Dangerous Drugs

Risperdal Can Cause Gynecomastia, Lawsuits Allege

This Alert Affects:

Young boys who developed breasts after using Risperdal (risperidone).

Intended Uses
Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism.
What Are the Allegations?
Lawsuits allege that young boys developed gynecomastia after using Risperdal and that Janssen failed to provide adequate warnings for this and other risks associated with its drug.
What Is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a medical condition in which young boys experience an abnormal growth of breast tissue.
Type of Lawsuit
Mass Tort

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of Risperdal users who developed gynecomastia. These lawsuits allege that Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Risperdal, knew that its drug could cause abnormal breast growth in young men, yet failed to adequately warn doctors and patients about this risk. Despite knowing that safer and less expensive antipsychotic drugs were available, Janssen continued to market Risperdal as a safe and effective treatment, putting profits ahead of patient safety, the lawsuits claim.

Have you or a loved one developed gynecomastia? Do you have question about your legal rights? To learn more about filing a lawsuit, complete our free case review form today. There is no cost or obligation.

Why Are Lawsuits Being Filed?

Plaintiffs allege that Risperdal is defective in design, manufacture, and marketing. This means that Janssen allegedly failed to properly design, manufacture and test Risperdal before releasing it to the public, and as a result, provided patients with misleading information about the drug.

The lawsuits also allege the following:

  • Janssen knew that Risperdal could cause young boys to develop gynecomastia
  • Janssen promoted Risperdal for off-label uses (those not approved by the FDA), including the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents
  • Janssen concealed results from studies that linked Risperdal to serious side effects including gynecomastia, hyperprolactinemia (abnormally high levels of prolactin in the body), rapid weight gain, diabetes mellitus and tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movements, especially of the lower face)
  • Janssen participated in ghostwriting campaigns to promote Risperdal, including for off-label uses

One plaintiff claims that he began using Risperdal when he was just nine years old. After using the drug for several years, he was diagnosed with gynecomastia, and he claims a mastectomy is necessary to remove the excess breast tissue. In addition to abnormal breast growth, he alleges he also suffered from rapid weight gain and damage to his endocrine system and sexual organs.

Those taking legal action against Janssen are seeking compensation for bodily and mental injury, past and future medical expenses, disfigurement, embarrassment and pain and suffering.

How Does Risperdal Cause Gynecomastia?

Physicians believe that schizophrenia is the result of excessive dopamine in the body, which Risperdal works to regulate; however, suppressing dopamine may cause a release of the hormone prolactin, which is only found naturally in breastfeeding women and causes breast tissue to enlarge.

Numerous studies have linked Risperdal to increased levels of prolactin. One study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, found that prolactin levels in adolescent males increased significantly when they used Risperdal. Furthermore, another study found that even after patients stopped taking Risperdal, elevated prolactin levels remained in their systems for as long as two years, according to a 2009 publication in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

Are the Risperdal Lawsuits a Class Action?

This is not a class action lawsuit, but a mass tort. (For more information on the difference between these two forms of litigation, visit our page "Why Isn't This a Class Action?") Risperdal victims or loved ones acting on their behalf will need to file individual lawsuits to recover compensation for their specific losses. If you need to find an attorney or want more information on filing a lawsuit, contact ClassAction.org by using the form on the right. We have established relationships with attorneys across the country and may be able to connect you with someone who can help.

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?

Defective drug attorneys usually work on a contingency-fee basis. This means that you will only have to pay your attorney if your case is successful. In these cases, your attorney will typically collect one-third of your final verdict or settlement.

Were you or a loved one diagnosed with gynecomastia? If so, ClassAction.org would like you to know that there may still be time to join this growing litigation. For more information on whether you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries, fill out our free case review form today.

Jan 15, 2014
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Case Resources

Verkest et al. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals Complaint
Case number 14-cv-0106, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
United States ex rel. Lisitza and Kammerer, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al. Settlement
Case numbers 07-cv-10288 and 05-cv-11513, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology Study, April 2006
Researchers find that common doses of Risperdal prescribed to adolescents can significantly increase their prolactin levels and cause problems including gynecomastia.
Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology Study, August 2009
Researchers find that increased levels of prolactin levels caused by Risperdal can persist for at least two years after patients stop using the drug.