Risperdal and Gynecomastia
In 1993, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson. Initially, the medication and its generic form Risperidone, were approved for use in treating schizophrenia, acute mania, and episodes of bipolar disorder in adults. However, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and its parent company have come under fire for marketing the drug for use in children and treatment of off-label conditions, while not gaining FDA approval for such uses.
Uses and Effects
Risperdal is a highly effective treatment for conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The medication works by hindering dopamine activity in the brain, which has been linked to altered brain chemistry in patients suffering from differing forms of psychosis. The drug and its generic, Risperidone, have made considerable positive impact in the treatment of off-label conditions as well, such as dementia, attention deficit disorder in children, depression, anxiety, and symptoms of autism. But treatment has come with a cost. The medication has been proven to carry a multitude of harmful symptoms and conditions. Some of the most severe side effects associated with the drug are as follows:
- Pituitary tumors
- Increased risk of death from heart attack
- Hyperglycemia and Diabetes
- Extreme weight gain
- Suicidal thoughts
- Bone damage
Risperdal Related Gynecomastia
Risperdal related Gynecomastia has continually been one of the primary conditions consumers have been affected with, and is at the forefront of many lawsuits against Johnson and Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Gynecomastia is characterized by the development of abnormal breast tissue in males. While males have the ability to develop temporary fatty breast tissue, Gynecomastia is a permanent condition and causes significant psychological distress and trauma.
The consumption of Risperdal has been linked to Gynecomastia due to the nature of the drug’s dopamine blockers. Inhibiting dopamine in the brain has a significant effect on a patient’s pituitary gland, the regulator for many vital systems in the body and hormone production. The stimulation of the pituitary gland results in increased discharge of prolactin and other disturbances in the metabolic system. Such increases cause breast tissue growth and lactation in women during pregnancy, and has also been proven to cause pituitary tumors, lactation, and tissue growth in men and pre-adolescent boys.
Ceasing to use Risperdal has proven to be unsuccessful in reducing the effect of Gynecomastia. The effect of the condition varies between cases, but treatment of mild to serious cases of Gynecomastia can necessitate liposuction, breast reduction surgery, mastectomy procedures, and chest reconstruction. Psychological and emotional treatment for the condition is also sometimes necessary as it poses significant emotional and mental health risks.
Various studies were published--as early as 1999 -- showing the dangerous effects of Risperdal and Risperidone in men. As a result, legal action against Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson and Johnson has ensued, claiming that the companies negligently marketed the drug for use in children before gaining FDA approval. The lawsuits also claim that the companies did not properly communicate the seriousness of the risks in taking the drug and that they insisted the drug could be used for unapproved conditions such as dementia in older patients, ADD and symptoms of autism in children. Johnson and Johnson has found itself on the losing side of multiple consecutive lawsuits, including a lawsuit on behalf of a young male afflicted with Risperdal related Gynecomastia.
Legal Help for Patients
If you, or a loved one, have taken the Johnson and Johnson drug Risperdal, or its generic form Risperidone, and have experienced damaging side effects such as Gynecomastia, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the makers. Legal action pertaining to the harmful complications, as a result of taking the drug, have resulted in payment of damages by Johnson and Johnson. Contact The Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, P.C. for a no-charge consultation.