For a while, Risperdal seemed to be the solution to a very challenging problem. Young men and boys with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia were finding greater relief from their symptoms than they had experienced with any other medication. In addition to treating these disorders, Risperdal also proved effective at reducing aggressive behavior and irritability in children with autism. Unfortunately, as time passed, some very serious side effects began to appear. The most disturbing of these side effects is the enlargement of male breasts, a condition known as gynecomastia. As troubling reports of serious, and often traumatic, side effects began to rise, so did Risperdal lawsuits.
Since complications including male breast enlargement and problems with sexual function were first reported, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against Risperdal manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Breast enlargement is the result of an increase in levels of prolactin, a hormone responsible for milk production in humans. Risperdal use in boys with autism is linked to gynecomastia at double the rate of boys without autism. These same children are 14 percent more likely to experience sexual dysfunction, linked to Risperdal, as well. If you child has developed any of these side effects, contact a MA injury lawyer.
Substantial Jury Awards
Due to the nature and severity of these side effects, some awards have been substantial. Earlier this year, Andrew Yount, a boy who developed gynecomastia after taking Risperdal, was awarded $70 million by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. According to reports, evidence showed that Janssen manipulated data within Risperdal studies to downplay the risk of gynecomastia in adolescent boys. In fact, the pharmaceutical giant may have known about the link to male breast enlargement as early as 2003, but failed to warn physicians and patients. Had this risk been made public, patients would have had the option to take another drug with no such side effects. If you have developed side effects after taking Risperdal, contact a Boston drug injury lawyer today.
The recent lawsuit mentioned above is not Risperdal’s first run-in with litigation. In 2012, Janssen’s parent company, Johnson & Johnson, settled a Medicaid fraud lawsuit for $158 million. Prosecutors claimed J&J misled the public about Risperdal’s cost, effectiveness, and safety. And in 2011, J&J and Janssen paid more than $300 million in fines for a letter sent to physicians which stated that Risperdal was superior to its competitors, among other violations.
Risperdal is linked to a wide array of side effects, but gynecomastia can be especially traumatic. In addition to physical symptoms, gynecomastia can result in emotional trauma for young boys. In some cases, reconstructive surgery is necessary to reverse male breast enlargement. If your child has suffered from gynecomastia, he may need counseling and therapy to overcome emotional distress. Continue reading