December 18, 2014 — Over 1,000 lawsuits involving Risperdal have been filed, with the latest case involving a boy from Louisiana who was diagnosed with gynecomastia (male breasts) after taking the medication “off-label” when he was just a child.
The lawsuit was filed yesterday by the mother of Q.B., a 17 year-old boy with gynecomastia, in federal court in Louisiana. The boy was prescribed Risperdal, Risperdal Consta (a long-acting injectable form of Risperdal), the antipsychotic drug Invega (paliperidone), and/or generic risperidone.
As of November 2014, about 1,012 lawsuits have been consolidated in Pennsylvania. Early next year, a series of “bellwether” trials will help the parties evaluate how a jury might respond to evidence. However, the outcome of these trials is not binding.
One year ago, Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit reached a $2.2 billion settlement with the Justice Department for illegally marketing several drugs. Prosecutors accused the drug-makers of marketing Risperdal “off-label” for use in children.
In the first Risperdal lawsuit to go to trial, 21 year-old Aaron Banks received an undisclosed settlement from Johnson & Johnson after he alleged that the drug caused him to grow breasts. Banks was prescribed Risperdal when he was just 9 years old, long before the drug was approved to treat children.
Unfortunately, many of those children developed severe side effects like gynecomastia — the growth of female breasts on boys — up to size 38D. In addition to physical disfigurement, many of these children suffered devastating psychological distress.
The only treatment for severe gynecomastia is excision surgery. The problem is that gynecomastia involves glandular tissue, which is dense and fibrous. It cannot be treated with liposuction alone. Instead, reconstructive surgery is almost always necessary.
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