Hundreds of lawsuits have been brought against Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical unit, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., over its antipsychotic drugs, Risperdal (risperidone) and Invega (paliperidone), and the drugs’ associations with gynecomastia, a condition known as male breasts.
Invega is a metabolite of Risperdal. When taking Risperdal, the patient’s liver breaks down the medication into its active chemical ingredients, which are known as metabolites. Invega is the most crucial of Risperdal’s metabolites and, while metabolizing differently than Risperdal, provides an essentially identical physiological effect.
Both Risperdal and Invega are in the drug class known as atypical antipsychotics and are approved for the treatment of schizophrenia. Risperdal may also be prescribed for the treatment of bipolar disorder and autism spectrum disorders. Risperdal and Invega have been prescribed off-label for the treatment of depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sleep disorders, and anxiety disorders; Invega has been used off-label to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), Tourette syndrome, and disruptive behavior disorder.
Gynecomastia is listed as a potential side effect of both Risperdal and Invega. The significantly adverse effects of Risperdal- and Invega-induced gynecomastia and galactorrhoea, as well as associated risks and financial loss associated with the often-required surgical treatments for these disorders, are the focus of hundreds of lawsuits.