Risperdal (risperidone) is a second-generation antipsychotic, also called an atypical antipsychotic.  It’s approved for treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.  Additionally, it has been prescribed off-label to deal with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.  Risperdal has been associated with numerous serious unwanted effects, such as gynecomastia, the development of male breasts.

Risperdal Uses

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Risperdal to treat the following conditions:

  • Schizophrenia in adults and adolescents
  • Bipolar disorder in adults and adolescents
  • Autism spectrum disorder in children and adolescents

Off-label refers to uses that are not approved by the FDA. Risperdal has been prescribed off-label to treat conditions including:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dementia

Off-Label Marketing

Doctors are allowed to prescribe Medication off-label when they think it’s in the best interests of their patients.  It’s illegal for drug companies to advertise their drugs for off-label uses.

Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its subsidiaries would cover more than $2.2 billion in civil and criminal penalties to resolve allegations of off-label promotion of drugs including Risperdal and paying kickback to physicians and a massive drugstore.

Risperdal Side Effects

Risperdal has been linked to the following side effects and injuries:

  • Gynecomastia
  • Movement disorders
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Stroke in elderly patients
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Heart Problems
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS)
  • Priapism
  • Weight gain
  • Vomiting


Risperdal has been associated with gynecomastia, when used by boys. Risperdal use could lead to elevated levels of the hormone prolactin.  In females, prolactin stimulates the production of milk during pregnancy and nursing.  In males, elevated prolactin causes excess growth of breast tissues.  This isn’t only the growth of larger breasts because of excessive fat.  It is actual breast tissue that can only be removed surgically.

Studies have found that gynecomastia can cause serious and long-term trauma to boys including damage to their:

  • Self esteem
  • Mental health
  • Social functioning

Surgery to correct gynecomastia can be serious and carries substantial risks. Complications and permanent injuries from gynecomastia correction surgery can include:

  • Infections
  • Changes in sensation
  • Painful scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Asymmetry