Risperdal and Gynecomastia: An Update
We’ve written about the drug Risperdal and gynecomastia before, but an update is probably in order. Lawsuits against the manufacturer of the anti-psychotic medication, Johnson & Johnson, continue to grind their way through the legal system with a few more big payoffs for plaintiffs.
According to the website Lawyers and Settlements.com, in the most recent case concluded, a jury in Philadelphia awarded $70 million to a youngster from Tennessee. The boy developed man boobs just a year after starting on Risperdal when he was quite young.
In case you are just learning about this brouhaha, here is some basic background.
Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, were granted FDA approval to market Risperdal, the trade name for risperidone, as a treatment for adults with schizophrenia in the early 1990’s. In 2006, the companies received permission from the FDA to extend the drug’s use to people with mental disabilities and children. That same year, relates the website drugdangers.com, a study at Duke University first linked Risperdal with the development of breast tissue in boys and premature breast tissue in girls.
Risperdal’s potential side effects also include worsening of diabetes and early death in elderly patients with dementia. Less serious conditions such as fatigue, restlessness and drooling can also occur, as well as problems when the drug is taken with other medications.
But the central issue in the approximately 1,500 lawsuits involving Risperdal and gynecomastia is not the known link to man boobs. Instead, Johnson & Johnson has settled or lost a handful of cases because:
• Juries found that the company did not adequately warn doctors and patients about the risk of gynecomastia
• The U.S. Department of Justice concluded an investigation with the finding that Johnson & Johnson aggressively marketed the drug to children prior to FDA approval in 2006
• The U.S. DoJ also found, with the assistance of whistle blowers, that Johnson & Johnson paid kickbacks to pharmacists and doctors for promoting off-label Risperdal use
Three years ago, Johnson & Johnson paid more than $2 billion in fines to the Department of Justice to avoid prosecution by the U.S. government for its actions. With individual lawsuits completed and still pending, the tab is now over $5 billion and growing, says drugdangers.com.
If you’re a guy who has taken Risperdal and developed man boobs, a good step is to visit a board certified plastic surgeon with significant experience and expertise with the condition. In our case, we have been treating patients with gynecomastia in New York for three decades, and we have seen our share of guys who have taken Risperdal.
You may be facing a decision-making process, and we would be happy to help. If you’re thinking about whether to pursue litigation, we can assist by conducting a thorough examination and providing a diagnosis. While we would not be able to prove that your man boobs are a result of taking Risperdal, we can contribute to a potential case by evaluating the timeline of your breast tissue development, considering other possible triggers and so on.
Whether or not you decide to seek legal counsel, we can also talk with you about whether plastic surgery with us in New York for gynecomastia makes sense. We agree with what drugdangers.com has to say about the likely prognosis:
The development of gynecomastia is usually a permanent change that will require surgical removal…
We have the background, tools and sensitivity to support you, no matter what you decide. Why not come in for a consultation? There’s no obligation to take any action, and at very least you will learn more about gynecomastia and your options. Give us a call at 212-570-6080.