New Research Finds That Use Of Risperdal May Increase Gynecomastia Risk
Written by Stephen Fields on April 3, 2014
Johnson & Johnson, manufacturer of the popular antipsychotic Risperdal (trade name for risperidone), is under increasing scrutiny for the drug’s connection to male breast growth. Men of all ages have reported experiencing the side effect after using the drug. Known as gynecomastia, it is associated with abnormal growth of breast tissue, enlarged nipples, breast tenderness, and in some cases, spontaneous lactation.
Scientists have known for years that drugs like Risperdal can potentially trigger the growth of breast tissue in men. Studies dating back to 1999 have noted the effect. The onset of the condition is believed to be caused by elevated levels of the hormone prolactin (known as hyperprolactinaemia). Risperidone inhibits dopamine receptors in the central nervous system, which seems to spur increased pituitary prolactin secretion.
A new study from researchers at the University of British Columbia highlights yet more evidence that Risperdal is linked to male breast development. Although the study focuses exclusively on the effect in older men, the lead author has remarked that “risperidone can also cause this type of adverse event in younger boys.”
Risperdal Linked To Above-Average Risk Of Gynecomastia
Risperidone was originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1994. At the time, its approved use was limited to treating schizophrenia in adults. In 2003, the FDA extended the list of uses to include bipolar disorder. It wasn’t until 2006 that Risperdal was approved for the treatment of children – namely, those who showed signs of autism or irritability.
As mentioned previously, research has shown a connection between the use of antipsychotics like Risperdal and male breast growth since 1999. Indeed, gynecomastia is listed on the drug’s package insert as a possible adverse effect of its use. But the recent study from the University of British Columbia shows that the drug might introduce a substantially greater risk of the condition than other antipsychotics.
Researchers reviewed health-related claims data for 1 million men in the U.S. The subjects ranged in age between 45 and 80. The lead author of the study, Dr. Mahyar Etminan, reported that use of risperidone, as well as a similar drug called paliperidone (generic name for Invega), was associated with a 69% increased incidence rate of gynecomastia compared to non-use.
That alone only confirmed that taking antipsychotics could trigger the condition, an already well-documented side effect. But the data also showed that use of Risperdal posed a comparatively higher risk than two other antipsychotics (quetiapine and olanzapine). Older men taking the former drug were 41% more likely to experience abnormal breast growth.
Risperdal Breast Tissue Growth In Young Men And Boys
While Dr. Etminan’s study focused on older men, he noted that the onset of gynecomastia with use of Risperdal could also be expected in cases involving young boys. The basic male physiology is virtually the same regardless of age. Moreover, risperidone’s mechanism of action – i.e. as an inhibitor of select receptors in the central nervous system – is also the same. That mechanism of action has been shown to cause hyperprolactinaemia in males of all ages, including adolescents.
A growing number of young boys who have been treated with risperidone are being diagnosed with gynecomastia. Although the affliction is not life-threatening, it can have a severe psychological impact. A paper published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery noted that it can cause “deficits in general health, social functioning, mental health, self-esteem, and eating behaviors” in adolescents boys.
How To Seek Compensation By Filing A Risperdal Lawsuit
Many families know firsthand the pain of watching their sons and husbands suffer from gynecomastia after using risperidone. More and more of them are filing Risperdal lawsuit claims demanding compensation. They allege the drug’s manufacturer failed to adequately warn them about the increased risk of male breast growth.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with gynecomastia after taking J&J’s antipsychotic, call our Risperdal lawsuit settlement attorneys at 1-888-210-9968. There is no fee for the consultation. Nor is there any obligation to hire our lawyers if you decide to file a lawsuit.
There is limited time to file a claim. Contact our offices at your earliest convenience to pursue the compensation you and your family deserve.