New Study Confirms Link Between Risperdal and Gynecomastia

As we have reported to you over the past couple of years, so many male patients who were prescribed and took Risperdal or Invega experienced growth of breasts, known as gynecomastia.  More and more legal claims are being filed against Johnson & Johnson, manufacturer of the medication Risperdal.

A recent study confirms that these claims are true. Findings presented at the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) meeting on March 15th indicate that males who used Risperdal have a significantly higher risk of developing unnatural breast development when compared to non-users.

When these findings are published, they may impact hundreds of Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits filed in a consolidated litigation in Pennsylvania. These claims are pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, and were brought on behalf of men and young boys who used this medication.

Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication, originally introduced for adult patients suffering from schizophrenia. However, it has been prescribed for children with bipolar disorders, autism, irritability, aggressive and other behavioral disorders.

Dr. Mahyar, a pharmacoepidemiologist at the University of British Columbia presented the recent findings, and stated, “The strength of this study was its large sample size that allowed us to quantify this rare adverse event.” He concluded that doctors might want to prescribe Seroquel or Zyprexa to male patients rather than Risperdal or Invega.

It is reported that Risperdal increases the level of prolactin in young men who take this drug. Prolactin is a hormone that stimulates breast growth. Researchers have found a 69 percent increased risk of gynecomastia among users of Risperdal and Invega. When compared to patients who used other antipsychotic medications in the same class, the risk was still 41 percent higher than Seroquel users and 40 percent higher than Zyprexa users.

Not only did plaintiffs complain about the physical damages caused by this drug, but the psychological effects of Risperdal breast growth has a devastating impact on a young boy’s quality of life. Many plaintiffs’ breasts measured as large as size 38D cup.  So many plaintiffs needed to undergo breast removal surgery.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, several studies found that children who took antipsychotic and/or second-generation antipsychotic drugs (Seroquel, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Abilify) have an increased risk of developing type II diabetes.

Type II diabetes is a medical condition caused due to the body’s inability to produce enough insulin, which is a hormone that aids in the regulation of carbohydrates and fats in the body. Type II diabetes in children is said to be increasing at an epidemic rate and is not only very difficult to treat, but expensive, as well.  Vanderbilt University conducted a study of 28,000 children and adolescents between the ages of 6-24. The research showed that within the first year of a child taking the prescription medication, his or her risk for type II diabetes was almost present immediately. The study also indicated that the risk of type II diabetes continues for about one year after the discontinuation of the drug’s use.

Risperdal is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and distributed by its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc., who has been accused of marketing this and other drugs for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Court documents from March 2014 show more than 200 cases filed in Pennsylvania state court.

In a settlement reached in November 2013 with the U.S. Department of Justice, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay over $2.2 billion to resolve claims involving this medication, along with certain others. Risperdal may have been promoted for use in children and for elderly patients with dementia, according to the federal government, which points out that the FDA did not clear the drug for pediatric use until 2006.

If you or a loved one suffered any adverse side effects from taking Risperdal or Invega, or any of the antipsychotic and/or second-generation antipsychotic drugs, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys for more information. We can be reached at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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