Gynecomastia causes
© Laurent Hamels -

© Laurent Hamels –

While it would be nice if prescription drugs involved no side effects, the sad truth is that most prescriptions feature a long list of possible, often serious, side effects.

Unfortunately, gynecomastia (commonly known as male breast enlargement) is a side effect that some medications trigger.

However, many drug manufacturers do not warn the patient adequately about this possible side effect. So how can some prescription drugs cause gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia Triggers

Gynecomastia is the symptom of hormone fluctuations causing excess estrogen in the body. While fluctuations happen throughout life and may cause temporary gynecomastia, true gynecomastia will not reverse itself on its own, and may be caused by a number of factors including:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Illegal drugs
  • Certain diseases & medical conditions
  • Prescription drugs

Risperdal Lawsuits

Risperdal, an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autistic irritability in children and, off-label, ADHD, has now been linked to many cases of gynecomastia, and the drug’s manufacturer (Johnson & Johnson) has settled with a number of patients who experienced gynecomastia development after taking the drug.

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed, and the federal government has also charged the company with improper marketing; though these charges are separate from the individual lawsuits by patients.

Risperdal, though the most visibly linked prescription drug to gynecomastia, is by no means the only drug that has been shown to trigger male breast growth.

Medication Types

There are many different types of medications that affect hormone levels and could cause problems. Using prescriptions that may cause man boobs might be unavoidable, but talk to your doctor if you have concerns or if you think a medication you are taking might be causing breast growth.

This page lists a number of drugs that have definitively been linked to gynecomastia development.


The only effective treatment for an established case of gynecomastia is surgery. Once breast gland tissue has grown, it will not go away on its own or with the use of pills, creams, or exercises. Male breast reduction surgery is highly effective when performed by an expert surgeon, especially one that specializes in the condition.

Our New York cosmetic & plastic surgeons are among only a handful of gynecomastia specialists, and are known for producing consistently excellent results. If you suffer from gynecomastia, come in to visit our NYC or Long Island locations for a free consultation with one of our surgeons.