In the US it is estimated that about 5% of the children have ADD or ADHD. Many of these children do not receive medication for their mental illness and there are many ways to calm a hyperactive child without medication, but many of them do. With drugs like Ritalin or Risperdal that are supposed to calm the child down, it is easy to just throw some prescription medication at the symptoms instead of addressing the root problem. Doing so may be putting your child at risk of bodily harm.
How Risperdal Works
Risperidone, the active component behind the drug Risperdal, is an atypical antipsychotic. This does not mean it is odd, or out of the ordinary, but it means that the drug works to block both the dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain (as opposed to a typical antipsychotic that only blocks the dopamine receptors). By doing so it helps to level out the patients thinking, allowing for more rational thoughts. It is used extensively in those suffering from schizophrenia, but it has also been prescribed for bipolar disorder, irritability in autistic children, and juveniles with ADD/ADHD. One of the side effects of Risperdal is an increased level of the hormone prolactin.
What is Prolactin?
Prolactin is a hormone that is found in elevated levels in nursing mothers. It helps to encourage breast development and as the levels stay up lactation occurs. This is great for young women who are going through puberty, and for new mothers who need swollen mammary glands and milk production to feed their babies. However, when a young man is taking Risperdal, he can grow breasts.
Gynecomastia: Breast Growth in Males
Recent studies show that young men taking Risperdal have suffered from gynecomastia. This breast growth happens in many young men naturally, but as the hormones level out, the effects are rarely noticeable. However, while taking Risperdal to treat his ADD/ADHD, a young man will suffer from increased prolactin levels. The result is he can start to grow breasts, and if the medication is not discontinued, he may start to lactate.
The issue continues with the fact that there is no way to reverse the effects of gynecomastia. Stopping the medication may prevent it from spreading further, but the damage has already been done. The only way to get rid of the breasts is to have them surgically removed. But after being a boy with breasts, he will have already suffered severe emotional trauma. The scars from his surgery will be a constant reminder of that emotional pain.
Contact a Dangerous Drug Attorney
If your child has taken Risperdal to treat schizophrenia, ADD, or any other problem, and he has suffered from gynecomastia, you may be able to file a Risperdal lawsuit. The manufacturers of this drug never fully warned the public about the severe side effects associated with it, and have caused needless pain to a number of people.