"For years, no one told me why I was gaining so much weight and developed breasts-I found out from an infomercial".
Albuquerque NMWhen Daniel was 17 years old, life was good. He was the star of his high school baseball team, he was in top form. But within a few years his life went sideways and Daniel wound up in the psych ward, "forced" to take Risperdal.
Daniel, age 32, says he started partying and getting into fights. He dropped out of school, hit the streets and by age 19, he'd spent a few months in jail. "Then I was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, and I agree with that diagnosis to some extent. But I didn't agree with them injecting me with Risperdal when I was in the psych ward," says Daniel. "All I remember is signing forms. No one told me about any medication I was taking, or if there were any side effects."
And no one told Daniel, who is 5' 9", why he gained more than 100 pounds, or why he was developing breasts. He now weighs 280 pounds. "My medical records show that I have gynecomastia, but not one doctor will talk to me about it," says Daniel. "I have told my GP and my psychiatrist that I am getting involved in a Risperdal lawsuit--my lawyer has told me to speak with my GP and a plastic surgeon-- but they don't want any part of it, even though I am diagnosed with gynecomastia. What else could have caused it?
"They say that my weight gain has nothing to do with Risperdal; they say I'm just a big guy and have to exercise more and eat healthier foods. But I do eat healthy and I work out, and it doesn't help. No matter what I do, I can't lose weight."
Daniel asked his doctor to lower his dosage of Risperdal (he is taking 3mg) or try another drug but he can't function mentally without. "I get running thoughts, like a monkey brain out of control, and the paranoia comes rushing in…"
When Daniel saw that infomercial about Risperdal lawsuits, he was mad. "All this time I thought it was my fault that I was gaining all this weight and got these breasts," he says, "but when I researched Risperdal I discovered other men with similar issues. It was nice to know that I'm not alone."
Daniel is currently on disability and he has tried to find a doctor who will listen to him, but it isn't easy. And he can't go more than a few days without meds. "I had a job recently helping people with developmental disabilities. I was also a phone interviewer for six months but there's always too much pressure and stress," he explains. "People snicker at me behind my back, but I try to ignore them. And because of my breasts I never take my shirt off-I am so embarrassed.
"Four years ago I found a lawyer to take my claim but at this point it's just a waiting game, waiting for settlement talks. I still don't know for sure if I qualify for a Risperdal settlement, even though I've been through a lot. And I didn't ask for this. I just have to roll with the punches and make the best of it."
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