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In politics, questions about a person’s mental state and how it may affect their ability to govern isn’t anything new.
Days after Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced her bid to run for president in 2020, a claim started to go around saying she takes medication that treats disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
A recent Facebook post shared on a page belonging to David Zublick, a conservative news personality, claimed that "according to sources Senator Elizabeth Warren has been on Risperdal since first being prescribed the drug in 2011. Risperdal is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability caused by autism.....developing."
The Jan. 1 post, which was shared 580 times in six days, was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The post contains no sources or evidence. No other details have been posted to Zublick’s page since then. Zublick also did not respond to a request to provide documentation to back up his claim.
We inquired with Twitter as to why the tweet was removed from the site, but did not get an immediate response.
When we searched Twitter and Facebook to see if there had ever been any earlier tweets or posts linking Warren with the drug, we found only one other mention: a tweet from Dec. 31 from an account called "Gumlegs" (which was what early 20th Century comedian W.C. Fields called wheelchair-bound Democratic Party leader President Franklin D. Roosevelt).
The Gumlegs tweet uses the same wording as Zublick and Anonamis6, stating that "according to sources" Warren has been taking the drug since 2011. But Gumlegs’ tweet is made in response to a clip of a Fox News interview with President Donald Trump about Warren’s announcement that she plans to run for president. In the interview, when asked if Trump believes Warren could win the presidency, Trump says "you’d have to ask her psychiatrist."
Warren’s campaign told PolitiFact she is not taking the medication.
"She has never been prescribed, nor has she ever taken Risperdal," spokesperson Kristen Orthman said.
The medication is listed as an antipsychotic that treats certain mental-mood disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and irritability associated with autistic disorder.
"Risperidone (the drug’s generic name) belongs to a class of drugs called atypical antipsychotics. It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances in the brain," according to WebMD.
A Facebook post claims Warren has been taking the medication Risperdal "since first being prescribed the drug in 2011." It also says that the medication treats ailments such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
There has been no documentation or evidence offered to suggest this is true, and seems to stem from a comment Trump made suggesting Warren has a psychiatrist. Warren’s campaign also says she has never been prescribed the medication.
This post lacks supporting evidence. We rate it False.
Facebook post, Jan. 1, 2019
Anonymous Conservative, "News Briefs 1/3/2019" blog post, Jan. 3, 2019
Twitter, @Gumlegs tweet, Dec. 31, 2018
WebMD, Risperdal, Accessed Jan. 3, 2019
Email interview, Kristen Orthman, spokesperson for Elizabeth Warren, Jan. 4, 2019
Health and Human Services, The HIPAA Privacy Rule, Accessed Jan. 7, 2019
YouTube, Trump Fox News interview, Dec. 31, 2018
Politico, Washington’s Growing Obsession: The 25th Amendment, Jan. 3, 2018
Psychology Today, The Elephant in the Room: It’s Time We Talked Openly About Donald Trump’s Mental Health, Feb. 28, 2017
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