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Risperdal Litigation Ongoing

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Helena, MTCharlie started taking Risperdal soon after it was FDA-approved to treat teens with bipolar disorder. He was 14 years old at the time and starting to get interested in girls. “Nobody ever told me that I would develop breasts after taking this drug. My hormones are so out of whack that I even have female thoughts,” says Charlie.

Now age 22, Charlie (not his real name) says he doesn’t really think much about women but emphatically states that he is not gay. Charlie recently discovered Risperdal lawsuits and the often irreparable Rispderal side effects. All this time, he had no idea - not even his doctor connected the dots with Risperdal. “I want to get off this med immediately but my doctor said that I have to taper off it slowly,” he explains. “People who don’t know me think I am gay but I’ve never had a homosexual urge in my life. I really don’t know how to handle my emotions.”

Charlie has symptoms of gynecomastia: he has developed male breasts. He says they are quite small but he worries that they are still growing. One Risperdal lawsuit involved a man who required a double mastectomy.

As well, Risperdal can cause the pituitary gland to produce more prolactin, which is responsible for breast development and can cause the pituitary to grow, which in turn can lead to pituitary tumors. These tumors can develop into further health problems like vision issues, internal bleeding, headaches, and, ironically, seizures - Risperdal is prescribed to treat seizures, not cause them.

“I have never analyzed when or how I started to get female thoughts and sometimes I have feminine-type behavior that seems out of my control,” says Charlie. “I just know it happened. And it is ongoing.”

Risperdal was approved to treat bipolar disorder for minors between the ages of 10 and 17 in 2007. But when Charlie was prescribed Risperdal, there was no warning of possible gynecomastia risks, despite Jansen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and the drugmaker, knowing of such side effects.

Johnson & Johnson recently settled state court suits over its marketing and plaintiffs’ claims about the drug’s side effects: Arkansas is due to collect $7.5 million. But Risperdal litigation is ongoing. The world’s top-ranking pharmaceutical company by revenue still faces more than 1,000 Risperdal lawsuits alleging their medication caused breast development in boys. A Philadelphia jury recently ordered J&J to pay about $2.5 million to a young man like Charlie: he too had developed breasts while taking Risperdal. The jury decided that J&J had failed to warn about gynecomastia. This decision is possibly good news for Charlie.

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