Risperdal Lawsuits Allege Breast Growth - Consumer Justice

Risperdal Breast Growth Lawsuit

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What is Risperdal

A popular antipsychotic medication commonly prescribed to patients suffering from schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.

Risperdal, also known by its generic name risperidone, is a powerful antipsychotic drug manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary. The drug is commonly used to treat psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia, the mixed and manic states associated with bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and irritability in individuals with autism. Known as an “atypical” antipsychotic drug, Risperdal targets serotonin in addition to dopamine, which may be why the medication is seen as more effective than traditional antipsychotics at reducing psychiatric symptoms. Risperdal was initially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993 for the treatment of psychotic disorders, although the agency later approved the antipsychotic for additional uses.

Potential Side Effects Leading to a Risperdal Injury Lawsuit

The safety of J&J’s blockbuster antipsychotic drug has been questioned recently, amid reports suggesting that Risperdal may lead to enlarged breasts in men, a condition commonly known as gynecomastia. Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts in men, sometimes unevenly, and, while it may not pose any serious health risks for patients, experts have suggested that the condition can cause emotional or psychological trauma. In addition to male breast growth, patients taking the antipsychotic drug Risperdal may be at risk for the following side effects:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Movement disorders
  • Gynecomastia
  • Tardive dyskinesia

Link Between Risperdal and Male Breast Growth

According to health experts, Risperdal use may result in increased levels of prolactin, a hormone that regulates breast growth in milk production. In women, this can cause spontaneous milk production, while in men, it can lead to breast growth side effects. The potential connection between J&J’s Risperdal antipsychotic and male breast growth was first identified in 1999, when the journal Psychopharmacology published research linking Risperdal and gynecomastia when used with the antidepressant drug Prozac. In 2006, another study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology indicated that prolactin levels can increase dramatically when Risperdal is administered to adolescents. In 2009, another study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology suggested that elevated prolactin levels linked to Risperdal use persisted for up to two years.

Lawsuits Against Risperdal for Gynecomastia, Heart Attack and Other Side Effects

Research has shown that Risperdal may increase levels of prolactin, a hormone in the body that causes the enlargement of breast tissue. Many man who experienced abnormal breast growth after taking Risperdal have pursued legal action against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals as a result of their injuries. The following are some of the most recent lawsuits brought over Risperdal breast growth and other side effects:

January 2012 – A whistleblower lawsuit in Texas results in a $158 million settlement from Johnson & Johnson.

September 2012 – J&J agrees to settle a Risperdal breast growth lawsuit filed by a young man who suffered gynecomastia side effects after taking the antipsychotic drug as a child.

November 4, 2013 – Johnson & Johnson agree to pay $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil fines over the company’s illegal marketing of Risperdal for off-label uses not approved by the FDA.

November 13, 2013 – Evidence emerges suggesting that J&J and Janssen Pharmaceuticals intentionally withheld information from clinical trials regarding a risk of Risperdal side effects.

March 11, 2014 – J&J and Janssen agree to pay $5.9 million to resolve a Risperdal lawsuit filed by Montana’s state attorney general, Tim Fox, who accused the drug companies of engaging in misleading and illegal Risperdal marketing practices.

March 20, 2014 – The Arkansas Supreme Court rejects a $1.2 billion judgement against J&J for illegally marketing Risperdal for off-label uses.

May 14, 2014 – The Pennsylvania judge presiding over more than 500 Risperdal lawsuits bans plaintiffs from seeking punitive damages from J&J and Janssen.

June 24, 2014 – J&J faces a Risperdal lawsuit filed by a 27-year-old man who experienced significant breast growth that required a double mastectomy for removal.

December 18, 2014 – More than 1,000 Risperdal lawsuits have been filed against J&J and Janssen, including one case involving a boy from Louisiana who was diagnosed with gynecomastia after taking Risperdal as a child.

January 27, 2015 – A doctor who prescribed Risperdal to a child who suffered male breast growth testifies that he would have reevaluated his decision if he knew about the risk of gynecomastia from Risperdal treatment.

January 30, 2015 – Dr. David Kessler, pediatrician and former commissioner of the FDA, testifies in trial that J&J failed to provide doctors with adequate warnings about the risk of Risperdal breast growth side effects.

February 12, 2015 – J&J faces a Risperdal lawsuit filed by a man who was prescribed the antipsychotic as a child and subsequently developed enlarged breasts.

March 18, 2015 – A Philadelphia jury orders J&J to pay $2.5 million to a 22-year-old autistic man who developed size 46DD breasts after taking Risperdal off-label as a child.

May 27, 2015 – J&J settles a Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuit just hours into opening arguments.

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