Risperdal, a drug which works by changing the effects of chemicals in the brain, is often used to treat psychological disorders, including schizophrenia, and symptoms of bipolar disorder in patients ages 10 and up. It can also be used to treat symptoms of irritability in autistic children over the age of five. However, in 2012, Johnson & Johnson settled five cases alleging the company illegally marketed Risperdal for off-label use in both adults and minors. When Risperdal was given to patients younger than the suggested age, or for purposes other than psychological disorders or autism-related symptoms, it allegedly caused young boys to develop breasts.
How does Risperdal Cause Breast Growth?
Gynecomastia (abnormal growth of breast tissue) results from increased levels of the hormone prolactin – a side effect noted in Risperdal users. It is believed that increased levels of prolactin can cause young boys and girls, and even adult men, to develop breasts and begin producing milk, since prolactin is only naturally found in breastfeeding women. In one case, a four-year-old boy allegedly began lactating as a result of taking the drug and had to undergo a mastectomy – the only current treatment for gynecomastia.
Am I Entitled to Compensation?
In 2012, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay over $180 million to 36 states and Washington D.C. over allegations of deceptive marketing for Risperdal. That same year, six men filed suits against Johnson & Johnson claiming that the company did not provide an adequate warning on the drug that gynecomastia was a potential side effect. In 2013, the Florida Attorney General’s Office concluded that Johnson & Johnson illegally marketed Risperdal for off-label use in children.
If you or a loved one developed male breasts after taking Risperdal, our attorneys want to hear from you. Please fill out the form on the right to receive a free, online evaluation to find out if you are eligible for compensation.