A Philadelphia jury ordered drug maker Johnson & Johnson to pay $2.5 million to a 20-year old autistic man from Alabama who developed breast tissue after taking Risperdal. The Risperdal lawsuit is the first to receive a jury verdict, which may play a part in thousands of other male breast lawsuits filed against J&J.
Austin Pledger was given Risperdal since he was 8 to treat symptoms of irritability related to autism. Pledger eventually developed size 46 DD breasts due to Risperdal-induced gynecomastia, or male breast tissue growth. Pledger’s doctor testified that he was unaware of the increased risks of gynecomastia associated with Risperdal, and the jury determined that J&J and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals did not adequately warn physicians and patients of the risk.
Risperdal has been associated with increased levels of prolactin — the hormone responsible for breast tissue growth — for an indefinite period of time. Janssen and J&J face thousands of Risperdal lawsuits alleging that the companies failed to warn doctors and patients of the risk of breast tissue growth in boys and male adolescents who take Risperdal.