Recently, there has been controversy regarding the use of the drug Risperdal, also known as Risperidone, is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and prescribed to treat psychiatric disorders including:
- Bipolar disorder, and
- Behavioral problems in people with autism.
The FDA first approved Risperdal in 1994 for the treatment of schizophrenia. In 2006 and again in 2007, the FDA approved the drug for use in treating other psychological disorders.
It has been alleged that Risperdal may increase levels of prolactin, a hormone which stimulates breast development. A study in the 2006 issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology states that when Risperdal is administered in usual doses, it can “strongly increase prolactin levels, with clinical consequences such as gynecomastia.” Gynecomastia is the abnormal development of breasts in boys and men who have taken the drug. The Mayo Clinic defines gynecomastia as “swelling of the breast tissue in boys or men, caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts, sometimes unevenly.” Usually, the symptoms begin as a small lump on the breast. From there, it may develop into a larger lump causing tenderness. There have also been cases of gynecomastia in which the affected male individual can produce breast milk. A study published by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reported that more than 90 percent of those taking Risperdal have experienced symptoms of gynecomastia during treatment with the drug.
The effects and consequences of gynecomastia are not only physically painful and uncomfortable, but it is also potentially psychologically damaging, particularly for young boys who are affected by it. The treatment for gynecomastia can also be expensive. One treatment option is taking medication to counter the symptoms of gynecomastia, including testosterone to balance the increased prolactin levels. If medications don’t work, it may require liposuction or a mastectomy surgery to remove the breast tissue.
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When the FDA first approved Risperdal, the label did not provide a sufficient warning for gynecomastia. As a result, many males have experienced harmful physical and psychological side-effects. Some may even experience the gynecomastia for years after they have taken Risperdal. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed nationwide by families seeking to hold Johnson & Johnson responsible for their product.
If you feel that you, or someone you know, should be compensated for side effects caused by Risperdal, please contact us online or call us at (866) 709-0505 to speak with a Risperdal attorney today. All consultations are free and completely confidential.