Medical studies and recent lawsuits against the makers of Risperdal have helped highlight the links between the drug and gynecomastia, a condition that causes males to grow breasts.
A 2006 study conducted by Duke University showed that Risperdal was associated with gynecomastia and that it may cause lactation in girls, boys, and women not pregnant or nursing.
Despite this knowledge, the FDA approved Risperdal for the treatment of schizophrenia in children and bipolar disorder in both children and adults in 2007. The year after the FDA approval, the Wall Street Journal reported that Risperdal had been shown to increase prolactin levels (leading to breast development and lactation) and experts stated that up to 70 percent of gynecomastia childhood events were found to be caused by Risperdal use.
The first lawsuit regarding harm caused by Risperdal use was filed in 2010 by a 21 year-old man who had taken Risperdal for off-label use between 1999 and 2004 and suffered physical and emotional trauma due to gynecomastia or the development of male breasts. In 2012, the case was settled by Johnson & Johnson on the first day of trial for an undisclosed amount, prior to the plaintiff’s attorney calling a former company CEO as a witness.
The same year, Johnson & Johnson was accused of improper marketing practices and was fined $1.2 billion in an Arkansas federal court due to claims that they downplayed risks and that over 240,000 cases of Medicaid fraud and 4,500 deceptive practices had been caused by the manufacturers marketing activity.
Also in 2012 the company settled lawsuits with 36 states and the District of Columbia regarding improper marketing techniques, specifically for the treatment of children. The cases were settled by the payment of $181 million. Other state cases had also been settled including $327 million in South Carolina, $258 million in Louisiana and $158 million in Texas.
Attorneys for the victims have claimed that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen, used illegal marketing techniques to promote Risperdal for unapproved uses even after they were aware of the risk of gynecomastia, movement disorders and the risk of death. The lawsuits claim that the makers of Risperdal did not adequately warn consumers of these risks.
Our office is currently investigating Risperdal lawsuits from across the country. If you or a loved one suffered from gynecomastia after taking Risperdal, contact our office immediately.