Risperdal (risperidone) was first approved by the FDA in 1993 to treat schizophrenia in adults. Within three years prescriptions for the drug topped one million. In 2003, the FDA approved the drug for the treatment of bipolar disorder. In October 2006, they approved it for the treatment of irritability in autistic children and young adults, and in August 2007, to treat schizophrenia in children ages 13-17, as well as to treat bipolar disorder in children ages 10-17.
Risperdal and Gynecomastia
In 2006, a study by researchers at Duke University reported that Risperdal could cause gynecomastia”breast growth in males. Adolescents who took Risperdal exhibited significantly higher levels of œprolactin, a hormone that stimulates breast development in women.
A 2007 study found that low-to-intermediate doses of risperidone induced a 4-fold prolactin increase in children. By 2008, some doctors were raising concerns that Risperdal was causing troubling side effects in young boys. The Wall Street Journal reported incidences of Risperdal breast development in young men, with some requiring mastectomies to treat the problem.
A later study in 2009 found that after treatment with risperidone, elevated prolactin levels persisted for up to two years in children and adolescents. Symptoms of gynecomastia may include swollen breast tissue, pain and/or tenderness in the breast, and nipple discharge.
Risperdal and Diabetes
Risperdal has also been linked with an increased risk of diabetes. In a 2003 study, researchers identified 131 reports of high blood sugar in patients taking the drug. A 2006 study confirmed that medications like Risperdal increased risk of new-onset diabetes in patients, and a later study published in 2013 also found that teens taking Risperdal face a three-fold risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the first year of treatment.
In 2010, a 21-year old man filed a Risperdal lawsuit against manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals and parent company Johnson & Johnson (J&J). He claimed that after taking the drug between 1999 and 2004, he suffered breast growth. (Banks vs. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, January Term 2010, No. 00618)
Since then, over 400 Risperdal lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers, with over 130 making claims related to gynecomastia. Over 300 cases are proceeding in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where a mass tort has been established.
In September 2012, Bloomberg reported that plaintiff Aron Banks had reached a settlement with J&J over claims that Risperdal caused abnormal breast growth in boys. The terms were kept confidential.
In October 2012, Bloomberg again reported that J&J had agreed to Risperdal settlements in five additional cases. All five plaintiffs had made similar claims about the drug causing increased breast-tissue growth in boys. Terms of these settlements were also kept confidential. All of these cases were settled in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Hundreds of other Risperdal lawsuits are still in pre-trial proceedings.
If you used Risperdal and experienced serious Risperdal side effects, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit in an attempt to recover damages. An experienced Risperdal lawyer can review the facts of your case and guide you in evaluating your options.