The use of Risperdal has been linked to the abnormal breast tissue enlargement in male children and adolescents. This condition is known as gynecomastia, and occurs because Risperdal stimulates the pituitary gland into releasing the hormone prolactin into the body. In women, this hormone can cause lactation to occur, while in men, this hormone causes the breast tissue to become enlarged. Breast development is highly unusual in males, but when it does occur, the subject can experience the development of tender breast tissue; puffy nipples that are painful, sensitive, or may produce a discharge; and stretched skin.
In 2006, a study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology that examined the correlation between taking the drug Risperdal in doses that would be effective for treating psychotic symptoms and the development of enlarged breast tissue in males. The study concluded by finding that those adult males who were taking Risperdal were four times more likely to develop gynecomastia as opposed to those subjects who did not take the drug. Male children and adolescents who were taking Risperdal were found to be five times more likely to develop gynecomastia as opposed to those subjects who did not take the drug.
Gynecomastia causes a permanent change in the breast tissue, meaning that even if a person were to stop taking Risperdal, the enlarged breast tissue would not go away or shrink on its own. This means that some sort of medical procedure must be performed in order to remove the enlarged tissue from the body. However, these types of procedures cannot be performed until the tissue has existed for more than a year, meaning a person would have to live with their enlarged breasts until the medical procedure can be performed. Mild to moderate cases of gynecomastia can be treated with a liposuction procedure, but in the most severe cases surgical operations are required, such as a mastectomy, which requires removal of the enlarged breast tissue and the excess skin that forms the female-like breasts. Surgical removal can result in infection, pain, scarring, and psychological harm.
The impact of male breast development can be devastating, especially for a young boy. Not only is it troubling and confusing at such a young age to be developing physically like a woman, when one should be developing like a man, but the child will likely be teased by other children for his condition. A young man with female-like breasts could suffer a lot of psychological and emotional harm or even trauma over the years due to his gynecomastia.
Even when the young man is able to obtain surgical treatment for his gynecomastia, there is the financial burden of obtaining the surgery, and the risks and pain associated with the surgery. There is the risk of infection, complications during surgery, or that the young man will have an asymmetrical chest after the procedure. Furthermore, he will likely have scars that will last a lifetime.
If you have suffered from Risperdal side effects, consider filing a Risperdal lawsuit with the help of an attorney. A skilled Risperdal lawyer will file your claim within the statute of limitations and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.