About Risperdal® Consta®
Janssen is a pharmaceutical company that creates many different drugs. One of their popular medicines is an antipsychotic drug known as Risperdal® Consta®. This medication is used for the treatment of schizophrenia and for long-term treatment of Bipolar I Disorder. The medication is not approved for treatment of dementia-related psychosis, and has been shown to increase the risk of death in elderly individuals.
Like other Risperidone medications, Risperdal® Consta® contains prolactin. This is the hormone that encourages breast growth and lactating in females during pregnancy and puberty. When the prolactin hormone enters the body at a heightened level, it can result in serious side effects. In fact, men who take Risperdal® Consta® are at a heightened risk to breast development. This is a condition medically diagnosed as gynecomastia. Men who suffer from gynecomastia may need breast reduction surgery or a mastectomy in order to solve the problem.
Our firm recently achieved a record-setting $76.6 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Our client developed gynecomastia as a child as a result of taking Risperdal for his mental condition. As a result, he suffered severe humiliation and bullying. We sought justice on his behalf, securing a result that was 20 times larger than all previous verdicts.
Side Effects of Risperdal® Consta®
Risperdal® Consta® can reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other psychotic illnesses. Yet it comes at the risk of dangerous side effects. One of the most common dangers of this drug is Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome.
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome is a rare but potentially fatal side effect that comes with the following symptoms.
- Stiff muscles
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Change in pulse or heart rate
- Muscle pain
Risperidone-based medications can also result in Tardive Dyskinesia (TD). This is a serious and permanent side effect that causes uncontrollable movements of the face, tongue, and other parts of the body. Oftentimes the condition can develop after a brief period of treatment and will persist permanently. There is no treatment for TD, so those that develop the condition will always struggle with their facial expression control.
The drug also carries cardiovascular risks. These include high blood sugar, diabetes, and other dangers. If your family has a history of diabetes, or if you already have this medical condition, it is important that you consult with a doctor about your Risperdal®Consta® treatments. The medication can also cause changes in cholesterol, and weight gain.
Johnson & Johnson also writes that the medication can make patients more sensitive to heat, can cause extrapyramidal symptoms like muscle disturbances and tremors, or can heighten a risk of seizures. Also, the medicine can affect a person's driving ability and may deal with sleepiness, headaches, aching limbs, dizziness, and restlessness. The most common side effects of Risperdal® Consta® are weight gain and tremors.
Increased Prolactin Levels in Male & Female Patients
While this treatment has shown success for patients suffering with varying conditions, it has also proved to have devastating side effects. One of the most disheartening is the fact that it severely elevates the patient's prolactin hormone levels, which can lead to numerous health concerns. For a female, having too high prolactin in the body can lead to difficulties in becoming pregnant, the ending of the menstruation cycle, or unwanted breast milk.
However, if a male suffers from having increased prolactin levels, he too may begin experiencing female-like side effects.Gynecomastia is a condition in which a male experiences benign breast tissue growth—in some cases up to the equivalent of a size D-cup in a female bra. Rather than having increased fat cell growth, the hormone itself actually causes these breast tissues to evolve and form. It is also common that due to the increased levels of prolactin, the male patient may develop galactorrhea, which is a condition where he produces a milky white discharge.
U.S. Justice Department Investigations
As a result of these side effects, Risperdal investigations have been ongoing by the U.S. Justice Department in order to address the issue at hand. Johnson & Johnson is now being held responsible for the physical and psychological consequences their product is having on patients around the country. At this time, numerous lawsuits have been pursued in order to prove the negligence of J&J for their product.
One of the primary points that victims are seeking to prove is the fact that they were never warned about the possible side effects of the medication, that their advertisements were not an accurate portrayal of the product. With these accusations, the Justice Department has gone one step further to point out that J&J illegally promoted their drugs to the public for adolescent usage before it was made legal by the FDA. J&J still continues to argue that if the Justice Department continues an investigation, it could potentially harm their future settlement
Why Hire a Pharmaceutical Litigation Attorney? If you are suffering from dangerous side effects of Risperdal® Consta®, then you need an attorney to help you with your case. With the right lawyer, you may be able to obtain the finances needed to correct your medical condition and compensate you for your pain and suffering. Attorneys can offer a professional opinion and an organized perspective on any lawsuit. Contact Arnold & Itkin LLP today!