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Study Confirms Link between Risperdal and Gynecomastia

RisperdalA new study has confirmed the link between Risperdal and gynecomastia, even as the number of lawsuits involving this drug continue to be filed. The recent study found a statistically significant risk of male breast growth in young men and male adolescents that took this antipsychotic. Last year, a study found an increased risk of gynecomastia in older men that were prescribed Risperdal.

Gynecomastia risk linked to Risperdal

Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, looked at a database of more than 400,000 men between the ages of 15 and 25. They found that current users of Risperdal, including children and adolescent males, were five times more likely to develop gynecomastia than those that did not take the drug. The findings were published in the August online edition of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

Last year, data from a review of national health claims found that older men had a 69-percent higher likelihood of developing gynecomastia if they took Risperdal. That study, also conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia, looked at data from one million men in the United States. The findings were presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting for the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry.

About Risperdal and gynecomastia

Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults and some symptoms of autism in children. The drug has also been used off-label to treat other types of mental disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and dementia. However, reports of serious and sometimes permanent Risperdal side effects have raised concerns from the medical community and even prompted legal action from some users of the drug.

One of those side effects is a condition known as gynecomastia or enlarged male breasts. While this condition is not typically considered a serious medical problem, it can have a detrimental impact on a young man’s self-confidence and self-esteem. In some cases, it can also cause physical discomfort like breast tenderness.

Gynecomastia can keep men from participating in some activities or even from wearing certain types of clothing. While some cases of gynecomastia may resolve on their own, many require surgical breast reduction to restore the masculine body profile. Some men may also need counseling to overcome the embarrassment caused by enlarged breasts.

Risperdal risks hidden by Janssen

While recent studies have confirmed the increased risk of gynecomastia with Risperdal use, there is evidence to suggest that the manufacturer of the drug, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, knew of the risk much sooner. In fact, a recent report at Forbes states that a study dating back to 2003 showed a direct link between Risperdal use and an increase in prolactin levels and the onset of gynecomastia. However, these findings were allegedly left out of a publication that same year, leaving patients and the medical community in the dark about the drug’s potential risks.

Currently, there are more than 1,400 lawsuits involving Risperdal side effects coordinated into proceedings in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. In addition to claiming they suffered from gynecomastia, the men in these lawsuits also allege the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen failed to provide proper warning about the risks associated with their product.

  1. Liebert Publishing, Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology,

  2. Medline Plus, Risperidone,

  3. The Philadelphia Courts, Risperdal Case List,

  4. Medscape, Antipsychotic May Boost Gynecomastia Risk,

  5. Forbes, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Accused of Hiding Risperdal’s Breast Effects in Boys,

  6. Mayo Clinic, Gynecomastia,