Florida Risperdal Attorneys
Risperdal is an antipsychotic prescription drug used to treat certain mood and mental disorders. A number of Risperdal users have filed lawsuits against the drug’s manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. These lawsuits are claiming that Risperdal caused a wide range of harmful side effects, namely gynecomastia, or the development of male breasts.
What Is Risperdal?
Risperdal treats mental disorders and mood issues such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and some of the irritability and behavioral problems that are associated with autism. The medication works to help patients think more clearly and be more stable and equipped for everyday challenges. Some doctors prescribe the medication for off-label uses, or uses that haven’t received FDA approval. These may include treatment for anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Risperdal’s active ingredient is risperidone. It first received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993.
Risperdal is an atypical antipsychotic drug. This class of drugs is also known as second generation antipsychotics. They primarily work by blocking the receptors that are located in the dopamine pathways of the brain. While atypical antipsychotics are generally perceived to be safer than typical or first generation antipsychotics, they are still known to create a range of severe complications in users.
Risperdal Side Effects
Rispderdal users have reported side effects such as:
- Fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms
- Sweating and confusion
- Restless muscle movements and stiff muscles
- Uneven and fast breaths
- Drooling and tremor, or uncontrolled shaking
- Seizures and convulsions
The majority of Risperdal lawsuits have been filed over the development of gynecomastia, or male breasts. Gynecomastia occurs when patients experience a hormone imbalance, which may result in the appearance of female breasts. In some cases, only one breast is affected or each breast is affected differently. Gynecomastia patients may also experience development of excess glandular tissue which may cause the affected nipple to become enlarged and tender.
A number of males who have developed Risperdal gynecomastia have experienced significant emotional and psychological damage due to the embarrassment of the appearance of breasts. Risperdal lawsuits have been filed by several young men who have been victims of teasing and bullying that result from the social stigma of male breasts. These individuals who file a Risperdal lawsuit may seek general damages for mental and emotional suffering, as well as special damages for the costs related to gynecomastia treatment, such as hormonal therapy or surgical breast removal.
Other Side Effects
Risperdal patients may also develop medical conditions such as:
- Leukopenia, or decreased white blood cells, which can lead to increased blood bacteria levels and subsequent infections which may become fatal
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), a deadly neurological condition which causes symptoms such as high fever, unstable blood pressure, and autonomic dysfunction
- Tardive dyskinesia, which causes involuntary muscle movements, particularly in the face and limbs
- Bone loss and decreased bone mineral density (BMD) due to increased prolactin levels in the body
Risperdal Legal Issues
Johnson & Johnson also faces issues due to its illegal marketing of Risperdal. Claims state that as early as 2003, Risperdal sales representatives received training to market the drug for treatment in children and adolescents. However, the drug did not receive FDA approval for treatment in children until August 2007. Furthermore, the company has been accused of failing to fully disclose the benefits and risks for use in children. This deceptive marketing has resulted in nearly $2 billion in fines for manufacturers.
Current Risperdal Lawsuits
Johnson & Johnson has been sued by hundreds of patients, as well as several states for its marketing misconduct. In 2012, the company offered a settlement for these claims. In addition, Johnson & Johnson as well as Janssen Pharmaceuticals face a number of Risperdal lawsuit claims stating that the product packaging and marketing were misleading to consumers. Others claim that manufacturers were aware of the potential harm that Risperdal could cause, but failed to properly warn the public of these dangers.
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“Risperdal (risperidone).” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 12 Oct 2014. <http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/ucm175826.htm>.
Thomas, Katie. “J.&J. Fined $1.2 Billion in Drug Case.”New York Times 12 Apr 2012, B1. Web. 12 Oct. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/business/drug-giant-is-fined-1-2-billion-in-arkansas.html?_r=0>.