Many adolescents and young men are dealing with enlarged breast tissue after taking the oral medication RISPERDAL® (also available as RISPERDAL® CONSTA®, a long-acting injection). Understanding the condition and prognosis can help you make a decision about what to do about it.
About RISPERDAL® CONSTA® and Gynecomastia
In 1993, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved RISPERDAL® to treat people suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar and autism related irritability. In 2006, the FDA approved its use for treatment of behavior and mental health disorders in children.
Shortly after this approval, a study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology reporting the medication increases prolactin levels in children and adolescents. An increase in prolactin can lead to an enlargement of the male breasts. This condition is called gynecomastia.
Many parents have brought lawsuits against Janssen Pharmaceuticals because they did not initially warn people of this side effect even though they were aware of the possibility of the increased prolactin levels and its effect on male breast. Now, under the new drug name, these warnings are prominently on the label for potential side effects.
The lawsuits unveil the emotional repercussions that come along with gynecomastia. Many young men are embarrassed beyond the ability to function because of their enlarged male breasts, and this causes a great deal of stress for them.
Treatment for Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia surgery is the only way to remove enlarged male breasts. Sadly, this surgery is not covered under most medical insurance plans because it is “strictly cosmetic in nature.”
This surgery reduces the male breasts to produce a flat, tight chest. It’s performed on an outpatient basis and only an IV sedative and local anesthetic are needed.
To remove excessive fatty tissue, tumescent laser liposuction is performed. This melts and liquefies the fat, which makes it easy to remove with a suction cannula. For patients with breast gland overgrowth, manual excision is necessary.
Recovery time varies, but most patients need to wear a compression garment every day all day for the first week and just half a day for the second week. Follow-up appointments are needed to ensure proper recovery and guidance regarding when patients are able to return to normal activities.
Interested in Gynecomastia Surgery?
Adolescents may be excited about treating their enlarged male breasts, but it’s best to wait about two years after it first developed, or until the age of 16 to 18. Again, insurance companies generally don’t pay for gynecomastia surgery.
However, most do pay for the labs and medical tests required prior to surgery. Contact your insurance company to ask about what your policy covers in regards to gynecomastia surgery, and especially if your child is one of the many children who took RISPERDAL®.
Need a Gynecomastia Specialist?
If you need more information about gynecomastia surgery, contact our highly-qualified plastic and cosmetic surgeons. They can answer all your questions concerning gynecomastia and its treatment.
We have plastic surgery offices in Commack, Long Island and Manhattan, so schedule your free consultation today!
*RISPERDAL® and RISPERDAL® CONSTA® are registered trademarks of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
We are in no way affiliated with the treatment of patients affected by the lawsuits regarding this matter. We do not endorse that surgery is the right option for all patients affected by this medication.