September 15, 2015 — Young men who use Risperdal may be 5-times as likely to develop gynecomastia (female breasts), according to a recent study.
The study (PDF) was published by researchers at the University of British Columbia led by Dr. Mayhar Etminan in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.
It is one of the largest studies to investigate the link between Risperdal and gynecomastia in children and teenagers. Researchers analyzed data on about 400,000 young males between 15 and 25 years old.
Overall, patients on Risperdal were 3.9-times more likely to be diagnosed with gynecomastia. When researchers only looked at data on teenagers under 18 years old, they found a 5.4-fold increased rate of gynecomastia.
The authors of the study concluded:
“Given that this condition carries a high psychological burden, clinicians might want to consider prescribing antipsychotics with a lower propensity for gynecomastia to young or adolescent males.”
Last year, Dr. Etminan and colleagues also published a study concluding that middle-aged men on Risperdal were 69% more likely to be diagnosed with gynecomastia.
Risperdal is a powerful anti-psychotic drug that treats mental illness by blocking the D2 dopamine receptor. One side effect is an increase in the pregnancy hormone prolactin, which stimulates breast growth and milk production in both males and females.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed by young men who were prescribed Risperdal “off-label” as children and developed disfiguring female breasts as teenagers. In February, a jury awarded a young man $2.5 million for his injuries.