A medical study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JCAP) showed a link between Risperdal® and boys developing female breasts. If you or your son took Risperdal® and developed female breasts, lactated, required breast reduction surgery, or had substantial weight gain, you may be entitled to a cash award. Call the Gold Shield Group at 888-299-3531 or take our 20-second survey (to the right).
The JCAP study showed that some adolescent boys who took Risperdal® had high levels of the hormone prolactin, which stimulates production of milk in the breast. Long-term use of Risperdal® was shown to result in increased prolactin levels, making breast development more likely the longer the drug is taken. The study also showed that Risperdal® use may affect sexual function and lead to other severe side effects including substantial weight gain, diabetes and heart abnormalities.
In the study, researchers studied the effect of long-term Risperdal® use in 98 males aged 10 to 20 who have autism or disrupted behavior disorder. The study concludes that boys on Risperdal® are 72 times more likely to have elevated prolactin than those who don’t take the drug.
How Risperdal® Works
Risperdal® is a type of drug known as an “atypical” antipsychotic which targets not just dopamine, but serotonin as well. As a result, Risperdal® is thought to be more effective at reducing symptoms than traditional antipsychotics. People with schizophrenia, autism, and bipolar disorder often have high levels of serotonin or dopamine; Risperdal® works by blocking or lessening the effects of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. This reduces symptoms, but does not cure the condition.
Before the generic risperidone came on the market, Risperdal® was one of the top selling antipsychotic drugs in the US and has made billions of dollars for Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries. Today, Risperdal and several derivative drugs including Invega® (paloperidone) have combined sales of over $3 billion per year.
The Development of Risperdal®
Johnson & Johnson developed Risperdal® as a way to replace the revenue they lost when the patent expired on their previous blockbuster anti-psychotic drug Haldol. The goal with Risperdal® was not just to replace Haldol, but to create a drug that could be used for a larger number of conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Risperdal® (risperidone) in 1993 for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults. More than a decade later, the FDA approved Risperdal® as a treatment for bipolar disorder in adults and children, schizophrenia in children, and autism related behavioral disorders in children. Risperdal® lawsuits began cropping up when the manufacturer was caught marketing the drug for “off-label” uses (treatments that had not been tested and approved by the FDA).
A History of Lawsuits
As a result, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries have paid out billions of dollars in settlements related to Risperdal® and continue to face new lawsuits. In 2013, Johnson & Johnson pled guilty to charges of misbranding their product and paid a $400 million dollar fine to the government. In a related civil case, Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Scios Inc. agreed to pay almost $1.6 billion to settle claims. In addition to off-label marketing, Johnson & Johnson has also been accused of giving kickbacks to doctors and pharmacists for promoting Risperdal®.
Other scandals attached to the drug are not uncommon. In 2001, the Miami Herald published a scathing report on how children in state foster care homes were often dosed with Risperdal® as a way to “calm and manage” them. This was most likely related to (unsubstantiated) claims that Risperdal® could be used to treat ADHD. Almost 25 percent of the children in foster homes were given the drug to lower their energy level. Many of these children were given adult doses and suffered serious side effects as a result.
If you or your son took Risperdal® and experienced body changes such as substantial weight gain, developing female breasts and lactating, were diagnosed with gynecomastia, or required breast reduction surgery, your family may be entitled to a cash award.
Call the Gold Shield Group at 888-299-3531 or take our 20-second survey to receive a FREE Risperdal lawsuit case evaluation. Our call center is open 24/7, so call now.