Johnson & Johnson, along with one of its companies, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, were named as defendants in several lawsuits this month. The lawsuits stem from several claims that patients taking Risperdal were not warned that the medication could cause birth defects.
Risperal Lawsuit Information
According to the lawsuits, the plaintiffs all took Risperal for treatment of disorders such as bipolar disorder, autism, and schizophrenia. Each woman then gave birth to infants with several different birth defects.
In addition to birth defects, males who took Risperdal have also been affected by side effects. Several male teenagers who took the medication developed gynecomastia, a condition marked by swollen breast tissues in males. Several plaintiffs claim that Janssen Pharmaceuticals are well aware that this condition may affect those who take Risperdal, yet they failed to warn the public while marketing the drug.
There are currently over 400 lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson. Currently, Johnson & Johnson has settled some Risperdal cases, including agreed settlements in at least five lawsuits.
Understanding the Risks of Risperdal
Risperdal is a psychotropic drug. No psychotropic drug has approval as safe to use during pregnancy. Even so, the National Institute of Health (NIH) indicates that in 2013 alone, there was a 2.5% increase psychotropic drug prescriptions to pregnant women.
In another study in 2010, experts from the University of Copenhagen reported 429 adverse events among children under 17 that relate to psychotropic medication use. At least half of the 429 victims were suffer from severe birth defects, including serious deformities.
Another study in 2013 linked women who took Risperdal with an unusually high association of birth defects, specifically heart malformations. The study, published in the Archives of Women’s Mental Health, shows that infants exposed to the drug in utero also have a heightened risk of preterm delivery and low birth rates.
Women Face Uncertainty with Medications During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, pregnant women are in a difficult predicament when it comes to medication. There are many medications that are not safe for use during pregnancy. There are also many other medications that researchers do not know the adverse event potential. It can be extremely difficult to weigh the risks of medication birth defects.
In terms of Risperdal, the risk of birth defects is clear. However, psychotropic drugs are the only way to successfully treat certain disorders. This leaves pregnant women the only alternative of suffering through their illnesses without medication during pregnancy.