Risperdal Side Effect Lawsuits
Risperdal, or Risperidone, is an antipsychotic drug used mainly to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Risperdal was originally approved for use in 1994, and can be taken orally in a variety of dosages, or as a bi-weekly injection. Though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug for use in children in 2007, recently Risperdal has been linked to problem in young boys and male adolescents taking the drug. Recently, the drug has been linked to gynecomastia, or enlarged male breasts in young boys.
Gynecomastia is a serious condition that causes male patients to grow breasts. Gynecomastia involves the enlargement of glandular tissue, rather than fatty tissue. In most cases, gynecomastia will occur symmetrically on both sides of the chest. While severe pain is not associated with the condition, most patients report sensitivity or tenderness of the affected areas. If you or a loved one develops any of these symptoms after taking Risperdal, it is important to contact a doctor in order to properly diagnose the condition. Gynecomastia can be diagnosed by a simple physical examination. While in some cases gynecomastia can go away on its own within about six months, sometimes treatment is necessary. In many cases, your doctor will ask that you stop taking Risperdal. So far, no drugs have been developed in order to treat gynecomastia. Treatment would instead be provided through testosterone replacement, or selective estrogen receptor modulators. In the most severe cases, surgery is necessary. Some patients are treated through reduction mammoplasty, which is a surgery that reduces the size of the breasts.
Even more troubling than the physical problems most patients experience is the emotional problems that adolescents with gynecomastia might have. For many patients, gynecomastia is embarrassing and stressful. For many patients, its important to seek counseling, to reach out to family members, and to connect with others who have gynecomastia in order to deal with the emotional stress associated with the condition.
In the wake of these mounting concerns, courts across the country have seen a tremendous influx in court cases against the manufacturer of Risperdal. Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Risperdal, has reached confidential settlements with a number of patients that experienced gynecomastia after taking the drug. In November of 2013, the United States Department of Justice reached a settlement with Johnson & Johnson regarding a case about the illegal marketing of Risperdal. The agreement required that the company pay $2.2 billion in both civil and criminal fines. In the suit, the US Department of Justice alleged that Johnson & Johnson inappropriately promoted Risperdal. The company attempted to expand the marketing of the dug to patients with dementia, even though the drug was not approved for such patients. The settlement is one of the largest in US history for a pharmaceutical company.
If you or a loved one has experienced gynecomastia after taking Risperdal, you might have a case. At Altman & Altman, we have over 40 years of experience handling personal injury claims. Our attorneys understand how difficult it can be to experience harmful side effects from a prescription medication, and will handle your case with care. We are available 24 hour a day, seven days a week and a consultation is completely free.