Risperdal Research and Gynecomastia

Recently, the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry presented a study during their 2014 annual conference that confirms what many males have already experienced firsthand: Older men that take Risperdal have a nearly 70 percent chance of suffering male breast development, better known as gynecomastia, as opposed to men who have not been on the drug. Due to the results of this study, scientists are now recommending that physicians give their male patients Seroquel or Zyprexa rather than Risperdal to minimize their risks of experiencing gynecomastia, as well as the various other damaging effects of the drug.

The study’s researchers looked at data provided by the IMS LifeLink Health Plan claims database, which included information for one million males in the United States between 45 and 80 who filed claims between the years of 2001 and 2011. The researchers found 8,285 instances of gynecomastia among these men. Currently, the study is being reviewed for peer-reviewed journal publication, and researchers are starting to gather information that lets them investigate the prevalence of gynecomastia in teenage boys.

Risperdal: What Is It?

Risperdal is in a class of drugs called atypical antipsychotics. In recent years, these drugs have been most commonly prescribed for conditions like irritability, autism spectrum disorders, bi-polar, aggression, and behavior problems in both adults and children. It is believed that Risperdal causes gynecomastia in many men because it is a dopamine antagonist. When dopamine levels are low, the pituitary gland begins producing more prolactin, a sex hormone that is partly responsible for female breast growth and milk production. Even in women, the drug can result in spontaneous lactation and may also cause side effects that mimic the symptoms of pregnancy. In men, however, it can result in gynecomastia and lactation. Risperdal has also been shown to cause other health problems such as eye disorders, osteoporosis, diabetes, weight gain, headaches, and pancreatitis.

Lawsuits Regarding Risperdal

Risperdal’s manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of the Johnson & Johnson company, has received several dozen lawsuits from people who have experienced the negative effects of taking Risperdal. These suits claim that the drug’s manufacturer and their parent company neglected to perform sufficient studies on Risperdal’s long-term health effects on boys and failed to provide information on the serious risks associated with the drug prior to allowing it to be marketed for use in children.