Risperdal, a popular atypical antipsychotic drug, is great at reducing the symptoms of those suffering from schizophrenia. However, it has also been known to cause a condition called gynecomastia. This condition, which results in male teenagers growing breasts, can only be reversed with surgery. It was also never fully disclosed as a potential side effect when the drug manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) brought the drug to market. If you, or someone you love, have taken Risperdal and you have suffered from gynecomastia, you may be able to file a Risperdal lawsuit. Contact a personal injury lawyer today to learn more.
History of Risperdal
From 1971 until the early 1990s those who needed an atypical antipsychotic only had one option: Clozapine. This drug had such severe side effects that most doctors found it was more beneficial to go drug free than to issue something that dangerous. However, that all changed in 1993 when the drug Risperdal received FDA approval.
From 1993 until 2003 the drug was only approved to treat schizophrenia in adults. It found huge popularity and subsequently brought in a lot of money for Janssen because it worked so much better than anything else on the market. While the drug was only approved for one condition, it was prescribed for many other off-label purposes.
In 2003 the FDA approved the drug to help combat the symptoms of bipolar disorder. By 2006 Risperdal had found FDA approval to treat irritability in children with autism. And in 2007 it was approved for treatment of schizophrenia in children aged 10-17. It was enormously popular in juveniles, but it had one serious flaw.
All male youths experience some sort of gynecomastia as they go through puberty. Their bodies are changing, and hormones are rapidly fluctuating. This is nothing new or dangerous. However, most males will not grow breasts, instead the hormones balance out quickly enough to prevent it. That is not the case with males using Risperdal.
Risperdal works by blocking dopamine. The bodys response is to release an abundance of the hormone prolactin. This hormone is found in young women and nursing mothers, and it works with the body to stimulate breast development and lactation. In a young mother this is a good thing; in a teenage boy it is a terrible thing.
As the breasts grow and develop the young man may be subjected to taunting, shaming, and bullying. When it is discovered that the Risperdal has caused the breast growth, the only way to reverse the process is with expensive surgeries. Physical scars will be a lifetime reminder of the pain and suffering he was put under by his peers. Not only does he have to deal with mental illness, but also with the teasing of others.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Regarding your Risperdal Lawsuit
Johnson & Johnson, as well as Janssen Pharmaceuticals, are responsible for many young men going through such painful experiences during their teenage years. If you have suffered because you used their drug, that was supposed to help with mental illness, you may be able to file a Risperdal lawsuit. Your first step is to contact a Risperdal attorney for your free consultation.