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Drugs that May Cause Abnormal Breast Growth in Men

Abnormal breast growth in men, known as gynecomastia, occurs when female hormones (estrogen) are increased relative to male hormones (androgens). Many men aren’t aware that certain drugs can cause this condition. At Pearl-Ereso Plastic Surgery Center, we understand that men experiencing gynecomastia may feel self-conscious about their appearance and want to know how they can fix this issue. In this post, our expert plastic surgeons, Drs. Samuel Pearl and Alexander Ereso, discuss which classes of drugs can cause abnormal breast growth in men.

Anti-androgen Medications

Anti-androgens are used to treat a number of conditions, such as prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. Some common examples include flutamide, finasteride (Proscar, Propecia) and spironolactone (Aldactone). These drugs inhibit androgen synthesis or activity, which disrupts the balance between male and female hormones in the body. This can potentially result in male breast enlargement.

Alcohol and “Street” Drugs

Alcohol, particularly when used excessively, can cause gynecomastia. Several other illegal drugs have also been linked to male breast enlargement, including marijuana, heroin, and amphetamines. Men who drink excessive amounts of alcohol or use street drugs are not good candidates for male breast reduction surgery.

Other Drugs that Cause Gynecomastia

There are many other drugs that can cause abnormal breast growth in men, such as:

  • Anti-anxiety medications, such as diazepam (Valium)
  • Some antibiotics
  • highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) for HIV disease
  • Ulcer medications, such as cimetidine (Tagamet)

There are also other factors that contribute to gynecomastia. These include aging and diseases that affect the thyroid, liver, or kidneys. Abnormal male breast growth is quite common, with between 40 and 60 percent of men experiencing gynecomastia at some point in their lives. If you’re concerned about abnormal breast growth or are feeling self-conscious about your appearance, be sure to discuss it with your doctor.

Consult with an Experienced Surgeon

For men experiencing gynecomastia due to the use of certain drugs or other factors, breast reduction surgery may be a possible solution. Our skilled surgeons can discuss this procedure with you and determine if you are a good candidate for breast reduction surgery. Schedule a consultation at our Mountain View office by calling (650) 964-6600.