Risperdal & Gynecomastia

risperdal pill labelRisperdal is a long-term antipsychotic treatment that has been placed under intense media scrutiny in recent years due to its unanticipated side effects. Studies show men who have taken the drug may have an increased risk of developing abnormal breast tissue swelling known as gynecomastia.

Nadrich & Cohen, LLP is a very successful and experienced dangerous drug side effect law firm that has been following Risperdal litigation for the past few years. So far, at least five Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits have gone to trial – and won. Settlements have occurred in several states, with more likely to follow.

Our highly credential personal injury attorneys have recovered more than $350,000,000 in settlements for our clients. If necessary, we are prepared to go to bat for you to win the jury award you deserve for your undue pain and suffering. Best of all, we always work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront costs necessary to pursue your legal claim. Call us at (800) 718-4658 now for immediate legal assistance.

Is it true that Risperdal causes breast growth in men?

Middle-aged men using Risperdal are 69 percent more likely to develop larger breasts than men who are not taking antipsychotic drugs, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology on August 6, 2014. When compared to similar drugs like Seroquel or Zyprexa, a Risperdal user was 40 percent more likely to develop enlarged breasts (sometimes up to a 38D cup in size). Dr. Mahyar Etminan and colleagues looked at 8,285 men with gynecomastia and 82,850 control subjects to reach their conclusion. Fierce Pharma has reported that up to 3.8 percent of adolescent males who took the drug developed breasts.

How does Risperidone cause gynecomastia?

Researchers hypothesized that the higher prolactin levels in Risperdal may have triggered hormonal changes that led to increases in male breast tissue.

Gynecomastia symptoms

Gynecomastia refers to the enlargement of glandular tissue, rather than fatty tissue. Symptoms include:

  • Growth of male breast tissue beyond 0.5 cm in diameter
  • Typically symmetrical, occurring on both sides of the nipple
  • Enlargement has a rubbery or firm feeling
  • No response to efforts to diet or strength-train
  • Tenderness and sensitivity possible
  • Breast milk production

Sometimes breast tissue swells in response to normal changes during puberty. It is believed 75 percent of all cases resolve on their own within a year. Doctors will conduct a thorough examination to rule out other possibilities, such as cysts, benign tumors, breast cancer, tissue inflammation, hematoma, or fat tissue damage.

Is Risperdal gynecomastia reversible?

According to Dr. George Isaac MD, reporting in Psychiatry Annals in April 2015, Risperdal-related gynecomastia “detected early is a much more reversible condition than if it goes undetected for one year or longer.” If caught early, simply stopping the drug may reduce breast tissue size within six months to a year.

However, many grown men and teenage boys have silently suffered the humiliation of Risperdal-induced gynecomastia for many years, never knowing the true cause, so their recourse includes more invasive measures like mastectomy or liposuction. The process of removing breast tissue may cause other unwanted side effects like infection, breast asymmetry, changes in sensation, skin necrosis, scarring, or deformity.

Worse yet, many insurance companies refuse to cover the cost, claiming that these procedures are “cosmetic,” which leaves patients with substantial medical bills. Physical correction aside, men with gynecomastia suffer tremendous psychological side effects and often endure cruel ridicule as adolescents and intimacy problems as adults.

Risperdal breasts: who is liable?

The first Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuit was filed in 2008 by a 21-year-old man who had been taking the drug since he was nine years old. The lawsuit claimed he had suffered tremendous emotional distress and humiliation as a result of his unnatural breast development – which, the plaintiff and his attorney contended, was due to the manufacturer’s lack of sufficient testing to ensure the product was safe and without side effects, as well as their lack of warning once reports of gynecomastia became apparent. Manufacturer Johnson & Johnson settled with the plaintiff for an undisclosed sum four years later, just before the scheduled trial.

In the spring of 2014, J&J settled with the state of Montana for $5.9 million after the attorney general accused the company of unfair and deceptive marketing practices that included misleading claims and concealing side effects of Risperdal. Though they have not formally admitted any wrongdoing, the company has paid out similar settlements to South Carolina, Texas, and Louisiana. Hundreds of mass tort lawsuits are still pending in New Jersey and Pennsylvania courts.

In July 2016, a Philadelphia jury awarded a plaintiff $70 million in the fifth (and largest) case to make it to trial. Lawyers showed a significant link between the drug and the plaintiff’s abnormal breast tissue growth. Additionally, they furnished internal documents show that the company “intentionally falsified, destroyed or concealed records” that would have alerted the medical community to the product’s known risks.

Average Risperdal breast growth settlement

There is no guarantee that your Risperdal case will result in a multi-million dollar settlement, as each case is very different. It all depends upon how well your attorney can establish a causal link between your Risperdal use and the growth of breast tissue. Other possible causes of gynecomastia must be ruled out, such as weight, genetics, other drug use, history of abnormal growths, or puberty changes.

Risperdal attorneys work hard to show that the pharmaceutical company defectively designed the drug, knew of the risks associated with the product, and intentionally covered up this knowledge in their marketing and communications with medical professionals.

Generally, we see the highest court awards and settlements when the link can be established through significant medical documentation and there is proof that the plaintiff suffered tremendously for a long time. No matter what, it pays to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to receive the strongest representation in court, especially when you are up against big pharmaceutical company lawyers.

For a free consultation with Nadrich & Cohen, LLP, please contact our office today.