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Risperdal and Growing Male Breasts a Continuing Issue

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Albany, NYThe manufacturers of Risperdal have been facing the financial music in Risperdal lawsuits of late, with a $15.5 million settlement with the State of Kentucky over allegations the Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit of Johnson & Johnson failed to disclose risks, and marketed the drug off-label. That was soon followed by the $70 million dollar Risperdal side effects lawsuit win by plaintiff Andrew Yount, who alleged Risperdal caused him to grow male breasts.

Combined, that’s an $85.5 million hit.

However, such a cost is no match for the pain, suffering and embarrassment caused through Risperdal gynecomastia, the scientific moniker for male breast tissue. Indeed, otherwise firm pectoral muscles can become hidden by layers of fat due to poor diet or a sedentary lifestyle. However, even active young men who observe a healthy diet have reported male breast growth in association with use of Risperdal, a drug in the antipsychotic class.

Plaintiffs in Risperdal side effects lawsuits claim that Janssen hid the risk for Risperdal gynecomastia from consumers. This appears to be borne out in comments made by the mother of one Risperdal gynecomastia patient from New Zealand when she called Janssen to express concern about what was happening to her son. In an interview given to a TV station in New Zealand, Pam Wilson said that the answer she got from Janssen’s Auckland office was “’No, [Risperdal] doesn’t do that. Don’t worry about it.’”

However, plaintiffs continue to hold Janssen’s feet to the fire over continuing allegations that yes, Risperdal does do that. And the cost to Janssen in terms of settlements and court awards pales in comparison to the embarrassment and shame felt by young men already dealing with a myriad of issues as adolescents during a challenging time in world history.

“All through college I was teased, couldn’t take part in the activities [the campus] had for [Physical Education], and outdoor education…I didn’t want to go there, kayaking and swimming and stuff like that I didn’t want to take part in,” Sam Wilson told C LIVE in Auckland, New Zealand in 2014.

“I was ashamed, really…”

A more recent Risperdal lawsuit was filed earlier this summer by a man from Albany, New York after he was prescribed Risperdal at the age of 9. That was in 2002. Shaquil Byrd continued with Risperdal for five years until 2007. By then, his Risperdal gynecomastia was so advanced that his male breasts were actually secreting fluid, as a nursing mother might. Secretions are a possibility in the most serious of cases.

An endocrinologist noted in court documents that Byrd’s gynecomastia was one of the worst cases of male breasts he had ever come across. The Risperdal side effects were also a source of taunting and bullying for Byrd, who told WIVB 4 in Albany (06/14/16) that the experience has left him emotionally scarred for the remainder of his life.

“Once I realized that I did have breasts, like actual breast tissue, it made me feel even more messed up,” Byrd said in comments to WIVB 4. “Because as a male, I’m not supposed to have breast tissue.” His male breasts were subsequently surgically removed.

Risperdal and Growing Male Breasts are headlines that don’t appear to bother Janssen & Johnson & Johnson, which released a statement to WIVB 4. “We believe there is no evidence that Risperdal caused any harm to this patient, who stopped taking the medication eight years before receiving a diagnosis of gynecomastia. We will continue to defend ourselves in this litigation.”

The Risperdal lawsuit is Byrd v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. et al, Case No. 1:2014-cv-00820, filed in New York Northern District Court.


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