Risperdal (risperidone), manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is a psychiatric medication known as a second-generation antipsychotic drug. When Risperdal was originally approved by the FDA in 1993, it was approved for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults.
In 2006 and 2007, the FDA extended the permitted use of Risperdal to the treatment of schizophrenia in children aged 13 – 17, bipolar disorder in both adults and children aged 10 and up, and behavioral disorders for autistic children.
In addition to the FDA’s approved uses of Risperdal, Janssen has promoted the use of the drug to treat other mental conditions, including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), dementia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These “off-label” uses of Risperdal have been linked to profound negative consequences.
Risperdal works by affecting the individual’s brain chemistry. It interferes with certain neurotransmitters, namely serotonin and dopamine.
Gynecomastia is a medical condition that is characterized by the growth of male breast tissue. The breast tissue can grow on one or both sides of the chest, and can also occur unevenly. Studies have shown that Risperdal causes elevated levels of a female hormone called prolactin. Normally, prolactin is used to help with the lactation process in breastfeeding mothers.
In rare instances, the breast tissue growth associated with Risperdal gynecomastia has decreased after the male was removed from the product, however for many others treatment for Risperdal gynecomastia can include hormone therapy, a mastectomy, or other corrective surgery to remove the breast tissue.
In one case, Aaron Banks began taking Risperdal when he was 9 years old. He took the drug from 1999-2004. At the time Mr. Banks began the drug, the use of Risperdal was not approved for use in children in the United States. Mr. Banks began growing breasts and suffered severe psychological trauma from the ordeal. He was forced to undergo surgery to remove the breasts. Like Mr. Banks, many children were prescribed the drug without adequate warning, or even before it was approved for use.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals previously settled in federal court for $2.2 billion for illegally marketing and promoting the drug.
Claimants in the Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits allege that they experienced gynecomastia as a direct result of taking Risperdal, and that Janssen Pharmaceuticals failed to warn them about this Risperdal side effect.
The deadline for filing lawsuits for the side effects of Risperdal based upon the applicable statutes of limitations will soon be approaching. If you or someone you know has suffered from the effects of Gynecomastia after taking Risperdal, you should contact the experienced Risperdal Mass Tort and Product Liability Litigation network of attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers for a free case evaluation.