It is painful enough to have a child with a psychological disorder. To see that same child suffer physically due to the adverse side effects of a defective medication is more than any parent should have to experience. What if it was a male child who developed enlarged breasts and had to endure the trauma of having a radical mastectomy? This is an actual scenario that has been repeated countless times due to the adverse affects of a drug called Risperdal.
Approved by the FDA, strictly for adult use in the treatment of schizophrenia, Risperdal (Risperidone) is an anti-psychotic drug that is produced by the mega drug company, Johnson and Johnson. The FDA then gave its nod to the treatment of children and adolescents beginning in 2006. These are the only conditions and ages approved by the FDA for treatment.
- 2006 – FDA approved for the treatment of irritability in autistic children and adolescents ages 5 – 16
- 2007 – FDA approved for controlling bipolar disorder in children and adolescents ages 5 -16.
- 2007 – FDA approved for the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents ages 13-17
Although not approved by the FDA, physicians have widely prescribed Risperdal for several other conditions. This practice is known as off label prescribing. The off label conditions that Risperdal is often used to treat includes:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Child Behavioral Problems
- Tourette Syndrome
There are many adverse affects that have been associated with the use of Risperdal in children and adolescents. One of which is twitching and other involuntary motions that can actually mimic Tourette Syndrome, a condition the Risperdal is, at times, prescribed to treat. Others are rapid weight gain, diabetes and decreased bone density (osteoporosis). The most well known adverse reactions of Risperdal, however, are the issues that are caused by the increased levels of prolactin from resulting benign pituitary tumors. Prolactin is a hormone responsible for producing milk in females after childbirth. These conditions are galactorreah (abnormal lactation) Gynecomastia (male breast growth) and impotency, due to drastically reduced testosterone levels. Discovering the increased prolactin early, through tests, and stopping the drug is key to reversing the affects before the conditions worsen. The only treatment for breast development in males is a mastectomy. This is a radical surgical procedure which can have traumatic results on the fragile mind of a psychologically disturbed child or adolescent. To parent any child or adolescent who has been diagnosed with a psychological disorder is very painful. For the male child endure the embarrassment of Gynecomastia followed by the trauma of surgery is excruciating for the parent and child alike. To know that it could have been prevented is the highest degree of exasperation.
Johnson and Johnson, and their subsidiary Jansen Pharmaceuticals, has already settled lawsuits in 36 states in excess of $180 million. This amount is miniscule in comparison the huge jury awards, handed down in several states, that are being appealed by the drug giant. These include:
- Arkansas – $1.2 billion
- South Carolina – $327 million including a $300.00 penalty for each sample box provided and $4000.00 for each marketing letter sent to doctors.
- Texas – $158 million
- Louisiana – $257 million
There is also a reported settlement in the works between the Federal government and J&J in the area of $2 billion. This has not been publicly confirmed.
The lawsuits allege that Johnson and Johnson was aware of the potential adverse affects of Risperdal and did not adequately provide warning to doctors and consumers. Claims are made that it engaged in deceptive marketing practices, concealing facts that were known to them about the hazards of the drug to developing young bodies.
If your child or young adult was harmed by the use of Risperdal you should contact a law firm that has the skilled attorneys and resources to fight the big drug company for the compensation to which you are entitled. Do not hesitate in setting up a consultation with a qualified attorney as the time for filing a suit is limited. The attorney is prepared to fight relentlessly for you and your child. (833) 606-DRUG .