The Side Effects of Antipsychotic Drug. Invega (paliperidone), manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is an antipsychotic medication used to treat individuals with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Side effects associated with Invega may include gynecomastia, or the growth of breast tissue in males, as well as movement-related problems known as extrapyramidal symptoms.
Oftentimes, lawsuits filed over drug side effects allege that patients and their doctors were not adequately about the risks of a medication. Knowledge about potential side effects can help patients and health care professionals spot any problems that arise. With Invega, side effects may include nausea, vomiting or constipation. In women, there have been reports of irregular menstruation, or the cessation of menstruation altogether. Patients have also reported headache, restlessness, drowsiness or weight gain.
More serious side effects include gynecomastia and movement-related issues. Invega may lead to breast growth because it causes the pituitary gland to secrete higher levels of prolactin, stimulating breast growth. Although the condition reverses on its own once the cause it removed in some patients, in others surgical removed is warranted. Patients who filed lawsuits over Invega’s gynecomastia side effect allege that they suffered severe psychological trauma. Many boys allege being teased and bullied.
Plaintiffs in Invega gynecomastia lawsuits
Plaintiffs in Invega gynecomastia lawsuits allege that Janssen marketed Invega off-label for use in children when it was not approved by the FDA for pediatric populations. These allegations have not been limited to personal injury lawsuits. In November 2013, J&J paid over $2.2 billion to settle criminal and civil investigations by the Department of Justice involving Risperdal, Invega and Natrecor. The DOJ had alleged, among other things, that J&J had misbranded the drugs to target children and other vulnerable patients such as the elderly and people with mental disabilities.
Extrapyramidal symptoms, drug-induced movement problems, are a common side effect of antipsychotics such as Invega. Invega works by changing the levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in motor coordination, among other things. Acute dyskinesias, tardive dyskinesia, Parkinsonism, akinesia and dystonia all describe extrapyramidal symptoms that can occur with antipsychotic medications. Patients taking Invega may experience trouble walking, loss of balance, trembling, jerkiness or stiffness. Some patients have also reported an abnormal, involuntary increase in movements such as loss of control in the face, neck and back.