Risperdal law suits are currently being filed across the country involving allegations that Johnson and Johnson (the maker of Risperdal) did not adequately warn the public of possible side effects of using the drug. Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug used to treat autism, bipolar disease, and schizophrenia in adults and children. The allegations are that Risperdal causes breast tissue growth in children. The breast growth is permanent and can have emotionally and physically detrimental effects, especially in boys. Boys with this condition typically have to either live with female-like breasts, have breast reduction surgery, mastectomy or liposuction surgery.
Originally the FDA approved Risperdal for schizophrenia, acute mania and episodes of bipolar disorder in adults. In 2006 the FDA approved the use of Risperdal for treatment of irritability in autistic children. Then, in 2007 the FDA approved Risperdal for treatment for adolescents with bipolar disorders and schizophrenia. While later studies showed that Risperdal benefitted children with ADHD, oppositional and defiant disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and other behavioral disorders, the FDA never approved Risperdal for these uses in children.
Risperdal and Gynecomastia
Johnson and Johnson, and its Janssen unit, have undergone a federal investigation that alleged they aggressively marketed Risperdal and provided kickbacks to doctors who prescribed Risperdal to children. While doctors may prescribe a drug for uses other than for which it is FDA approved (often called off-label use), pharmaceutical companies cannot market or promote a drug for off-label use. The federal investigation also criticized Johnson and Johnson for not communicating the risks of breast growth in children; this condition is called gynecomastia.
A study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology in 2006 showed that the use of Risperdal resulted in the pituitary gland producing higher levels of the prolactin in some children. Prolactin is the hormone that causes breast development. In some male adolescents the breast growth is enough that they have liposuction or mastectomy surgery to correct the problem. Of course the side effect of breast growth can be emotionally traumatizing in developing boys.
Johnson and Johnson eventually reached a settlement with the federal government over its marketing of Risperdal. This settlement was with the government and not with users of Risperdal. Currently, cases continue to be filed against Johnson and Johnson by patients who took Risperdal and subsequently experienced breast growth. Risperdal has also been linked to risks of diabetes and movement disorders. Finally, Risperdal, which was also aggressively marketed by Johnson and Johnson for the off-label use of dementia in the elderly, also carries a health risk of strokes.
Risperdal Gynecomastia Lawsuits
Patients who have experienced gynecomastia, or breast tissue growth, since beginning treatment with Risperdal or a similar drug called Invega, may want to explore their legal options. Currently there are a number of lawsuits against Johnson and Johnson, the maker of these antipsychotic drugs alleging that they did not adequately warn users of the risks. An attorney can help you to determine if your Risperdal case warrants investigation.
Please contact Brett H. Oppenheimer, a lawyer in Louisville, Kentucky, who can review your case. Call (502) 242-8877 for a free consultation.