Antipsychotic Drug Risperdal Linked To Gynecomastia
Almost 500 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson for an antipsychotic drug, Risperdal, which may cause gynecomastia in children and adult males. Experts estimate that the numbers of affected individuals may be in the thousands.
What Is Risperdal?
Risperdone (Brand name-Risperdal) is an antipsychotic medication typically prescribed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults and adolescents. Risperdal is known to be prescribed to children aged 5-16 to treat irritability in autism.
The antipsychotic medication was initially approved in 1994, with sales peaking in 2007. In 2007, Risperdal sales reached over $4.5 billion. Since then, sales have been on a rapid decline reaching only $358 million by 2012.
Risperdal, like many antipsychotics, targets dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain. Risperdone’s effect on the dopamine receptors may cause sexual side effects in men including Gynecomastia, or abnormal breast growth. Additionally, reports have shown that the drug may cause children to develop type II diabetes.
Gynecomastia Lawsuits Filed
The first Risperdal lawsuit was filed in 2012 after a 21-year-old-male reported an abnormal development of male breasts after taking the drug. The victim required surgery to remove them. There have since been nearly 500 lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson due to Gynecomastia.
Typically Gynecomastia is associated with conditions such as Klinefelter syndrome, endocrine disorders, and certain cancers. It is characterized by benign enlargement of breast tissue in males. The enlargement may occur on one or both sides of the breast.
Physicians classify Gynecomastia on a scale based on severity:
- Grade I: Minor enlargement, no skin excess
- Grade II: Moderate Enlargement, no skin excess
- Grade III: Moderate Enlargement, skin excess
- Grade IV: Marked enlargement, skin excess
While not physically harmful, Gynecomastia is often linked with stress and anxiety due to the embarrassment it causes. While it is most commonly found in overweight males, losing extra weight does not reduce the glandular component of the disorder. In cases of massive weight loss, men may notice chest ptosis or sagging tissue.
Gynecomastia often requires surgical intervention, however, many insurance companies deny coverage for the surgery on the basis that it is a cosmetic procedure.
If you have experienced abnormal breast growth after taking Risperdal, the defective drug lawyers at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers are here to help. Our attorneys are trained to handle your case with the utmost confidentiality and compassion. We are currently reviewing cases in Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, and serving clients nationwide. Contact our St. Louis office at 314-444-4444 for assistance in obtaining compensation for the pain, suffering, and embarrassment caused by this dangerous drug.