Risperdal Causes Breast Growth in Boys

Countless thousands of boys have been prescribed Risperdal to treat behavioral problems, psychological issues, and developmental disorders. What most of these children (and their parents) didn’t know was that Risperdal can cause the development of female breasts in boys.

More than 18,000 legal claims have been filed against the maker of Risperdal, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. A handful of the boys, now young men agreed to be interviewed and photographed so that others would know what they’ve gone through.

The photographs contained in this project may be difficult to view.

Arturo from Pontiac

“I tried covering it up with cardboard or tape,” Arturo said, “but I couldn’t breathe. I tried to wrap myself, but it didn’t work.” Like many of the boys who gained weight on Risperdal, the gynecomastia was overlooked at first. “The more weight I lose, the more disfigured I become.”

Eddie from Oklahoma

“I had bigger boobs than most of the girls in high school,” Eddie said. “I’d go to the locker room, and people would point and stare. They’d make comments. I would get so angry, I didn't even know how to express myself.” He explained that he stopped going outside with his friends, retreated into his room, and played video games to shut out the world.

Isaiah from Flint

“I first thought it was puberty, but the bigger they got, the more concerned I got.” Laraina was talking about her autistic son, Isaiah, and the breasts he developed as a result of Risperdal. When she raised the issue at a hospital, doctors, at first, were concerned it could be cancer. When that was ruled out, they conducted a prolactin test and found his levels elevated.

Pedro from Tampa

Pedro started developing breasts in middle school. When he first noticed them, he stopped taking his shirt off at the beach or the pool. But Pedro loved sports, and by high school, he couldn’t hide his breasts from his teammates. “People picked on me, and I tried to laugh it off,” he said. “In the locker room they would call me names and flick my boobs. It wouldn’t stop.”

Michael from Cleveland

“I remember going to the pool and a friend came over, and after that, he stopped being my friend.” Michael (a name he gave to preserve his anonymity) started taking Risperdal as a preteen. By 15 he had grown breasts. “Girls would shoot me down publicly,” he said. “They would brag about how they rejected me. I wanted to duct tape my chest.”

Brandon from Indiana

“I just don’t trust the medicine thing anymore,” Brandon said. His mother, Brenda, interjected and mentioned that Brandon would benefit from some sort of medicine to help regulate his anger issues, but Risperdal is definitely not the one.

Risperdal and Weight Gain

Besides causing boys to develop female breasts, the drug Risperdal can also cause massive weight gain -- up to 100 pounds in a year. When boys stop taking Risperdal, they can lose the weight, but the breasts remain, which often become deformed. The only way to remove the breasts is through a painful and costly surgery.