Risperdal Linked to Gynecomastia
(Male Breast Growth)
An August 2015 report published by Forbes reveals that the company that markets the antipsychotic drug, Risperdal, had been hiding evidence linking the drug to hormonal levels resulting in gynecomastia. Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson company, had not previously acknowledged this side effect.
Risperdal is prescribed to people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. While not initially approved for use in children, adolescents and children now make up more than a quarter of those taking the drug.
Many are facing an embarrassing and unsightly side effect. Gynecomastia is the growth of breast tissue in boys and young men. Unlike typical weight gain that is possible with certain medications, this breast development is caused by an increase in the hormone prolactin, which is typically much more prevalent in females.
According to manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, a double-blind study found:
- 82% to 87% of young Risperdal patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder experienced increased prolactin levels.
- 49% of young Risperdal patients suffering from autism or other disorders besides schizophrenia and bipolar disorder experienced increased prolactin levels.
Gynecomastia can have a serious psychological and emotional impact on young men and boys due to the stigma of male breasts. If you, your son or a loved one has experienced symptoms of this embarrassing condition while taking Risperdal, you should join the growing number of men seeking compensation for their ordeal.
Embarrassing and Hard to Treat
Prolactin stimulates the mammary glands. It is the same hormone that leads to milk development in the breasts of pregnant women.
The development of breasts in young men and boys can be psychologically and emotionally damaging. It may lead to self-image problems, depression and social difficulty.
In many cases, the only way to get rid of the unwanted breast tissue is to have it surgically removed, adding to the physical burden caused by Risperdal.
Gynecomastia can cause:
- Nipple discharge
Paxil and Prozac, two common anti-depressants, are believed to increase the body’s absorption of Risperdal. This may increase the risk of side effects in men who take both Risperdal and one of these anti-depressants.
Young Men Are Seeking Justice
Johnson & Johnson faces hundreds of lawsuits from men who allegedly suffered gynecomastia after taking Risperdal. The men are seeking compensation from the company for their physical and emotional ordeal.
In 2012, confidential settlements were reached between Johnson & Johnson and 6 of the roughly 130 young men who sued the company after developing breasts from taking Risperdal. “The billions Johnson & Johnson made had a terrible human cost,” an attorney for one of the men told Bloomberg.
Johnson & Johnson has faced controversy over its improper marketing of Risperdal. The company agreed to pay $2.2 billion in November 2013 to settle these claims, making it one of the largest health care settlements in U.S. history. One of the men the government said was actively involved in the fraud is now the CEO of Johnson & Johnson.
A Huffington Post report in September 2015 detailed a deliberate business plan by Johnson & Johnson to market Risperdal directly to doctors for unapproved use in children. The FDA forbids marketing a drug for off-label uses, yet employees of the company were actually given bonuses for doing so, according to the report.
Contact Us for Help
If you, your son or a member of your family has experienced male breast development while taking Risperdal, you need to contact our law firm today to speak with an attorney about your rights. You are not alone. This has happened to many other young men — but it shouldn’t have.
Time is limited to join those who are demanding compensation from Johnson & Johnson for their unpleasant ordeal.
Contact Johnson//Becker, PLLC today by calling 800-956-5252 or by filling out the form on this page to learn how we can help you. All consultations are free, confidential and without obligation.