We are seeing more and more legal claims alleging Risperdal and Invega are causing young men to grow breasts. These cases have mostly been resolved as of 2022 after a global settlement was reached late last year. We are leaving this post up for informational purposes. Our lawyers are no longer seeking new claims.
Gynecomastia is a benign condition characterized by the enlargement of breast tissue in males. It is caused by an imbalance between the hormones estrogen and testosterone. Estrogen, typically considered a female hormone, is responsible for the growth of breast tissue, while testosterone, generally thought of as a male hormone, inhibits breast tissue growth. When the balance between these hormones is disrupted, breast tissue may grow in males, leading to gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia can affect males of any age, from infants to older adults. However, it is most commonly seen during three specific stages of life: infancy, puberty, and older adulthood. In these periods, hormonal changes are more likely to occur, leading to the development of gynecomastia.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
There are several factors that can contribute to the hormonal imbalance causing gynecomastia, including:
- Natural hormone fluctuations: As mentioned earlier, hormonal changes during infancy, puberty, and older adulthood may lead to gynecomastia.
- Medications: Certain medications can disrupt hormonal balance and cause gynecomastia, including anti-androgens, anabolic steroids, HIV medications, anti-anxiety medications, and certain antibiotics, among others.
- Health conditions: Some medical conditions, such as hypogonadism, hyperthyroidism, kidney failure, and liver disease, can affect hormone levels and lead to gynecomastia.
- Substance use: The use of alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, heroin, or anabolic steroids may contribute to the development of gynecomastia.
- Herbal products: Some plant oils, such as lavender and tea tree oil, have been linked to gynecomastia due to their weak estrogenic activity.
The battlefield in the litigation is defendant try to point to all of thee things other than Risperdal.
Symptoms of Gynecomastia
Symptoms of gynecomastia include enlargement of one or both breasts, tenderness or pain in the breast area, and sometimes, the presence of a rubbery or firm mass underneath the nipple. In some cases, gynecomastia may resolve on its own, particularly in adolescents. However, if the condition is persistent or causing significant discomfort, treatment options are available, including medication and surgery.
Gynecomastia and Risperdal
Risperdal, also known by its generic name risperidone, is an atypical antipsychotic medication used primarily to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with autism. Although Risperdal is effective in treating these conditions, it has been linked to the development of gynecomastia, or the enlargement of breast tissue in males.
The association between Risperdal and gynecomastia is believed to be due to the drug’s effect on the hormone prolactin. Risperdal may increase prolactin levels in the body, which can cause an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone. Estrogen is responsible for breast tissue growth, while testosterone inhibits it. When prolactin levels are elevated, it can lead to an increase in estrogen activity and a reduction in testosterone production, resulting in the growth of breast tissue in males.
The risk of developing gynecomastia due to Risperdal varies among individuals and may be influenced by factors such as dosage, duration of treatment, and the patient’s age. Adolescents and young adults may be at a higher risk, as their hormones are already in flux during this stage of life.
Gynecomastia caused by Risperdal can have significant psychological and emotional impacts on affected individuals, leading to embarrassment, social anxiety, and self-esteem issues. It is really difficult for these young men. In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the excess breast tissue.
The Allegations in Plaintiffs’ Lawsuits
Plaintiffs don’t whine in legal papers filed with the court that all drugs should be made safely. Instead, the suits allege inadequate warnings were given to consumers and doctors about the risk of developing breasts following use of the drug.
Why would Johnson & Johnson not let consumers know about the possible harms this drug could cause? Well, one possibility is that they were worried that profits would sink if they were honest about the medication’s side effects. Sound like a pretty sinister suggestion that should be taken with a grain of salt coming from someone who is writing a blog post that will conveniently at the end ask you to call him if you have a case (actually not the case in 2023 but you get the point).
Okay. Fair enough. But just read this. You also might read about the $1.2 billion dollar hit J&J took after a jury found that the company minimized or concealed the dangers of this drug. We know from the jury verdict that J&J knew Risperdal had the potential to cause diabetes, diabetes-related injuries, and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular complications, but allegedly failed to properly disclose these facts on their packaging and manipulated studies to guarantee the results would not show these complications.
Keep in mind what Risperdal is used for: bi-polar disorders, autism, aggression, and behavior problems. Aren’t these the same kids that are most susceptible to struggle with the emotional pain that is going to come with developing breasts? So we are basically throwing flames on a fire here. You are putting compromised kids in an even tougher spot because you want to sell as much of your drug as possible. It is just not how it should be.
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