Risperdal Lawsuits Allege Gynecomastia
Risperdal maker Johnson & Johnson faces significant legal action involving its blockbuster antipsychotic medication Risperdal, over claims that the drug company failed to warn patients about the side effects potentially associated with the medication, and that it illegally marketed Risperdal for off-label, unapproved uses. According to mounting research, Risperdal, an antipsychotic medication approved to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other psychiatric disorders, may actually increase a patient’s risk of developing life-altering side effects, including stroke, heart attack, tardive dyskinesia, hyperglycemia, hypersosmolar coma, diabetes and gynecomastia, or male breast growth. In light of this side effect risk, product liability attorneys across the country are investigating claims filed on behalf of Risperdal users who allege that they suffered one or more side effects while taking the antipsychotic medication.
Settlements in Risperdal Cases
In September 2012, Johnson & Johnson settled the first Risperdal lawsuit to go to trial over male breast growth, and the settlement came on the very first day of the trial in Pennsylvania state court. The plaintiff in the case was 21-year-old Aaron Banks, who claimed in his lawsuit that his Risperdal use caused him to suffer gynecomastia side effects, a condition characterized by abnormal breast growth in males. In addition, Banks alleged that he suffered psychological trauma caused by the male breast growth, claims that a recent gynecomastia study has supported. According to the research, even mild breast growth among boys can have serious psychological side effects, possibly impacting the boys’ self-esteem, mental health and social functioning.
Risperdal Lawsuits Filed Against J&J
According to a regulatory filing by Johnson & Johnson in August 2012, there are approximately 420 additional Risperdal lawsuits similar to Banks’ claim that allege personal injury caused by the antipsychotic medication. Of those 420, roughly 130 involve claims that Risperdal caused boys and young men to suffer gynecomastia, or male breast growth. According to Banks’ attorney, who has filed about 120 similar lawsuits against Risperdal maker Johnson & Johnson, the potential for the antipsychotic to cause male breast growth is a “disaster,” resulting in some boys growing breasts as large as “D” cups. In his lawsuit, Aaron Banks noted that his breast growth occurred while taking Risperdal from 1999 and 2004, beginning when he was nine years old, even though the antipsychotic was not approved for use in children at that time.
Attorneys for Risperdal Claims
The first Risperdal and gynecomastia link was established back in 1999, when the journal Psychopharmacology published a study suggesting that Risperdal patients may experience abnormal breast growth when taking the drug in combination with the antidepressat Prozac. Since then, a number of other studies have identified Risperdal use as a risk factor for male breast growth, suggesting that Risperdal may increase levels of prolactin, a hormone that regulates breast growth in milk production. According to the research, this may cause spontaneous milk production in women, but can lead to abnormal breast growth in men. As more information about the risk of side effects with Risperdal use comes to light, lawyers nationwide are representing Americans who used the antipsychotic medication and have since experienced gynecomastia.
Million Dollar Lawsuits and Hiring a Risperdal Attorney
Risperidone is the generic equivalent of the popular atypical antipsychotic drug Risperdal, which first entered the market in the United States in 1993. Since its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), risperidone has been widely prescribed by doctors throughout the United States to patients struggling with a variety of mental disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and acute mania associated with autistic disorders. Despite its growing popularity, however, mounting research has linked risperidone and its brand-name Risperdal to life-altering side effects in patients, including heart attack, diabetes and a condition known as gynecomastia, which is characterized by abnormal breast growth in boys and young men. Despite these side effect risks, risperidone remains one of the top-selling antipsychotic medications in the country.
Risperidone Prescribed to Boys
A major concern about the risks of Risperdal and its generic equivalent risperidone is that the antipsychotic medication may cause serious side effects in boys, including male breast growth. The condition, known as gynecomastia, occurs when young boys and adolescent males experience an abnormal enlargement of glandular breast tissue. Among Risperdal users, male breast growth is believed to be caused by elevated levels of prolactin, which is a hormone that regulates breast growth in milk production. According to current research, risperidone patients may have an increased risk of suffering male breast growth side effects that persist for up to two years, and may also result in psychological side effects affecting their self-esteem and emotional health.
Side Effects of Generic Risperdal
The potential connection between risperidone and male breast growth was first discovered by researchers in 1999, and numerous studies have since identified Risperdal use as a potential risk factor for a range of other complications as well. In addition to gynecomastia, patients taking the antipsychotic Risperdal or its generic risperidone may have an increased risk of suffering additional side effects, including the following:
- Heart attack
- Tardive dyskinesia
- Hyperosmolar coma
Risperidone Lawsuits Settled by J&J
As new information comes to light about the side effects potentially linked to Risperdal and risperidone, consumers throughout the United States who believe they have been adversely affected by the antipsychotic have filed product liability lawsuits against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. A landmark settlement came in September 2012, when Johnson & Johnson settled the first Risperdal lawsuit to go to trial over male breast growth side effects, with the settlement coming on the very first day of the trial. In addition to individual claims filed on behalf of former risperidone users, Johnson & Johnson has also settled a number of other lawsuits filed against the company overs its Risperdal marketing and sales practices. In August 2012, the drug company agreed to pay $181 million to settle claims by 36 states that Johnson & Johnson improperly marketed and advertised Risperdal, in the largest muli-state consumer protection drug settlement in history.
Hiring a Lawyer for Risperdal Side Effects
According to a regulatory filing by Risperdal maker J&J in August 2012, there have been at least 420 lawsuits filed over side effects related to the atypical antipsychotic, 130 of which have involved claims that Risperdal (risperidone) caused boys and young men to suffer abnormal breast growth complications. In light of the risk of side effects associated with risperidone and its brand-name counterpart, product liability lawyers across the country are investigating claims filed on behalf of patients who believe they have been harmed by the antipsychotic medication. If you have experienced gynecomastia or another serious side effect, and you believe the antipsychotic risperidone to be the cause, consult a reputable attorney in your area for legal help. You may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturing company, in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering.