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According to 10 lawsuits recently filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, boys and young men who took the antipsychotic drugs Risperdal and Invega suffered from serious side effects including rapid weight gain and the growth of large breasts up to a size 38D.

The attorney, Mr. Stephen Sheller, who filed the suits stated that he plans to file at least 20 to 30 similar cases in Philadelphia in the next two months against Janssen, a division of the Ortho-McNeil-Janssen pharmaceutical company, which is also affiliated with Johnson & Johnson. Sheller also alleges that doctors may not have taken some of his clients seriously when they complained of their breast growth because of simultaneous weight gain.

Risperdal and Invega are antipsychotic medications with similar chemical structures and side effects. Risperdal is FDA-approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar mania, and symptoms of autism. However, the drug is also prescribed off-label to treat other problems such as attention deficit disorder, Tourette syndrome or disruptive behavior. According to Mr. Kenneth Smith, a Alexandria, Virginia attorney working with Mr. Sheller on the cases, both drugs are prescribed off-label to at least 70% of all patients who take the medications. Most of the patients in the Philadelphia cases took the medications off-label. Most of the suits accuse the drug company of negligence and fraud for failing to adequately warn doctors and patients of the drugs’ side effects. Some of the suits also allege that the company actively promoted off-label use of the drugs.

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