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Thousands of Risperdal lawsuits have been filed in recent years by distraught families when the drug they trusted to help their sons with autism or ADHD brought devastating side effects instead.

Risperdal, known generically as risperidone, is known as a second-generation antipsychotic. It targets both serotonin as well as dopamine, so researchers believe it may be more effective than other similar drugs in treating symptoms.

It was first approved in 1993 as a treatment for schizophrenia in both adolescents and adults. Since then, it has been additionally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat bipolar disorder as well as certain aggressive forms of autism spectrum disorders.

Sometimes doctors prescribe Risperdal “off-label,” or outside of approved purposes, for ADHD, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.

Many parents of children who have been prescribed Risperdal have seen a marked improvement in the symptoms of their children.

For example, a 2002 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at autistic children between the ages of 5 and 17. They found that those who took Risperdal reduced their tantrums, self-harm, and aggression by 57 percent. Those who took a placebo saw a 14 percnet reduction in symptoms. For those children who took Risperdal, after six months of taking the drug nearly 70 percent continued to exhibit improvements.

Risperdal Side Effects

However, Risperdal comes with a potential of devastating side effects, the reason behind the thousands of Risperdal lawsuits filed in recent years.

Risperdal has been connected with a condition known as gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is a condition in which abnormal breast growth is seen in males. It is thought that risperidone stimulates the production of prolactin. While present in both males and females, high levels of prolactin are what produces milk production in lactating females and breast growth in females.

High levels of prolactin in a male can cause him to grow abnormally large breasts. As can be guessed, gynecomastia has devastating side effects both physically as well as emotionally on adolescent and young boys.

Because of these side effects, thousands of Risperdal lawsuits have been filed. In the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas alone, there are 5,800 Risperdal lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson. As of July 2016, more than 12,000 Risperdal lawsuits were pending against Johnson & Johnson in the United States as a whole.

The number of Risperdal lawsuits in the Philadelphia Court has more than doubled since the beginning of 2017.  January 2017 saw 2,000 Risperdal lawsuits in this court alone and the number of pending Risperdal lawsuits has jumped to 5,800 as of July 2017.

Over the years, Johnson & Johnson has settled other Risperdal lawsuits. Notably, one family in Tennessee was awarded $70 million in July 2016, another family was awarded $1.75 million in November 2015, and in February 2015, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $2.5 million to another plaintiff.

If you or someone you love has been adversely affected by Risperdal use or has developed gynecomastia as a result of taking Risperdal, you may qualify for one of the Risperdal lawsuits. Speaking with an experienced attorney can help you determine if this is the right choice for you. For more information, fill out the form on this page.