DEC 23, 2016 1:42 PM PST

Men Sue J&J Over Breast Growth Side Effect

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

A Johnson & Johnson drug approved for the treatment of a handful of mood or mental disorders is coming under fire for causing unwanted male breast development.

Image credit: Pixabay.com

Risperdal was approved in the US market in the early 1990s. It is prescribed mainly as an antipsychotic, for the treatment of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. It is also prescribed as a mood stabilizer for irritability in people with autism.

However, among the drug’s side effects, patients say there another one that they were not told about: gynecomastia, or development of male breasts. Specifically a group of men who took the drug in the early 2000’s say that gynecomastia was not disclosed to them clearly.

In total, the new lawsuit will represent 13,000 patients who Jason Itkin, the lead lawyer, say were “injured by the drug.”

Among the patients is Eddie Bible. Bible recounts having taken Risperdal for the treatment of anxiety and bipolar disorder when he was 13. "They put me on this Risperdal. The doctors said, 'Well, Risperdal was helping some.' To me, it didn't really help, because a year and a half later, I had gynecomastia."

Bible’s side effects were so bad that he thought at one point he would have to get a training bra. He also vividly recalls being publicly shamed for his appearance. "I'd go to the locker room, and people would point and stare. Everybody picking on you for being a boy with boobs. ... It's just ... depressing,” said Bible.

It wasn’t until 2006 that the manufacturers disclosed gynecomastia as a side effect of Risperdal. And that was too little too late for Bible and the thousands of others who had already taken the drug without full knowledge of how the drug would affect their bodies. "If I knew what the side effects would be of the medication, I would have never taken it," Bible said

"Looking back on it, I feel like an experiment," he said.

This is not the first time Risperdal has been in the legal spotlight. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson settled a multimillion dollar lawsuit for promoting the drug can treat dementia without sufficient evidence or approval.

For Bible and others like him, suing Johnson & Johnson for disfigurement goes beyond monetary compensation. They want to make sure that a drug company that helps treat conditions in kids live up to the highest standards so as to avoid future damages, the likes of which they’ve had to endure.

However, the road to getting compensation may be harder than expected. Earlier this week, a Pennsylvania judge ruled to dismiss the case on the grounds of "inadequate" expert testimony. The decision is currently being appealed.

Additional sources: CNN

About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
MAY 18, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Library Prep Methods for SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing: a Summary
MAY 18, 2021
Library Prep Methods for SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing: a Summary
As the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to mutate, rapid sequencing of COVID-19-positive samples is more critical than ever. N ...
MAY 20, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Ovarian Cancer Screening More Beneficial for Early Cancer Detection
MAY 20, 2021
Ovarian Cancer Screening More Beneficial for Early Cancer Detection
A UK-based research study has shown that while ovarian cancer screening is beneficial for detecting cancers earlier, it ...
JUN 04, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Neurotechnology and Saliva Tests Detect Psychoactive Effects of Cannabis
JUN 04, 2021
Neurotechnology and Saliva Tests Detect Psychoactive Effects of Cannabis
Researchers from contract research organization, KGK Science, working on behalf of neurotechnology firm Zentrela, have f ...
AUG 10, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
New CRISPR Device Diagnoses COVID in an Hour, Detects Variants
AUG 10, 2021
New CRISPR Device Diagnoses COVID in an Hour, Detects Variants
A team of engineers from MIT and Harvard University has developed a COVID diagnostic device with a tiny footprint but hu ...
AUG 19, 2021
Cancer
Vitamin D Reduces Risk of Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer
AUG 19, 2021
Vitamin D Reduces Risk of Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most diagnosed type of cancer in both men and women in the United States and CRC in ...
SEP 07, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Dogs Can Pick Up the 'Seizure Smell', Alert Their Owners
SEP 07, 2021
Dogs Can Pick Up the 'Seizure Smell', Alert Their Owners
Dogs offer so much more than companionship and unconditional love. New research shows that for patients with epilepsy, t ...
Loading Comments...