June 24, 2014 — A 27 year-old man who required a double mastectomy after taking Risperdal (risperidone) has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Risperdal, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson.
The plaintiff, Andrew Wasserman, filed the complaint (PDF) on June 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The drug-makers are accused of failing to warn about the risk of gynecomastia (enlargement of breasts in men) and illegally marketing Risperdal “off-label” for uses.
Wasserman took Risperdal between 2008 and 2013, beginning at age 20. During that time, he developed enlarged breasts and suffered severe psychological trauma. He had a double mastectomy in 2011, at the age of 24, but alleges that the “horrific experiences scarred him for life.” He continues to suffer from many conditions.
According to the complaint:
“Defendants failed to adequately warn doctors and consumers about these risks, misrepresented the degree of risk, dismissed the severity of Risperdal-caused hyperprolactinemia and gynecomastia, and even claimed that breast development in boys taking Risperdal is normal.”
Wasserman joins hundreds of other young men who took Risperdal and developed gynecomastia or other severe side effects. Last November, J&J and Janssen agreed to pay $2.2 billion to resolve civil and criminal charges. The Justice Department accused drug-makers of engaging in an illegal marketing scheme to promote Risperdal.
The problem is that Risperdal disrupts normal levels of prolactin, a pregnancy hormone that stimulates breast growth and milk production in females. Men are born with a small amount of glandular breast tissue, which can grow extremely large from exposure to prolactin. Treatment for gynecomastia often requires surgery.
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