Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with Autism in children. While these uses are approved by the FDA today, the drug was not approved for use in children when it was originally released in 1993. Despite that restriction, the drug’s manufacturers Ortho-McNeil-Janssen (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) marketed the drug for uses in children. Years later, some children who were prescribed Risperdal for treatment of mental disorders began to experience serious side effects associated with the drug- particularly gynecomastia (male breast growth).
Lawsuits against OMJ and Johnson & Johnson for Risperdal began in 2010. The suits claimed not only that the manufacturers improperly marketed the drug for use in children, but also that the drug itself contained defects which caused the male breast growth.
Risperdal’s manufacturers also marketed the drug for use in treating dementia in the elderly- though again, the FDA has not approved the drug for such use. In fact, recent FDA research reveals that Risperdal can cause up to a 1.7% increase in death from various health problems, including heart disease and pneumonia. These serious side effects lead the FDA to include its most severe warning on Risperdal’s packaging- a black box label.
Not surprisingly, lawsuits filed by patients who have experienced gynecomastia, heart disease and death were not the beginnings of trouble for OMJ and Johnson & Johnson. In 2010 Risperdal manufacturers began settling federal lawsuits brought by the government for paying kickbacks to multiple medical facilities in exchange for their physicians prescribing the drug, both for its approved and off-label uses. So far, Risperdal’s manufacturers have paid almost $2.5 billion to settle these claims.
Even when used for its approved purposes, Risperdal may still cause an increased danger in its users, including neuroleptic malignant syndrome – a rare and life-threatening neuromuscular disease. While not necessarily life-threatening, Risperdal may also cause an increased risk in the development of chronic Tardive Dyskensia – another type of neuromuscular disease which causes involuntary movements of the facial muscles and tongue.
If you or someone you know have experienced gynecomastia, heart disease, pneumonia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, tardive dyskensia, or death following the use of Risperdal, you may be entitled to recover for your injuries and losses. Additionally, it may be proven that OMJ and Johnson & Johnson intentionally marketed Risperdal for non-approved uses and intentionally undersold the serious risks associated with the drug. In this case, Risperdal’s manufacturers may be required to pay punitive damages- money paid by wrongdoers as punishment for their wrongful acts. For more information on Risperdal or for a free consultation and case evaluation, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group. 727-451-6900.