Risperdal is a popular antipsychotic medication used to treat a number of disorders, including some behavioral issues associated with autism and bipolar disorder.  It is often prescribed to those with schizophrenia, or those with a schizoaffective disorder.  Approved for use in 1994, the drug’s manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, has repeatedly come under fire for its marketing of the product and the complications it can cause.  Johnson & Johnson has had to pay billions of dollars for damages associated with the product, making it one of the most controversial medications in FDA history.

HOW DOES RISPERDAL WORK?

This medication operates on a number of receptors in the brain, producing a huge range of effects.  It works on dopamine receptors, acting as an antagonist and altering function in the limbic system, prefrontal cortex, and central nervous system.  It also acts as an antagonist on a number of serotonin receptors and adrenergic receptors.  The widespread alteration of brain chemistry means the drug can often cause effects that are hard to predict.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON SIDE EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS MEDICATION?

In addition to a number of gastrointestinal side effects, researchers have linked the use of this drug with some serious problems in a patient, including heart problems and severe motor disorders.  Gynecomastia, which is the growth or enlargement of male breast tissue is the most notorious side effect associated with the drug’s usage and is probably the main reason patients have filed lawsuits.  Gynecomastia is the result of benign breast tissue forming in males and can cause permanent changes in body shape.

Several studies have confirmed the undeniable link between this medication and Gynecomastia, including a 2006 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.  In the study, researchers found that this drug was responsible for altering levels of the hormone prolactin in children, a hormone that is responsible for lactation and the development of breast tissue.  In 2009, a study was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology confirming the linkage, and found that altered levels of prolactin could remain for up to two years.

HAVE ANY LAWSUITS BEEN FILED BY PATIENTS WHO HAVE USED RISPERDAL?

Johnson & Johnson has faced a number of fines and cases regarding the use of the medication and it’s marketing.  An Arkansas judge fined Johnson & Johnson $1.2 billion in 2012 after the jury determined that the company had misled consumers regarding the drug’s risks.

In 2013, the company agreed to pay a $2.2 billion settlement after allegations that Johnson & Johnson was engaged in illegal marketing tactics.  These techniques pushed overmedication of the mentally disabled, children, and the elderly.

Since 2012, Johnson & Johnson has also paid out regular settlements for cases involving Gynecomastia and the trauma it can cause.  Those who suffer from this disorder often endure severe psychological distress, and many have to undergo surgery to correct the problem.  More than 100 lawsuits associated with Gynecomastia have been filed against Johnson & Johnson to date.

If you or a loved one has been injured by Risperdal, you may be entitled to compensation and should contact Terry Bryant immediately. We are handling lawsuits nationwide concerning this drug and its side effects.