If you’ve suffered a negative side effect (including gynecomastia) due to your use of Risperdal®, you may have a valid product liability claim against the manufacturer.
It’s estimated that about 5 percent of the population suffers from bipolar disorder, with a smaller percentage suffering from schizophrenia. These are known as mood disorders, and they can wreak havoc on a person’s life.
Risperdal (also known as risperidone) is a drug that is manufactured by Janssen/Johnson & Johnson. The drug, which was launched in the early 90’s, lowers levels of a chemical known as dopamine in an attempt to get rid of the psychosis, aggressiveness and mania that are symptomatic of severe bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Unfortunately, this drug comes with severe side effects, such as the growth of breast tissue in men (gynecomastia) which is irreversible save for surgery.
Risperidone’s patent expired in 2003, making it possible for numerous companies around the world to produce the drug under the same formulation, but using different names. Over 3 million individuals have taken Risperdal long-term, and it was only after a few years that thousands of people discovered the dangers of this drug when men and boys started growing breast tissue after being on the drug for some time.
Risperdal and Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia can be defined as the abnormal growth of breast tissue in a genetic male. This tissue is usually not made of fat, and it doesn’t develop into cancer. While it doesn’t present a health risk, it can do a number on a person’s self esteem and how the world perceives them.
It has also been shown that surgery to remove this breast tissue is not always a permanent solution as the breast tissue may grow back.
Gynecomastia occurs when estrogen takes over, while testosterone dips. It usually affects both breasts, but it’s possible for the condition to affect one breast more than the other. The symptoms to watch out for include breast tenderness as well as pain and swollen gland tissue in the breast area.
Risperdal’s Gynecomastia Study
An early study (which was done just before Risperdal’s FDA approval) showed that the drug has the potential to cause breast growth in just 12 days to patients who were prescribed the medication.
In addition, the report stated that said patient started expressing a milky discharge as a result of the medication thanks to its potential to raise prolactin levels, a hormone mostly associated with nursing or newly pregnant women.
Here are some of the other side-effects associated with Risperdal:
- Vision problems
- Sleep difficulties
- Low libido
- Muscle and joint pain
- Dry mouth
- Fast and/or irregular heartbeat
Latest Risperdal Lawsuit News
Back in August of this year, a judge in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas upheld a $2.5 million verdict awarded to a 22-year-old man who developed gynecomastia after taking Risperdal for a number of years. This is the first Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuit to ever go to trial. To date, there are about 14,000 lawsuits filed against the makers of Risperdal.
Legal counsel for those affected have said that Janssen/J&J allegedly doctored study results in order to downplay gynecomastia claims in order to keep profiting from the drug, and that the company has to date paid over $2 billion in settlements and damages to government and state bodies due to Risperdal and other drugs they manufacture causing severe side effects.
Jannsen’s sales representatives even went as far as to let doctors know that they ought to up their Risperdal’s prescriptions if they were going to continue to receive speaking fees for seminars and speeches crafted by the company.
Risperdal is one of the most-commonly prescribed psychotropic drugs in the market, but many people were simply never made aware of the serious risks associated with its use.
If you have concerns about your use of the drug, please discuss them with your doctor. If you have suffered any negative side effects (e.g., a male who’s developed gynecomastia) due to your use of the drug, you may wish to contact a product liability lawyer for advice and information on how to file a personal injury claim and seek compensation.