Risperdal is the brand name of risperidone, an antipsychotic medication approved to treat schizophrenia. The use of Risperdal has been found to have unwelcome side effects, including gynecomastia, or the enlargement of breast tissue in males. Other serious health issues associated with Risperdal use include the onset of Type 2 diabetes, eating disorders and excessive weight gain, and stroke.
Schizophrenia occurs with relatively low incidence, affecting about one-half of one percent of the population. Its onset, however, typically occurs during post-adolescence and early adulthood and is nearly one and a half times more likely to strike males than females. Gynecomastia from Risperdal use, therefore, strikes young adult and teen males more than other segments of the population. The over-development of breast tissue in young males can cause long-term physical ailments as well as severe emotional and psychological problems. Mastectomy, or surgical removal of the breast, is one of the treatment options for gynecomastia.
Risperdal Used to Treat Autism and ADHD as an Off-Label Use
While the occurrence, and therefore the treatment, of schizophrenia is relatively rare, Risperdal has also been approved as a drug for the long-term maintenance of persons with bipolar disorder, as well as to treat aggression or irritability among persons – often adolescents- with autism spectrum disorders. Many doctors also prescribe Risperdal off-label for the treatment of aggression and agitation in children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These segments of the population have exploded in recent years and continue to increase.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Risperdal, to place a Black Box warning on its packaging warning against prescribing Risperdal to elderly patients with dementia, due to risk of death. The warning also clearly states that Risperdal is not approved for use in patients with dementia-related psychosis.
Help is Available for Risperdal-related Injury
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson for alleged unlawful activities, including marketing Risperdal to children prior to obtaining FDA approval for such use, providing incentives to doctors to prescribe Risperdal to children and adolescents, and hiding evidence about the dangerous side effects of Risperdal. If you or your child has taken Risperdal and experienced abnormal breast enlargement or other adverse health issues, contact our office for a confidential consultation with a skilled and knowledgeable attorney in the field of personal injury and pharmaceutical products liability.