Did you develop impulse control issues or compulsive behaviors after taking Abilify? Patients are reporting unexpected impulse control issues and compulsive behaviors that are seriously affecting their lives. Many of these patients say they did not know about these types of Abilify side-effects and did not expect them.
If you or a family member has taken Abilify, Aristada, or Abilify Maintena and suffered compulsive eating, compulsive gambling, hypersexuality, or compulsive shopping and spending, contact us today. You may be entitled to significant compensation for your compulsive behaviors.
How Abilify Works
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Abilify is a dopamine partial agonist and a serotonin antagonist. It is approved as a treatment for irritability associated with autism, Tourette’s disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. It is sold as the generic aripiprazole and under the brand names Aristada, Abilify, and Abilify Maintena, and can be used in conjunction with other medications in the treatment of depression.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that occurs naturally in the brain. Too little of this chemical or too much can cause issues with sleep, mood, learning, memory, concentration, motor control, and the pleasure and reward centers in the brain.
Abilify is believed to work by inhibiting or enhancing the serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain depending on what is needed to keep the chemicals in balance. The drug is said to improve the mood, thinking, and behaviors of patients whose levels are not balanced.
Unfortunately, Abilify has been associated with serious compulsive behaviors like gambling, hypersexuality, eating, and shopping. Patients who have no prior history of these behaviors are experiencing powerful urges to have sex, gamble, shop, or eat. Patients who are suffering these serious side effects say their lives have been turned upside-down and caused them and their families emotional and financial troubles.
Understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors
Abilify was approved for the market in 2002, but the FDA did not require the drug makers Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Bristol-Myers Squib to update the drugs warning label to include the link between Abilify and compulsive gambling, hypersexuality, compulsive shopping and other disorders. In 2016, the FDA issued a Safety Announcement acknowledging the agency’s earlier label requirement regarding the side effect of pathological gambling didn’t adequately reflect how strong the impulse-control risk actually is.
By December 2017, the FDA reported 40,882 adverse event reports had been filed over Abilify. 20,304 were serious cases including 1,812 reports of death. Of those adverse event reports, 12,372 were reports of psychiatric disorders such as:
• Abnormal behaviors
• Completed suicide
• Confusional state
• Gambling disorders
• Impulsive behaviors
• Intentional self-injury
• Nervousness and agitation
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder
• Psychotic disorder
• Suicidal thoughts
• Suicide attempt
Researchers Analyze Gambling Addiction and Compulsive Behaviors in Patients on Dopamine Agonist Drugs like Abilify
Patients who have developed compulsive disorders after taking Abilify say Bristol-Myers Squib and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals knew or should have known about the increased risks of impulsive behavior disorders prior to the FDA’s mandatory warning label updates. These patients want to know why the makers failed to warn the medical community and their patients about these side-effects and denied them the opportunity to make informed healthcare decisions.
• In 2005, JAMA Neurology published a study discussing the complications of pathological gambling in Parkinson’s disease patients being treated with dopamine agonist drugs.
• In June 2007, a case report was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology that analyzed aripiprazole-induced obsessive-compulsive disorder.
• In 2008, a case report was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology discussing the link between increased libido and use of aripiprazole (Abilify).
• A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2011 analyzed case reports of three schizophrenic patients who suffered Abilify gambling addictions.
• Researchers discussed aripiprazole-induced pathological gambling in Current Drug Safety, in a report of three cases of patients who had no history of pathological gambling before starting treatment with aripiprazole.
• In 2013, researchers used eight case reports to examine the risk factors for aripiprazole induced pathological gambling and published their findings in the journal Addictive Behaviors
• In 2014, researchers published an original investigation report in JAMA Internal Medicine that confirmed and extended the evidence that dopamine receptor agonist drugs like Abilify are associated with specific impulse control disorders. The authors of the study called for more prominent warnings for these serious complications.
Some patients who are being treated with Abilify may experience overwhelming urges to gamble including participating in dog racing, sports betting, online poker, casino gambling and horse racing. These urges may be fueled by how the drug affects the reward centers of the brain.
Patients say compulsive gambling after Abilify has caused severe turmoil in their lives including:
• Damaged reputation
• Guilt, fear, and distress
• Loss of employment
• Loss of valuables
The FDA said that patients who are being treated with drugs like Abilify and their caregivers should be on the lookout for uncontrollable and excessive urges.
Abilify Lawsuits Continue to Mount
Lawsuits are being filed across the country on behalf of patients who have suffered serious financial injury and loss from compulsive behaviors associated with Abilify and similar drugs. In 2016, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated all federally-filed Abilify lawsuits to the Northern District of Florida under U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers. There are currently over 800 Abilify lawsuits centralized in that multidistrict litigation.
In these lawsuits, patients say they have suffered injury and losses because of the unknown side effects and complications of Abilify. These patients say that the drug makers failed to warn that Abilify can cause compulsive behaviors and denied them the opportunity to make informed health care decisions. Some of these patients say that if they had known about the host of serious side-effects and complications associated with the drug, they would have chosen an alternative drug that does not carry such risks.
Patients who suffered impulse control issues and pathological gambling compulsions allege that they could have avoided the financial losses and problems related to their addiction if the drug maker would have provided warnings about the side-effects.
Bellwether Trial Dates Set
Judge Rodgers has scheduled three bellwether trial dates to begin with the Lyons case on June 18, 2018 [Case No. 3:16-cv-00414]. Plaintiffs in this case allege that Lyons began taking Abilify around Jan. 2009 and started compulsively gambling not long after. Lyons said she stopped gambling soon after discontinuing the drug in Jan. 2014. As a result of the side effects of Abilify, Lyons alleges a loss in excess of $75,000, as well as loss of financial, mental, physical, and economic stability.
The second bellwether trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 6, 2018. Case No. 3:16-cv-00291 alleges the plaintiff began taking Abilify in 2012 and soon began compulsive gambling leading to losses of more than $75,000 as well as loss of financial stability and other losses. The plaintiff says he suffers and will continue to suffer neuropsychiatric injury, emotional distress, harm, and economic losses.
The third bellwether case, Case No. 3:17-cv-0018, is scheduled to begin Aug 27, 2018. The plaintiff in this case alleges she was treated with Abilify from 2003 until 2016 and suffered gambling and other economic losses, mental anguish, loss of earning, medical expenses, loss of the ability to earn money, loss of the capacity for the enjoyment of life, and other losses that are either permanent or ongoing.
How We Can Help
Patients are accusing Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb of failing to properly warn physicians and their patients about the side effects of compulsive behaviors. Because the medical community and their patients did not know the drug could cause uncontrolled urges, they did not know to be on the lookout for drug-induced compulsion and impulse issues.
Drug manufacturers have a duty to ensure their products are safe. When they fail that duty, they may be liable by law for injuries their products cause. Patients who suffered gambling addictions and other compulsive behaviors may be eligible to hold the drug makers responsible for the emotional, financial, and economic harm they sustained after taking Abilify.
If you or your loved one was treated with Abilify and developed a gambling addiction or started compulsive gambling, you may be entitled to relief for your gambling debt, emotional distress, neuropsychiatric injury, loss of financial stability, and other economic harms.
Patients have rights, including the right to make informed healthcare decisions. If you were treated with Abilify and developed a gambling compulsion, you have rights. For decades, we have fought for the rights of patients injured by prescription medications that were supposed to help, and we stand ready to fight for you now. Contact us today to learn more about your patient rights and to find out if you are eligible to seek significant financial compensation for your Abilify induced gambling compulsion.