Several drugs can cause gynecomastia

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

November 07, 1999|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun

Q.Please tell me about drug-induced gynecomastia (breast enlargement in men). Taking Haldol has caused weight gain and given me breasts that now resemble those of the opposite sex.

My doctor maintains that if I lose weight through diet and exercise, this abnormality will disappear. I have been dieting for two years with no change in the size of my chest. The guys at the gym make derogatory remarks that are very embarrassing.

Will dieting ever help, or do I need cosmetic surgery? This abnormality has caused me shame and depression and made others question my sexual reference.

A. A surprising number of drugs can cause male breast enlargement. Haldol and other psychotherapeutic agents are well-known for this side effect. Other drugs that may trigger this response include Aldactone, estrogen, Lanoxin, marijuana, Nizoral, Tagamet theophylline, and cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Mevacor, Pravachol and Zocor.

Although this reaction may go away once the medicine is discontinued, no one should stop a prescription without medical supervision. Your doctor might be willing to prescribe an alternative to Haldol that is less likely to cause gynecomastia. If the problem does not disappear, cosmetic surgery could be considered.

Q. I am confused. I used to take Maalox for indigestion until I learned it contains aluminum. Last week my wife brought home some Maalox tablets to take as her calcium supplement. Is this safe?

A. Maalox comes in a variety of formulations. If she bought calcium carbonate chewable tablets, they are a reasonable calcium source and have no aluminum.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or e-mail them at their Web site (www.PeoplesPharmacy.com) on the HealthCentral.com network. Their newest book is "The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies" (St. Martin's Press).

King Features Syndicate

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