28 Feb 2015

After growing 46DD breasts, Alabama man wins $2.5 million from drug company

A 20-year-old Thorsby man with autism was awarded $2.5 million in damages on Tuesday by a Philadelphia jury that found a drug he began taking as a child caused him to grow large breasts and that his family was not "adequately warned" of this side effect, according to a report by The Philadelphia Daily News.

A Common Pleas jury found that Austin Pledger, his family and his doctor were not aware that the drug Risperdal -- an anti-psychotic made by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson -- could cause him to grow 46DD breasts, Pledger's attorney Thomas Kline told the Daily News. 

The trial "provided for the first time a public window into the real risks of this drug," Kline told the paper. 
Pledger was first prescribed the drug by his family physician in 2002, when he was eight years old, to help with the irritability associated with autism, according to a report by People magazine.

At the time, the drug's label reported that the risk of gynecomastia, a condition that causes men to grow female breasts, was low, according to Kline. 

However, the FDA warning was changed in 2006 -- when Risperdal was approved for use by children -- to say the drug contained high levels of prolactin, a hormone that promotes breast growth, Kline told The Daily News.
By that time, however, Pledger already had begun to develop 46DD breasts, according to Kline.

A spokeswoman for Janssen said the firm is "disappointed" and "believes this verdict should be overturned," claiming that the drug's side effects were clearly communicated to Pledger, his family and his doctor, according to the paper. 

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