Does Risperdal Impact Prolactin Levels?


Antipsychotic agents differ in how well they work and what side effects they have. Some of them, like Risperdal, elevate prolactin levels. Around the time that Risperdal was first developed prolactin elevation was under-diagnosed and not widely reported. Some speculated that this was because patients were hesitant to discuss the sexual dysfunction that can accompany sexual dysfunction.

However, prolactin elevation can have serious short-term and long-term consequences. Atypical antipsychotics were long preferred over traditional antipsychotics because researchers believed that the older antipsychotics caused more side effects. Until the early 2000s, it was believed that atypical antipsychotics did not cause prolactin elevation as older antipsychotics did.

In 2002, a study found that atypical antipsychotics do elevate prolactin levels, though more transiently than traditional antipsychotics do. The study looked at prolactin levels in 18 male patients with schizophrenia. They were studied over a 24-period after being administered various atypical antipsychotics including Risperdal.

The study noted that the baseline prolactin levels in Risperdal were abnormally high. All of the medications caused prolactin to double over baseline levels 6 hours after administration of medication. The study noted that the differences between atypical and traditional antipsychotics had to do with the degree and duration of the prolactin elevation based on each drug’s binding properties in connection with pituitary dopamine receptors.

However, some atypical antipsychotics like Risperdal or Invega also elevate prolactin levels. Risperdal affects prolactin by blocking dopamine from acting on the pituitary.

How does this work? Prolactin is secreted by the pituitary. This process is controlled by dopamine, a hormone produced by the hypothalamus. When something interferes with dopamine secretion or action, this can result in an increase in prolactin. Certain diseases of the pituitary or hypothalamus can interfere with dopamine secretion, causing elevated prolactin.

It is believed that the pathophysiology of schizophrenia is affected by dopamine receptor dysfunction. Moreover, serotonin modulates dopamine. If a particular serotonin receptor is blocked, it results in an increase in dopamine, which in turn can affect prolactin production.

While Risperdal and Invega may be appropriate to treat schizophrenia in adults, their manufacturers promoted off-label uses in children and elderly patients. In children, these drugs were used to treat conduct disorders like ADHD or developmental concerns like autism sometimes without sufficient scientific basis. Usually children with behavioral issues are already under significant social pressure in connection with these issues. These pressures were only magnified when they developed gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is characterized by excess fat, excess glandular tissue development, excess breast skin and the presence of one or two breasts.

It is believed that this breast tissue may develop as a result of the elevated prolactin levels connected to Risperdal and Invega use. Many of the boys and teenagers who developed gynecomastia have endured shame and humiliation and psychological trauma in connection with breast growth. On top of that, gynecomastia can require a serious surgery to correct. However, many insurance companies deny coverage for surgery in connection with gynecomastia on the grounds that it is a “cosmetic” procedure.

Children and teens in Mississippi who were prescribed Risperdal or Invega and developed gynecomastia may have grounds to file a dangerous drugs/product liability lawsuit against the manufacturers. They may be able to recover the costs of the surgery as well as compensation for their pain, suffering and emotional damages.

The knowledgeable Mississippi product liability attorneys of Coxwell & Associates may be able to help if you or your child developed gynecomastia as a result of Risperdal. Free Blackground Information Available on Request
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Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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