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Risperdal Lawsuit Loans
As a personal injury law firm, we seek compensation for clients who have suffered damages after taking a dangerous drug. In recent years an increasing number of lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson, manufacturers of the atypical antipsychotic drug marketed as Risperdal. In fact, numerous similar lawsuits have sprung up across the country, demonstrating just how many people’s lives have been devastated through being prescribed Risperdal. If you or your child suffered dangerous side effects after taking the drug Risperdal, contact us today to have your case evaluated. You may be entitled to significant compensation.
Risperdal: The Drug and its Uses
As an atypical antipsychotic medication, Risperdal is typically used to treat schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It is also sometimes prescribed to alleviate the irritability associated with autism. The drug has been prescribed to both children and adults. Risperidone, the active ingredient in Risperdal, moderates dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain.
Risperdal was first marketed by Johnson & Johnson in 1996. At the time, it had not received FDA approval for children. Nonetheless, company representatives officially began marketing the drug to doctors for use in children in 2003. Testimony in some Risperdal lawsuits has revealed that children were prescribed the drug even earlier than that. The FDA approved Risperdal for children in 2006 despite the fact that a Duke University study published in that same year concluded that the side effects for children taking Risperdal were anything but harmless. In fact, researchers had uncovered much higher than average incidents of gynecomastia in young boys who took the drug, and found that prepubescent girls were lactating after begin prescribed Risperdal.
The Troubling Side Effects of Risperdal
Most of the Risperdal lawsuits that have been filed in recent years relate to the development of gynecomastia in young boys and men. Gynecomastia is simply defined as breast growth in males. Risperdal causes this side effect by triggering the body to produce prolactin, which is a hormone commonly associated with lactation and breast development in females. Aside from causing the growth of male breast tissue, taking Risperdal may also prompt nipple discharge. Some victims of gynecomastia also report breast pain.
Treating gynecomastia is not always simple. Ceasing to take Risperdal generally does not reverse gynecomastia. That’s because scar tissue develops within a few months of the first signs of the side effect. Few drugs are available to treat the condition, unless it is in its earliest stages. In many cases, surgical intervention is required. Milder instances of gynecomastia may be reversed with liposuction. However, some boys and young men have been forced to undergo a mastectomy to resolve the problem.
The High Cost of Gynecomastia
The treatment of gynecomastia imposes a number of costs on the patient and their family. In many cases, medical insurance does not cover the entire cost of treatment. Families may find themselves buried under the expenses of surgery and a hospital stay.
Moreover, the victims of Risperdal suffer mental and emotional damage. They may be subjected to teasing and bullying by peers. Many young boys and men dealing with gynecomastia experience a significant loss of self-esteem. Their condition adversely affects their confidence, preventing them from pursuing their dreams. The cost of these lost opportunities is immeasurable.
Many drugs may cause serious and even harmful side effects. Physicians and other health care professionals fully disclose the possibility of these side effects and ensure that the patient understands these risks before prescribing a new medication.
However, in the case of Risperdal, Johnson & Johnson was encouraging doctors to prescribe a medication that had side effects that had not been fully tested, particularly in instances of the drug being prescribed to children. As a result, doctors were not able to make an adequate disclosure of the potential dangers of taking Risperdal.
In addition, Johnson & Johnson, as the manufacturer of Risperdal, failed to make adequate disclosures. Even as an increasing number of studies were revealing that the use of Risperdal by children could cause serious complications, the drug manufacturer continued to promote the drug. By the end of 2008, physicians were beginning to have serious reservations about the use of Risperdal by children. During an FDA meeting in November of that year, a group of doctors voiced their anxiety, but their warnings fell on deaf ears. The FDA refused to issue extra warnings about Risperdal side effects.
Johnson & Johnson Settling Risperdal Lawsuits
Hundreds of Risperdal lawsuits have already been filed across the country. Many of these relate to gynecomastia in young boys, but others deal with additional potential Risperdal side effects such as potential delays in puberty and the onset of diabetes.
In many of these cases, Johnson & Johnson has chosen to settle with the plaintiff before going to trial. Media speculation suggests that settlement is an attractive option to the drug manufacturer as it allows them to avoid having potentially damaging testimony presented. Johnson & Johnson also settled federal government charges which asserted that the company did not properly market Risperdal and other medications.
While the outcome of prior cases cannot be used to predict future results, Johnson & Johnson’s actions appear to tacitly accept responsibility for side effects allegedly caused by the use of Risperdal.
Seeking Compensation for Risperdal Side Effects
If you or a loved one was prescribed Risperdal and you believe that serious side effects resulted from use of the drug, contact us to have your case evaluated. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, emotional pain and other damages. Let our dangerous drug attorneys personally evaluate your case to determine whether or not you may have a claim.