Was Johnson & Johnson Aware Of A Risperdal And Gynecomastia Connection Years Ago?
Written by Stephen Fields on February 12, 2015
The antipsychotic Risperdal is widely considered to be an effective treatment for young boys suffering from schizophrenia and other mental disorders. That’s one of the reasons it is so popular. But its popularity is overshadowed by the fact that its manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, is facing hundreds of Risperdal lawsuit claims.
Numerous reports have surfaced about an embarrassing physical side effect known as gynecomastia. Many adolescent boys taking Risperdal have developed breasts. Worse, the condition develops at a time in their lives when their bodies are still developing. Some boys have undergone mastectomies to resolve their disfigurement.
Our Risperdal gynecomastia lawyers are currently reviewing potential claims for young boys harmed by J&J’s antipsychotic drug. Angered families assert the manufacturer didn’t do enough to warn the public about the risk. Many of them claim Johnson & Johnson not only failed to sufficiently warn them, but knowingly misrepresented the drug’s safety.
Risperdal Breast Growth Causes Psychological Harm In Young Boys
Breast growth in male adolescents rarely, if ever, poses a danger. The disorder has little effect on the individual’s long-term physical health. However, research has shown that it can adversely affect a young male’s self-esteem, social functioning and quality of life.
Authors of a 2013 study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery investigated the impact of gynecomastia on healthy male adolescents. Forty-seven boys with the condition and 92 boys without it participated in the study.
The subjects were evaluated via a series of psychological tests. The authors found that subjects who showed some level of male breast growth experienced one or more psychosocial impacts. For example, they were less inclined to interact with their peers and more likely to suffer a low self-esteem. In addition, the researchers found that adolescent boys with gynecomastia were more likely to show “significant deficits in general health.”
The emotional stress associated with male breast development seemed to be unrelated to the severity of the condition. Those who showed even mild growth experienced the same stress as those who showed extensive growth.
Studies Showed Risperdal And Gynecomastia Link Years Ago
The possible connection between drugs like Risperdal and breast development in young boys came to light 15 years ago. In 1999, the journal Pharmacopsychiatry published a study that showed Risperdal use was linked to an elevation in prolactin serum levels (hyperprolactinemia). Elevated prolactin levels have long been associated with enhanced breast development.
A 2004 study in the journal Drugs emphasized that hyperprolactinemia was a known side effect of antipsychotic therapy. The authors also pointed out that the side effect was seen frequently with use of Risperdal and less so with other antipsychotics.
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center published a study in 2006 showing similar findings. They focused mainly on the presence of pituitary tumors in individuals receiving antipsychotic therapy. Tumor growth on the pituitary gland can cause an elevation in prolactin levels. That, in turn, can lead to gynecomastia.
They also noted that a review of the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) database showed numerous incidents of Risperdal male breast development. Their findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.
When Did The Manufacturer Know About Risperdal Side Effects?
Given that studies showing the potential connection between Risperdal and gynecomastia were published years ago, Johnson & Johnson should have known about it. Pharmaceutical drug manufacturers are responsible for monitoring scientific literature focused on their drugs. When such literature reveals noteworthy side effects, they are responsible for investigating them and alerting the public and medical community.
More than 1,200 lawsuits have been filed alleging that J&J neglected its responsibility. Claimants assert that the drug maker failed to adequately warn them that use of Risperdal could trigger breast growth in young males. Several cases have already resulted in a Risperdal settlement for the victims.
Should You Join The Ongoing Risperdal Litigation?
Gynecomastia can have a terrible psychological impact on adolescent boys. If the maker of Risperdal failed to sufficiently warn the public about the risk, it should be held accountable for the resulting injuries.
If you or your son suffered harm as a result of using Johnson & Johnson’s antipsychotic medication, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Call 1-888-210-9968 today to speak with our Risperdal litigation attorneys. The case evaluation is free. If you decide to file a lawsuit, there are never any legal fees unless we win a financial recovery for you.
There is limited time to file a Risperdal gynecomastia claim. Contact us at your earliest convenience to receive answers to your questions and pursue fair compensation from the manufacturer.