Johnson & Johnson is facing over 18,500 lawsuits involving Risperdal (risperidone), an anti-psychotic drug linked to the development of breasts on young boys. Trials have ended in juries awarding victims $500,000 to $70 million.
Do I Have a Risperdal Lawsuit? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or your son was diagnosed with gynecomastia, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit.
UPDATE: Over 5,500 Risperdal Lawsuits in Philadelphia
July 2017 — There are now over 5,800 Risperdal lawsuits pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas accusing Johnson & Johnson of failing to warn about the risk of gynecomastia. Click here to read more.
Jury Awards $70 Million in 5th Risperdal Trial
In July 2016, a 16 year-old boy from Tennessee who grew female breasts at the age of 5 after taking Risperdal was awarded $70 million by a jury in Philadelphia. Lawyers accused drug-makers of failing to warn about the risk of gynecomastia. It was the 5th Risperdal trial in Philadelphia.
Risperdal Trial Payouts:
- December 2015 — $500,000 awarded to a boy who developed breasts after taking Risperdal.
- November 2015 — $1.75 million awarded to the family of a boy who grew breasts after taking Risperdal by a jury in Philadelphia.
- October 2015 — $5.6 million awarded after a jury finds Janssen 70% responsible for an $8 million award to the family of a man who died after taking Risperdal during a clinical trial.
- March 18, 2015 — $2.5 million awarded to a 22 year-old autistic man who developed size 46DD breasts after taking Risperdal “off-label” as a child. The trial included testimony from Dr. David Kessler, former head of the FDA.
What is the Risk of Gynecomastia?
It takes only a third-grader’s math level to understand how Johnson & Johnson fudged the numbers to make it seem like Risperdal had only a 0.8% risk of causing gynecomastia, when in fact the number was closer to 4.5% of boys. In 2015, a study found that adolescents on Risperdal were 4-times more likely to be diagnosed with gynecomastia. Middle-aged men also have a 69% higher risk of gynecomastia if they take Risperdal, according to a study in 2014 by Dr. Etminan.
What is Risperdal?
Risperdal (risperidone) is an anti-psychotic drug that treats several severe mood disorders. It is sold by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Risperdal was first approved by the FDA in 1993 for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults. It was not approved for any uses in children until 2006. Although it was marketed for elderly adults, Risperdal has a “Black Box” warning that it increases the risk of stroke and death in elderly people with dementia.
Risperdal and Breast Growth
Risperdal has been associated with an increase in levels of a hormone called prolactin, which plays many roles in the body, including growth of breast tissue. In females, this can cause a condition called glactorrhea, or production of milk. In males, excessive prolactin can cause a condition called gynecomastia.
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is the growth or enlargement of male breast tissue. The tissue is non-cancerous and poses no physical health risks; however, the psychological and social injuries can be devastating — especially when gynecomastia affects adolescent males. Many doctors recommend surgery to reduce breast tissue. In mild or moderate cases, liposuction may be an effective option. In severe cases, however, a surgical procedure called a mastectomy may be necessary to remove breast tissue and excess skin.
Americas Most Admired Lawbreaker
Alex Gorsky led the marketing campaign for Risperdal at Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Risperdal generated $30 billion during Gorsky’s tenure. Despite paying billions of dollars in fines, Mr. Gorsky was rewarded for his success with a promotion to CEO of Johnson & Johnson, where he remains today.
America’s Most Admired Law Breaker, an in-depth analysis by Steven Brill, shows how Johnson & Johnson marketed Risperdal as a replacement for Haldol. The company promoted Risperdal by “massaging the data” on serious side effects, and used illegal marketing tactics to convince doctors around the world to prescribe Risperdal “off-label” for children and the elderly. There is also evidence that Risperdal clinical trial data was withheld for years.
Evidence Linking Risperdal and Gynecomastia
At least as early as 1999, researchers have linked the use of Risperdal to gynecomastia. Several studies have verified an association between Risperdal and gynecomastia, especially in young males. This study, published in Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology in 2006, warned:
“Risperidone administered to adolescents at doses commonly used for the treatment of psychotic symptoms can strongly increase prolactin levels, with clinical consequences such as gynecomastia and/or galactorrhea. Given that the long-term effects of antipsychotic drug-induced hyperprolactinemia are not well documented, especially regarding osteopenia, infertility, growth, and pubertal delay, risperidone should be administered with caution to children and adolescents.”
Risperdal Lawsuit Settlements
One of the most recent Risperdal settlements was in January 2017 before the a trial in Philadelphia. In May 2015, just hours into opening arguments, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay a settlement to a boy from California with gynecomastia. In 2012, the company also paid a settlement to Aaron Banks, a young man who took Risperdal when he was between the ages of 9 and 14, from 1999 until 2004.
J&J Facing 18,500 Risperdal Gynecomastia Lawsuits
At least 18,500 Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits have been filed as of January 2017. All of the lawsuits accuse drug-makers of downplaying the risk of severe side effects. For example, a lawsuit (PDF) was filed in 2014 by a 27 year-old man who took Risperdal and developed severely enlarged breasts that had to be treated with a double mastectomy. Click here to read more.
Illegal Marketing & Failure to Warn
Johnson & Johnson has already settled several federal and state lawsuits brought by government attorneys. These lawsuits allege that the company engaged in illegal off-label marketing, created a pay-off scheme to incentivize nursing homes to prescribe Risperdal (despite the fact that Risperdal increases the risk of death among elderly people with dementia), and defrauded the state Medicare system.
J&J Pays $2.2 Billion Fine to Justice Department
In November 2013, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay a $2.2 billion settlement to resolve criminal and civil fines with the Justice Department. The company has aggressively fought to overturn fines over Risperdal in dozens of states, including $124 million in South Carolina, $1.2 billion in Arkansas, $5.9 million in Montana, $158 million in Texas, and more.
Risperdal Weight Gain & Diabetes
Risperdal is associated with an increased risk of “medically serious” weight gain, which increases the risk of type-2 diabetes and hyperglycemia (high blood-sugar) in children and adults. In 2014, a study found that 0.72% of children on anti-psychotic drugs like Risperdal developed diabetes, compared to just 0.27% of children who did not take the drugs.
Studies Linking Risperdal and Type-2 Diabetes
- Pharmacotherapy (2003), “Risperidone-associated diabetes mellitus: a pharmacovigilance study” — 131 cases of high blood-sugar (hyperglycemia) linked to the use of Risperdal.
- American Journal of Epidemiology (2006), “Diabetes Risk Associated with Use of Olanzapine, Quetiapine, and Risperidone in Veterans Health Administration Patients with Schizophrenia” — Study links Risperdal and weight-gain that “may contribute to the increased risk of diabetes.”
Risperdal Side Effects
- Gynecomastia (male breast growth)
- Transient ischemic attack
- Blood sugar disorders (hyperglycemia)
- Severe or excessive weight gain
- Tumors in the pituitary gland
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)
- Tardive dyskinesia
- Heart attack
- Bone loss
- Death for elderly people with dementia
- For a complete list of Risperdal side effects, click here.
Do I have a Risperdal Lawsuit?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $260 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact us for a free Texas Risperdal lawsuit review.