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FDA Issues Complete Response Letter for Risperdal Consta for the Adjunctive Maintenance Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

TITUSVILLE, N.J., February 10, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C. (J&JPRD) announced today that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked for additional information regarding the company's supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for RISPERDAL CONSTA(R) (risperidone) Long-Acting Injection. The sNDA, submitted in April 2008, sought approval for RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) for adjunctive maintenance treatment to delay the occurrence of mood episodes in patients with bipolar disorder who relapsed frequently.

The Agency's complete response outlined questions that need to be addressed prior to granting approval for the new indication, but did not request additional studies.

J&JPRD is currently evaluating the FDA's complete response letter and will work with the Agency to resolve any outstanding questions.

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy and ability to function. It is often characterized by debilitating mood swings from extreme highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression), and affects 5.7 million, or 2.6 percent, of the American adult population in any given year.(1)

RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) is marketed in the U.S. by Janssen(R), Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and manufactured by Alkermes, Inc. RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) was initially approved for the treatment of schizophrenia in the U.S. in 2003 and is registered in more than 80 countries worldwide. Using Alkermes' proprietary Medisorb(R) drug-delivery technology, the RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) formulation encapsulates risperidone in microspheres made of a biodegradable polymer, which are suspended in a water-based solution and injected into the muscle. Laboratory and clinical research has shown that the microspheres gradually degrade at a set rate to provide therapeutic blood levels of the drug in the bloodstream for an extended period. The polymer from which the microspheres are made breaks down into two naturally occurring compounds that are then eliminated by the body.

Janssen, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Titusville, N.J., is the only pharmaceutical company in the U.S. dedicated solely to mental health. The company currently markets prescription medications for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar mania, and irritability associated with autistic disorder. For more information about Janssen, visit http://www.janssen.com. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.

RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) (risperidone) is used for the treatment of schizophrenia.

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) is a rare and potentially fatal side effect reported with RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) and similar medicines. Call your doctor immediately if the person being treated develops symptoms such as high fever; stiff muscles; shaking; confusion; sweating; changes in pulse, heart rate, or blood pressure; or muscle pain and weakness. Treatment should be stopped if the person being treated has NMS.

Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) is a serious, sometimes permanent side effect reported with RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) and similar medications. TD includes uncontrollable movements of the face, tongue, and other parts of the body. The risk of developing TD and the chance that it will become permanent is thought to increase with the length of therapy and the overall dose taken by the patient. This condition can develop after a brief period of therapy at low doses, although this is much less common. There is no known treatment for TD, but it may go away partially or completely if therapy is stopped.

High blood sugar and diabetes have been reported with RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) and similar medications. If the person being treated has diabetes or risk factors such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes, blood sugar testing should be performed at the beginning and throughout treatment with RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R). Complications of diabetes can be serious and even life threatening. If signs of high blood sugar or diabetes develop, such as being thirsty all the time, going to the bathroom a lot, or feeling weak or hungry, contact your doctor.

RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) and similar medications can raise the blood levels of a hormone known as prolactin, causing a condition known as hyperprolactinemia. Blood levels of prolactin remain elevated with continued use. Some side effects seen with these medications include the absence of a menstrual period; breasts producing milk; the development of breasts by males; and the inability to achieve an erection. The connection between prolactin levels and side effects is unknown.

Some people taking RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) may feel faint or lightheaded when they stand up or sit up too quickly. By standing up or sitting up slowly and following your healthcare professional's dosing instructions, this side effect can be reduced or it may go away over time.

RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) may affect your alertness or driving ability; therefore, do not drive or operate machinery before talking to your healthcare professional.

RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) should be used cautiously in people with a seizure disorder, who have had seizures in the past, or who have conditions that increase their risk for seizures.

Extrapyramidal Symptoms (EPS) are usually persistent movement disorders or muscle disturbances, such as restlessness, tremors, and muscle stiffness. If you observe any of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare professional.

Inform your healthcare professional if you become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy with RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R). Caution should be exercised when RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) is administered to a nursing woman.

RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) may make you more sensitive to heat. You may have trouble cooling off, or be more likely to become dehydrated, so take care when exercising or when doing things that make you warm.

Some medications interact with RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R). Please inform your healthcare professional of any medications or supplements that you are taking. Avoid alcohol while on RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R).

In a study of people taking RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R), the most common side effects in the treatment of schizophrenia were headache, tremors, dizziness, restlessness, tiredness, constipation, indigestion, sleepiness, weight gain, pain in the limbs, and dry mouth.

If you have any questions about RISPERDAL(R) CONSTA(R) or your therapy, talk with your doctor.

(This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from J&JPRD's expectations and projections. Risks and uncertainties include general industry conditions and competition; economic conditions, such as interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; technological advances and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approvals; domestic and foreign health care reforms and governmental laws and regulations; and trends toward health care cost containment. A further list and description of these risks, uncertainties and other factors can be found in Exhibit 99 of Johnson & Johnson's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 30, 2007. Copies of this Form 10-K, as well as subsequent filings, are available online at www.sec.gov, www.jnj.com or on request from Johnson & Johnson. J&JPRD does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events or developments.)

(1) Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). , 2005 Jun; 62(6):617-27.

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Posted: February 2009


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