Research in an informal analysis of antipsychotic drug Risperdal has strengthened the link between Risperdal and breast growth in boys and male adolescents, according to the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. Risperdal increases levels of a hormone known as prolactin, which can lead to gynecomastia, or breast development in boys and men.
Risperdal is often prescribed to children for behavioral issues, including a disproportionately high number of foster children. Doctors warn that not enough research has been conducted on prolactin levels in youths, and male breast growth could be one of many harmful Risperdal side effects.
In 2012, manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals paid $2.2 billion to settle claims that it promoted and marketed Risperdal for unapproved uses, including uses in children. By the end of 2013, more than 500 Risperdal lawsuits have been filed against Janssen and parent company Johnson & Johnson alleging that the drugs caused severe side effects, including gynecomastia breast growth.