Risperdal (risperidone) is a medication originally manufactured by Johnson & Johnson that is prescribed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar I mania. It is also prescribed to treat behavioral issues in adolescents. Despite its pharmacological value, unfortunately, there are many serious Risperdal side effects which have led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warnings regarding its use.
Even though the drug has shown a positive effect in relieving psychotic symptoms, the seriousness of Risperdal side effects has caused the FDA to recommend that Risperdal only be prescribed in its lowest effective dose. The recommendation also suggested that the drug’s efficacy for a given patient be re-evaluated on a regular basis.
History of Risperdal Side Effects and Risperdal Lawsuits
In 1994, Risperdal was first approved by the FDA as a treatment for schizophrenia. The medication has been approved for use in the treatment of schizophrenia among adolescents, age 14-17. The FDA also approved use of the drug to treat bipolar I disorder in adults and children, age 10-17.
Since its introduction to U.S. markets, Risperdal side effects have become so severe that the FDA has issued an order that a black box warning be added to its product labels. In recent years, public awareness of Risperdal side effects has grown. There have been several Risperdal lawsuits brought against it’s manufacturer including one in 2012 that resulted in a $181 million settlement.
One of the more serious Risperdal side effects is Gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is a condition characterized by enlargement of male breasts. In males, the drug suppresses secretion of testosterone and elevates levels of prolactin, a hormone produced by the pituitary gland which stimulates lactation in pregnant females. This change in prolactin and testosterone levels in males, results in enlarged male breast tissue.
The severity of Gynecomastia is assessed according to the following grading system:
- Grade I:Minor enlargement, no skin excess
- Grade II:Moderate enlargement, no skin excess
- Grade III:Moderate enlargement, skin excess
- Grade IV:Marked enlargement, skin excess
Additional side effects associated with Gynecomastia, include:
- Milk Production
- Diminished Sex Drive
- Erectile Dysfunction
- TREATMENT OF GYNECOMASTIA
Depending upon the length of time a patient has used the drug, and the seriousness of the Risperdal side effects experienced discontinuation of use may lead to a lessening of Risperdal side effects over time. In certain cases, physicians may prescribe medications to counteract the effects of the drug. In all cases where a change in drug regimen is contemplated, a physician must be consulted. A tapering of use must be supervised by a physician in order to lessen or prevent the onset of serious and harmful withdrawal symptoms.
If gynecomastia has been evident for more than one year, surgical intervention is usually needed. A surgeon may simply remove some breast tissue via a mastectomy. Several methods may be used to assist in the removal of the excess breast tissue, such as the use of laser treatment and liposuction. Unfortunately, most insurance plans do not cover corrective procedures for gynecomastia because they categorize the procedures as medically unnecessarily, or for cosmetic purposes only.
You May Have a Risperdal Lawsuit
Anyone who has experienced any of the Risperdal side effects as noted above should immediately call the Risperdal Lawyers of Nadrich & Cohen at (800) 718-4658. A member of our Drug Injury Team will provide a free case evaluation. We are actively pursuing Risperdal Side Effect claims and Risperdal Lawsuits throughout all 50 states. Do not delay, call today – you may be running out of time to file a Risperdal lawsuit. We never collect a fee, unless a recovery is made.