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Articles Posted in Risperdal

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.

Emotional Trauma

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

We are fortunate to live in a time when medical technology and pharmaceuticals can save us from injuries and illnesses that would have killed us a half century ago. Medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes were death sentences in the not-so-distant past. Today, with prescription drugs, and certain diet and lifestyle changes, patients with these conditions can live long, healthy lives. Unfortunately, prescription drugs can also be harmful, even fatal.

Most medications have side effects, and some of these side effects can be especially dangerous. When pharmaceutical companies fail to warn about side effects, or neglect to perform proper testing on drugs before marketing them for certain uses, it can result in injury and death. Contact a Boston Drug Injury Lawyer Today.

Top 5 Dangerous Drugs

Most prescription drugs can be dangerous if used incorrectly. However, some drugs are associated with a significantly higher risk of injury and death. Below are the top 5 drugs currently involved in litigation for their link to deadly side effects.

  1. Invokamet: Designed to treat patients with type 2 diabetes, Invokamet is linked to multiple serious side effects. The drug is successful at managing insulin levels in patients by regulating the levels of glucose released by the liver. However, Invokament use can also cause urinary tract infections, nausea and vomiting, as well as an increased risk of bone fractures.
  1. Onglyza: Also prescribed for patients with type 2 diabetes, Onglyza is linked to even more serious side effects than Invokamet. In fact, the FDA has recently released a warning that medicines like Onglyza “may increase the risk of heart failure, particularly in patients who already have heart or kidney disease.”
  1. Risperdal: In patients with bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism, Risperdal may reduce aggressive behaviors. Unfortunately, it is also linked to gynecomastia, a condition that results in breast enlargement in male patients. Lawsuits allege that Risperdal manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, failed to warn patients and physicians about the risk of gynecomastia. Furthermore, the drug wasn’t even approved for use in adolescents, the group most affected by side effects. As a result, Johnson & Johnson recently paid $70M in penalties, fines, and victim compensation.
  1. Xarelto: Anticoagulants (blood thinners) have been used for decades to prevent blood clots and strokes in at-risk patients. For a long time, Coumadin was the main option for treatment. Although successful, Coumadin requires constant monitoring, a major inconvenience for patients. Recently, however, a new category of anticoagulants entered the market. Xarelto is included in this new category. This lower-maintenance alternative requires little to no monitoring but, unfortunately, is linked to life-threatening medical conditions. Although hemorrhaging is a risk with all anticoagulants, Coumadin has a reversal agent that stops excessive bleeding in its tracks. Unfortunately, the same is not true for Xarelto and similar drugs.
  1. Zofran: Designed to treat nausea in chemotherapy patients, Zofran’s manufacturer began marketing Zofran to pregnant women as a treatment for morning sickness. Unfortunately, the drug had never been tested on pregnant humans, and its use is now linked to severe birth defects.

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Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The drug is used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, among other conditions. Risperdal is also used to treat aggression in some patients with autism. Although it is FDA approved, Risperdal is linked to some serious side effects. In fact, a jury recently awarded $70 million to a boy who experienced physically and emotionally harmful side effects from using the drug. Contact a Boston Drug Injury Lawyer Today.

What is Gynecomastia?

Risperdal use is associated with gynecomastia, a condition characterized by breast enlargement in male patients. A hormone called prolactin is responsible for milk production in women who are breastfeeding. Risperdal may stimulate the production of prolactin in males, resulting in some very undesirable side effects.

Risperdal Doubles the Risk of Breast Enlargement in Young Males

In 2012, a study of autistic boys was conducted to determine side effects of Risperdal in these patients. The results revealed that common side effects included diminished sexual functioning and gynecomastia. In fact, autistic boys between the ages of 10 and 20 had twice the risk of breast enlargement if they were on the drug, and a 14% greater chance of suffering from at least one form of sexual dysfunction.

Did Johnson & Johnson Destroy Evidence?

The $70 million lawsuit was awarded to a boy who developed breasts after using Risperdal. The jury found that material evidence was destroyed, falsified, and/or concealed during the investigation. Previous verdicts have ranged between $500,000 and $2.2 million. This latest verdict may signal a trend of higher verdicts.

Failure to Warn

According to several lawsuits, Janssen may have known about the risk of gynecomastia beginning in 2003. Despite this knowledge, the pharmaceutical company failed to warn physicians and patients. Had they done so, physicians could have chosen an alternative treatment for some of their patients. There are other antipsychotics on the market with similar benefits to Risperdal, but without the emotionally-scarring side effects. In addition, there is evidence that Janssen may have manipulated reporting data to downplay the risk of gynecomastia in young boys. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Johnson & Johnson must pay the family of Austin Pledger $2.5 million for complications he sustained while taking Risperdal as a boy at age seven in 2002. Pledger, who was Autism, developed Gynecomastia. At one point, because of the abnormal breast growth, Austin’s breasts grew to a size 46 DD.

This Risperdal injury case is the first one to go to trial. J & J’s Janssen unit, however, is adamant that unlike what Pledger’s family and other plaintiffs are claiming, the medication’s Food and Drug Administration-approved label did properly warn about the possible risks. They maintain that Pledger was helped and not hurt by taking the medication. Risperdal is approved to treat certain mood and mental disorders, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, as well as irritability linked to autism.

Aside from the abnormal breast growth, Gynecomastia may cause mental and emotional issues, uneven breast growth, and lactation. It can be especially traumatic for adolescent males. Someone with this type of abnormal breast growth may have to undergo breast reduction surgery, liposuction, chest reconstruction or a mastectomy. There have been at least 1,200 drug defect cases involving Risperdal.

The number of Risperdal lawsuits continues to grow, with many of the plaintiffs blaming the drug for causing gynecomastia, which is male breast growth. Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson are accused of hiding the serious health risks involved with taking Risperdal and improperly marketing the drug for uses that are considered “off-label” for kids. Janssen is a J & J unit.

In Massachusetts, please contact our Boston Risperdal injury lawyers if you think that you or your child suffered serious side effects from taking this medication. The drug, launched in the United States in the 1990’s, was approved for use by children in 2006. It is indicated for use to treat schizophrenia in adults and kids, irritability in children between the ages of 5 and 16, autism, and bipolar disorder in adults and children, ages 10 to 17. Off-label purposes include treatment of kids with ADHD.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology in 2006 reported that risperidone, which is Risperdal’s generic form, can strongly up the prolactin levels in adolescents, with gynecomastia as a possible side effect. In 2009, researchers in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology cautioned that prolactin levels could be elevated for up to two years in users of Risperdal.

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