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According to Johnson & Johnson’s most recent annual report, there are now 18,500 Risperdal lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the US and Canada. Risperdal (risperidone) is an  antipsychotic approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1993 for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults. In 2006 and 2007, the FDA approved additional uses for Risperdal including schizophrenia in children, bipolar disorder in adults and children and behavioral disorders caused by autism in children.

The use of Risperdal has been linked to a condition called gynecomastia, or the enlargement of male breast tissue.  Gynecomastia has been a devastating side effect for young boys who were prescribed the drug and developed enlarged breast tissue.  Risperdal was also shown to cause lactation in girls and in women who were not pregnant or nursing.

Risperdal has one of the longest histories of difficulties and disputes of any medication  on the market  and at its peak, Risperdal was the most common antipsychotic used in the US.  Marketing abnormalities including inappropriate  marketing for unapproved uses in children and adults and for other indications such as ADHD, chemical restraint and schizoaffective disorder has been reported as far back as 1994, shortly  after the medication was approved to treat Schizophrenia.  Harm caused by Risperdal use was noted as early as 2001 and litigation is still ongoing.

The first lawsuit regarding harm caused by Risperdal use was filed in 2010 by a 21 year-old man who had taken Risperdal for off-label use between 1999 and 2004 and suffered physical and emotional trauma due to gynecomastia. In 2012, the case was settled by Johnson & Johnson on the first day of trial for an undisclosed amount.

Attorneys for the victims have claimed that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary,  Janssen, used illegal marketing to promote Risperdal for unapproved uses  even  after they  were aware of the threats of gynecomastia, movement disorders and the risk of death and that they minimized and did not adequately warn of  those risks.

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