Invega is a popular antipsychotic medication increasingly associated with serious side effects such as gynecomastia, or male breast growth. Invega, known also by its generic name, paliperidone, is manufactured and distributed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
Invega belongs to a drug class known as atypical antipsychotics that work by restoring the balance of essential chemicals in the brain, by changing the neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers. Invega, in particular, alters the level of dopamine, which is responsible for movement, coordination, and the brain’s rewards pathways, among other things.
Invega was initially approved for the treatment of numerous disorders in 2006 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is prescribed to adults and adolescents (children over 12 years of age).
Invega is used across the United States to treat a variety of disorders, including schizophrenia. Although Invega and other similar atypical antipsychotic drugs are widely used, the drug has recently been associated with numerous serious Invega risks. It has been alleged that patients may not have been sufficiently warned of the medication’s risks prior to use.
Personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are actively reviewing potential lawsuits on behalf of individuals who have been injured by allegedly defective drugs, including Invega.
Potential Invega Side Effects and Symptoms
Invega side effects may include nausea, vomiting, or constipation. In women, there have been reports of irregular menstruation, or cessation of menstruation altogether. Patients have also reported headache, restlessness, drowsiness, or weight gain.
As dopamine is one of the main neurotransmitters responsible for movement and coordination, drugs that change its levels may lead to movement-related issues. Patients taking Invega, may experience difficulty 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.
One of the most frequently cited Invega side effects is gynecomastia. Adolescents using Invega are far more likely to develop gynecomastia (also called “man boobs”) than adults who also take the medication.
The buildup of excessive breast tissue in gynecomastia, is not excess fat in the breast area, but is a buildup of excessive breast tissue, similar to a woman’s breasts. The only effective treatment for gynecomastia is surgery to restore the masculine form to the chest. Although gynecomastia is not life-threatening, it can be very traumatic for boys and men, and for some creating significant psychological problems. These boys and men may become targets for teasing and bullying because of their appearance.
For less extreme conditions, where the gynecomastia symptoms are barely noticeable, it may suffice to simply stop using Invega.
Although the exact causes of gynecomastia are still not clear, it has been alleged that increased levels of prolactin (a milk-producing hormone) are often found in subjects who have been taking atypical antipsychotic medication. Invega allegedly causes the pituitary gland to secrete higher levels of prolactin. The increase in prolactin levels can cause the body’s hormones to be knocked out of balance.
Hundreds of boys and young men who have taken Invega have reported developing the excessive breast tissue. The breast tissue growth can be somewhat extreme, and require surgery for the excess tissue removal.
An increasing number of affected patients and their families are filing lawsuits against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, claiming that the drug manufacturers neglected to adequately warn the public and the medical community about the medication’s serious Invega risks.
Gynecomastia is not the only potential Invega side effect risk to be cited in lawsuits against Janssen. Some of the additional Invega risks included in these lawsuits are diabetes, movement disorders, and nipple pain.
Hundreds of families have filed gynecomastia lawsuits due to Invega risks, alleging that Janssen Pharmaceuticals neglected to sufficiently alert plaintiffs of the risk of gynecomastia. Plaintiffs also allege that Janssen Pharmaceuticals marketed Invega off-label for use in children, when it was not approved by the FDA for use for pediatric populations.
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. In some cases, plaintiffs were awarded millions in settlement money for their lawsuits.
Although a lawsuit, or financial settlement cannot remove the pain and suffering gone through from Invega alleged side effects, it may help to compensate for medical bills incurred stemming from the use of Invega.
Legal Help for Invega Users
Attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are highly experienced in drug injury lawsuits. If you or someone you know has been negatively affected by Invega, contact Parker Waichman for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).