Risperdal (risperidone) is commonly prescribed to adolescents who are diagnosed with mental health issues such as bipolar disorder and autism.
Risperdal was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat adults with schizophrenia. Following its introduction, Johnson & Johnson, through its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, expanded its use in children to treat a wide range of mental health and behavioral issues. In many cases, use of the drug was "off-label," meaning the drug was used for indications that were not tested through clinical trials or approved by the FDA.
Why Are Risperdal Lawsuits Being Filed?
Unfortunately, the drug can have a devastating side effect in boys and young men: abnormal breast development (gynecomastia). In many cases, the development of breasts was delayed or attributed to other causes such as weight gain (another side effect of Risperdal). Few connected enlarged breasts in young males with Risperdal because Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticals failed to adequately warn doctors and patients about the risk.
The Effects On Boys
Boston Children's Hospital conducted a study involving 47 boys with gynecomastia and 92 without between the ages of 12-21. The study showed that the boys with gynecomastia exhibited increased feelings of restlessness, loneliness, physical limitations, pain, tension and eating disorders relative to the boys without the condition. The researchers in the study concluded that gynecomastia significantly and negatively impacted the boys' psychological well-being and that boys with the condition are more likely to have impaired social functioning, mental health and self-esteem.
The Drug Companies Knew
Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson were aware of the risks of Risperdal when the FDA approved the drug in 1993. However, from 1999 to 2005, Risperdal was marketed and prescribed to adolescents, including young men, even though the FDA did not approve it for limited use among youths until 2007.
What Should I Do If I Am Taking Risperdal?
Do not suddenly stop taking Risperdal unless you have talked with a physician. Reducing dosage should be done with physician supervision so your body can adjust properly. If you stop taking it immediately, you may suffer other serious withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, irritability and hallucinations.
How Do I Know If I Am Having This Serious Reaction To Risperdal?
If you are noticing an unnatural growth of breast tissue as a male, you may be experiencing gynecomastia as a result of taking Risperdal. Prepubescent females also sometimes experience nipple discharge or lactation as a result of taking Risperdal. It is wise to consult a physician to have your symptoms recorded and develop a plan of action.
Will I Have Any Problems If I Stop Taking Risperdal?
You may suffer temporary withdrawal symptoms if you immediately stop taking Risperdal completely. Change your medication schedule only after consulting your physician and discussing your concerns. It is important that you are cautious when reducing dosage of any medication.
How Can Filing A Risperdal Lawsuit Help Me?
For young males who developed enlarged breasts after taking Risperdal, the results were devastating. Many experienced teasing and embarrassment, affecting their quality of life and mental health. Treating the condition sometimes required surgery, exposing the young males to the risk of complications, scarring and, in some cases, permanent disfigurement.
Risperdal lawsuits across the country have led to significant settlements and jury awards for boys and young men. Johnson & Johnson has paid over $2 billion in criminal and civil penalties related to marketing practices associated with Risperdal and two other related drugs.
How Long Do I Have To File A Risperdal Lawsuit?
Different states have different statutes of limitations on product liability cases. Many, including Texas, follow a two-year rule. If this is the statute of limitations in your jurisdiction, that means you have two years from the date you discovered you were injured to file a claim.
Attorney Dennis Reich has been involved in leadership roles in major pharmaceutical litigation for over 20 years. He was appointed in 2014 by the Honorable Carl Highberger of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County to serve on the Risperdal Plaintiffs Steering Committee, which provides the leadership and financial resources to prosecute cases involving gynecomastia caused by Risperdal.
Call Us With Questions
Whether you have suffered from the harmful side effects of Risperdal in Texas or anywhere else in the United States, our law firm can help you secure the full and fair compensation you deserve. Please call us in Houston at 713-352-7883 or 877-643-3099 toll free or complete our contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced lawyer.