Risperdal is an atypical antipsychotic drug that is used to treat various disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, Risperdal has been linked to breast development in young boys, a condition known as gynecomastia. Recently, a former sales manager for Johnson & Johnson reported that the pharmaceutical giant didn’t wait for FDA approval before marketing the drug for use in children.
The Link Between Risperdal and Gynecomastia
Some experts believe that Risperdal increases levels of a hormone called prolactin, which is responsible for breast development in women. When young men develop gynecomastia, they may experience any combination of breast tissue development, nipple discharge, and breast pain. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, the generic of Risperdal “administered to adolescents at doses commonly used for the treatment of psychotic symptoms can strongly increase prolactin levels, with clinical consequences such as gynecomastia.” The study went on to say that because effects of long-term use are not well known, the drug should only be prescribed to adolescents if the benefits significantly outweigh the risks.
In addition to pain and discomfort, breast development in boys can cause severe emotional trauma. For this reason, many physicians recommend that young males suffering from gynecomastia undergo reconstructive surgery. While liposuction can help mild cases, more severe cases have required a mastectomy.
Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson
Several lawsuits have been brought against Johnson & Johnson, claiming the pharmaceutical company continued marketing Risperdal even after it knew the safety risks. The former sales manager claimed that Johnson & Johnson began training sales staff to market the drug to pediatricians despite approval for any use in children at that time. The company is also accused of paying doctors, and offering them various other incentives to promote Risperdal.
In addition to the above allegations, Kentucky’s attorney general announced a lawsuit in 2012, claiming that Johnson & Johnson hid potentially dangerous side effects of the drug, including weight gain, stroke, diabetes, and gynecomastia. In August of the same year, the pharmaceutical company settled with the involved states for $181 million. They also settled for $159 million with Texas and $5.9 million with Montana. At least 130 of the lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson allege that Risperdal caused male adolescents to develop breasts.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Prescription Injury Attorneys
If your child has suffered from gynecomastia or any other side-effects as a result of Risperdal use, you may be entitled to compensation for surgical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other associated costs. Altman & Altman LLP has an impressive record of obtaining compensation for clients who have been the victim of prescription injuries. Our knowledgeable personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys have been serving Massachusetts for nearly 50 years. We will work closely with you to examine the details of your case and formulate the most effective strategy for your situation. Our skilled, compassionate legal team will fight to protect your rights and recover your losses so that you can move on with your life. Contact Altman & Altman LLP today for a free and confidential consultation.