Local News

Aug 6, 2013 2:30 PM by Caroline Flores - cflores@kristv.com

Attorney: Johnson & Johnson Drug Causes Teen Boy to Grow Breasts

CORPUS CHRISTI - A local attorney is suing a pharmaceutical company owned by Johnson & Johnson claiming a drug designed to treat bipolar disorder caused a teenage boy to grow breasts.

A local family says their 16 year-old boy grew female breasts that began lactating after taking Risperdalfor 18 months. Risperdal is made by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

"So you have a boy whose in junior high school, already worried about his appearance and how people think of him. Then suddenly he's trying to figure out what's going on," said the boy's attorney Bob Hilliard.

Hilliard says the boy suffers from mood and behavioral disorders. So, he was prescribed Risperdal, which is typically used to treat bipolar. Hilliard, who's representing the boy and his family, says this side effect is one this teen shouldn't have to deal with.

"So this kinda piles on to an already not easy adolescence," said Hilliard.

Hilliard says instead of telling doctors about the side effect, Janssen Pharmaceuticals tried to hide it.

"So they buried that information. They did not adequately warn of the information," said Hilliard.

But Janssen Pharmaceuticals says this isn't true. In a written statement sent to 6 News, Janssen Pharmaceuticals tells us "we take our obligation to ensure safe and appropriate use of our medications very seriously. We believe this case does not have merit and are defending ourselves against it."

Either way, Hilliard says his teenage client is now having to make decisions no boy should have to make.

"This young man is now faced with, do I get a double mastectomy. You know how do I handle the fact that I wanna have a girlfriend now. How do I tell her about this?" said Hilliard.

A local judge has ordered the two parties in this case go into mediation. If they can't work out a deal this case will go to trial August 15th.

While this drug is still being sold, Janssen Pharmaceuticals tells Six News they no longer actively promote it.

Risperdal is a medication approved by the FDA. It is approved to treat schizophrenia, bipolar mania, and irritability associated with autism. This drug was first released in the 90s and according to Jenssen Pharmaceuticals it has improved the lives of countless people throughout the world.

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