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Jury Agrees with Plaintiff Allegations in Risperdal Case


A Risperdal lawsuit that was pending in a Philadelphia court resulted in a mixed outcome for the plaintiff. The 19-year-old man filed the lawsuit against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, claiming that the defendants’ medication resulted in the abnormal growth of breast tissue. On Friday, March 20, the jury agreed with the plaintiff that the defendants had failed to issue adequate warnings of the potential complications of Risperdal.

However, the jury determined that there was no conclusive evidence that the drug had caused this particular plaintiff’s abnormal tissue growth, which means that the plaintiff will not receive compensation for his related medical expenses and psychological trauma. The decision was announced after the month-long trial, which was heard in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Risperdal lawsuit allegations

In this particular Risperdal case, the plaintiff noted that he had taken the antipsychotic medication on an intermittent basis until 2007. The plaintiff was prescribed the medication to manage the symptoms of oppositional defiance disorder (ODD). Subsequently, the plaintiff was diagnosed with gynecomastia, or the abnormal growth of male breast tissue. He sought compensatory damages with the 2013 filing of his lawsuit.

Risperdal (risperidone) is an antipsychotic drug that works by affecting the balance of chemicals in the brain. It is prescribed to patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as well as children with autism who experience psychological problems. The FDA approved the drug for use in children in 2006, although it had been approved in 2002 for the treatment of schizophrenia.

In recent years, reports of adverse effects have surfaced, including gynecomastia. Although gynecomastia is not generally considered to be a problem that leads to physical health issues, it can inflict serious psychological injuries in boys and men. It may also lead to considerable medical expenses, should the patient undergo liposuction or a more radical double mastectomy to treat the condition.

In his lawsuit, the 19-year-old man from Pennsylvania claimed that Janssen Pharmaceuticals had failed to properly warn him or his doctor of the potential for gynecomastia when Risperdal is taken. Other patients who used Risperdal have charged the company with the same allegations. Although this lawsuit did not result in compensatory damages for the young man, future lawsuits may prove more successful. A spokesman for the young plaintiff labeled the verdict as a “significant setback” for the pharmaceutical giant.

Alabama plaintiff awarded $2.5 million

Previously, a plaintiff from Alabama claimed that Risperdal led to the development of his gynecomastia and demanded that the pharmaceutical company be held liable for his losses. The Philadelphia jury agreed and handed down a $2.5 million award.

During this trial, the plaintiff’s mother testified that she had been looking for help managing her son’s mood swings. The plaintiff has autism. At the time, Risperdal had not yet been approved for use in children. However, the plaintiff’s doctor testified that as early as 2002, a sales representative for Janssen had aggressively promoted the use of Risperdal for use in children with autism-related challenges. Further testimony established that the defendants had not adequately warned doctors or families of the risks of gynecomastia.

  1. Reuters, J&J's Janssen scores partial victory in second Risperdal trial,
  2. The Pennsylvania Record, Jury awards $2.5 million to Risperdal plaintiff,