- Risperdal can lead to breast growth in men and boys, known as gynecomastia
- Risperdal is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, ADHD, sleep and anxiety disorders
- This atypical antipsychotic blocks dopamine and raises the level of prolactin produced by the pituitary gland
- Excessive levels of prolactin in males can result in gynecomastia
- According to medical studies, elevated prolactin levels may occur in 90% of Risperdal users
Gynecomastia is the growth or enlargement of male breast tissue caused by a hormonal imbalance, mainly hyperprolactinemia. Risperdal administered to adolescents at doses commonly used for the treatment of psychotic symptoms can strongly increase prolactin levels, with clinical consequences such as gynecomastia and/or galactorrhea. Although the breast tissue is benign (non-cancerous), it can be devastating for a man’s social health, self-esteem, and emotional well-being. In an April 2013 study conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital, researchers administered a series of psychological tests to 47 boys with gynecomastia to compare the results with a group of boys with no breast enlargement. The gynecomastia group scored lower for general health, social functioning, self-esteem, mental health and eating behaviors. These negative effects were similar in subjects with varied levels of breast enlargement, suggesting that merely having the condition, no matter if it is mild, moderate or severe, damages boys psychologically.
Additionally, men and boys who need surgery to resolve breast enlargement suffer physical pain and trauma. Liposuction procedures may be effective for mild or moderate cases. However, severe cases of gynecomastia usually require breast-reduction surgery, or a complete mastectomy — removing the breast tissue and the excess skin of the breast. With these surgeries certain complications may arise. Among them: prominent scarring, blood clots, infection, anesthesia reactions, breast shape irregularities and nerve damage.
Johnson & Johnson, along with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, owe a duty to its consumers to provide a safe and effective drug and to warn of the potential dangers associated with its use. By placing Risperdal on the market without adequate warnings of the potential dangers and complications of gynecomastia, the drug manufacturer has ignored this responsibility. The companies must now compensate those patients who by merely seeking treatment for their disorders are now suffering from the traumatic effects of gynecomastia.