Risperdal and Gynecomastia
Risperdal (risperidone) is a medication used to treat severe psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, acute mania, irritability associated with autistic disorders, and more. Risperdal is also sometimes prescribed with antidepressant medications to treat severe depression.
Risperdal can significantly increase levels of prolactin, a hormone that the body normally releases to stimulate breast growth and milk production. In females, Risperdal may cause spontaneous production of milk. In males, Risperdal may cause enlargement of male breast tissue — a condition called gynecomastia.
Studies Linking Risperdal to Gynecomastia in Boys
This study, published in 1999 in Psychopharmacology, was one of the first studies to link Risperdal to gynecomastia, when combined with Prozac (fluoxetine).
This study, published in 2009 in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology found “Persistent elevation of prolactin for periods up to 2 years has been documented in maintenance treatment with risperidone.”
This study, published in 2006 in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, researchers warned:
“Risperidone 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. Given that the long-term effects of antipsychotic drug-induced hyperprolactinemia are not well documented, especially regarding osteopenia, infertility, growth, and pubertal delay, risperidone should be administered with caution to children and adolescents.”
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is the growth or enlargement of male breast tissue caused by a hormonal imbalance. Although the tissue is benign (non-cancerous), it can be devastating for a man’s social health, self-esteem, and emotional well-being — especially when it affects young boys or teenagers.
Surgery is often necessary to cure gynecomastia. 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.