel. This lawsuit contends that AstraZeneca was aware that Seroquel was associated with a high occurrence of diabetes, but they did not take steps to adequately warn doctors or patients in the United States of this potential risk. The pending lawsuit seeks statutory, exemplary and punitive financial damages from AstraZeneca for their alleged disregard of the well being and health of the plaintiffs and class members (the people who took Seroquel and subsequently developed diabetes). In addition, the lawsuit also alleges that AstraZeneca aggressively marketed and promoted Seroquel for "off label" use that was beyond its FDA approved indications at the time in question. AstraZeneca is accused of unfairly offering incentives to doctors and other medical professionals in an effort to increase the number of Seroquel prescriptions that were written. The Seroquel class action lawsuit seeks to establish a medical monitoring fund to pay for anyone who has taken Seroquel so that they can be tested for diabetes and other blood sugar disorders. On January 30th, 2004, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, the company that markets Seroquel in the United States sent a "Dear Doctor" letter to thousands of doctors throughout the USA. The letter indicated that: "...Hyperglycemia, in some cases extreme and associated with ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar coma or death, has been reported in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics, including Seroquel."