Manufactured and marketed by Johnson & Johnson, Risperdal is an atypical antipsychotic medication. It was initially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat symptoms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism. However, Risperdal has resulted in serious health complications, including the enlargement of male breast tissue, a condition known as gynecomastia.
If you or a loved one have suffered from gynecomastia or other adverse side effects while taking Risperdal, the Johnson & Vines Law Firm to learn whether you are able to pursue a claim against Johnson & Johnson and seek damages for your injuries.
Risperdal, or risperidone, is typically prescribed to treat schizoaffective disorder, the manic and mixed states of bipolar disorder, autism and schizophrenia. However, young men who use Risperdal may be at an increased risk of suffering from gynecomastia, a condition in which the male patient develops breasts. While gynecomastia is not a life-threatening condition, it may cause lasting psycho-social harm due to the potential for severe embarrassment and mental anguish. Surgery may be necessary to remove the affected tissues. Additionally, Risperdal may increase prolactin levels in the body, or the hormone that is released to stimulate breast growth and milk production.
Risperdal was first approved to treat symptoms of psychiatric disorders in 1993, although Johnson & Johnson allegedly attempted to promote the medication for elderly patients living with dementia. Although the manufacturer was allegedly rejected in these attempts several times, plaintiffs and their Risperdal attorneys assert that Johnson & Johnson continued to pursue the marketing practices, maintaining that Risperdal could address several symptoms that made treating these patients difficult, including hostility, agitation, confusion and impulsiveness.
A study published in 2006 in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that young boys taking Risperdal to treat psychotic symptoms were at an increased risk of higher prolactin levels that would ultimately result in gynecomastia and/or galactorrhea. Since the long-term effects of hyperprolactinemia resulting from antipsychotic use have not yet been thoroughly studied, particularly in terms of osteopenia, growth, pubertal delay and infertility, medical experts state that Risperdal should only be prescribed with caution to children and adolescents.
Risperdal Side Effects
According to plaintiffs filing lawsuits with help from a Risperdal attorney, the drug has been linked to several health complications, including:
- Gynecomastia (growth of male breasts)
- Bone loss (demineralization)
- Galactorrhea (milk production from the breasts)
- Diabetes, high blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movement disorder)
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Pituitary tumors
- Weight gain
- Cardiac complications such as heart attack or irregular heart rhythm
Plaintiffs File Risperdal Lawsuits
Court documents indicate that Johnson & Johnson is currently facing over 420 Risperdal lawsuits in which plaintiffs allege that Risperdal caused injuries and complications. Additionally, the company has reportedly paid billions of dollars to settle federal and state government claims that it illegally marketed the product and other medications for unapproved uses. If you or a loved one feel you have a claim, contact a Risperdal attorney to learn more about filing your own lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Johnson & Johnson settled a lawsuit in September 2012 in which the plaintiff alleged that Risperdal caused gynecomastia. Most recently, however, the manufacturer has agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion in criminal and civil fines to settle claims that it marketed the medication to older adults, children and patients with development disabilities – individuals for whom Risperdal was not intended.
The agreement was announced on November 4, 2013 and, at the time, was the third-largest settlement involving a drug manufacturer in U.S. history. It is also part of a decade-long effort by the U.S. government to hold the manufacturer responsible for illegally marketing the product as a means to control patients with dementia in nursing homes and young children with certain behavioral disabilities.
Lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson by Risperdal attorneys assert that Risperdal did not perform as the company had promised, and that Johnson & Johnson recklessly put the health of young children, the disabled and the elderly at risk. Additionally, those working with a Risperdal attorney claim that Risperdal use led to gynecomastia and other serious complications. Plaintiffs allege that, although the manufacturer did not receive FDA approval to market Risperdal to children until 2006, the company attempted to do so several years prior.
Contact a Risperdal Attorney to Learn about Your Rights
If you or someone you love experienced serious complications or side effects during or following a Risperdal treatment, a Risperdal attorney can help. At the Johnson & Vines Law Firm, our attorneys can provide you with a free case evaluation to help you determine if you have a claim. We can answer your questions and concerns and work to help you seek the compensation to which you may be entitled.