The antipsychotic medication Abilify is supposed to help treat serious psychological problems like schizophrenia. Unfortunately, this drug has caused many patients to engage in compulsive behaviors, like gambling, shopping or eating. These behaviors can do lasting damage to your health, finances, career and relationships.
If you engaged in these or other compulsive behaviors while taking Abilify, you could be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer through an Abilify lawsuit. Roden Law's trusted defective drug attorneys understand how damaging these compulsive behaviors can be, and we are prepared to assist you in every step of the legal process. We can investigate your situation, gather evidence and build a strong case as we fight for the fair compensation you deserve.
Your consultation with our attorneys is free of charge, and you will not owe legal fees unless you receive compensation at the end of the legal process.
Abilify Side Effects and Uses
Abilify has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat severe psychological disorders, including:
- Major depressive disorder
- Irritability caused by autism
- Tourette's syndrome
- Manic episodes caused by bipolar disorder
Abilify is designed to help treat these conditions by activating dopamine receptors to increase dopamine levels, as people with these kinds of psychological issues often have low levels of dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, which is a chemical that carries messages from one brain cell to another. Dopamine is often released after doing something rewarding, like eating something that tastes good. Dopamine alerts your brain that whatever you just did is something you should do again.
For many years, the Abilify label warned about minor and severe side effects like:
- Weight gain
- Suicidal thoughts
- Blurred vision
- Impaired motor skills
- Tardive dyskinesia
- Orthostatic hypertension
However, the label did not warn about the risk of compulsive gambling until early 2016. Even then, an FDA drug safety communication issued in May 2016 said the label did not explain how severe the problem could be. The warning also did not mention pathological gambling had been reported in Abilify patients.
The communication also noted other compulsive behaviors linked to Abilify, such as unusually intense urges to eat, shop, spend money and have sex.
An analysis of the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System found 184 case reports of a link between Abilify and lack of impulse control. These patients lost the ability to control these behaviors and became addicted to engaging in them.
The communication said the Abilify label would be updated to warn patients and health care providers about these severe side effects. The FDA recommended that health care professionals ask patients if any unusual urges have occurred since they started taking the medication.
Doctors were also advised to monitor patients who were at higher risk of suffering impulse-control problems, such as patients with a personal or family history of:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Impulse-control disorder
- Drug abuse
- Bipolar disorder
- Impulsive personality
The Abilify label notes that in some cases, uncontrollable urges reportedly stopped after dosage was reduced or patients stopped taking the medication altogether.
Patients who took this drug before the warnings were updated and engaged in compulsive behavior could be entitled to compensation. Contact our Abilify lawyers about filing an Abilify lawsuit. The legal process is complicated and we are prepared to guide you through it.
Fill out our Free Case Evaluation form right now.
Research on the Dangers of Abilify
There have been multiple studies linking Abilify to an increase in compulsive gambling. In 2011, two medical journals published case studies about patients taking aripiprazole and struggling with compulsive gambling. Aripirazole is the technical name of the drug.
In July 2011, the British Journal of Psychiatry published three case studies involving two patients who had prior histories of gambling and a third who did not.
The patient with no history of gambling began experiencing strong urges to gamble one year after he began taking the medication. Over the next two years, he incurred thousands of dollars in debt from gambling.
Another of the patients was gambling daily and had a 12-year history of regular gambling. In his first treatment session, he said he felt like the medication caused an escalation in gambling. After being off the medication for four weeks he managed to not gamble, except for one lapse. Once he began taking the medication again, he felt the return of strong urges to gamble.
Another study published in Current Drug Safety highlighted three case studies involving patients who were taking Abilify for schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Despite none of the patients having a prior history of gambling, they all started gambling after they began taking the medication.
In 2014, a study was released that identified 1,580 reports of compulsive behavior in patients who took Abilify. Gambling was the most frequent compulsive behavior cited, with hypersexuality and compulsive shopping the next most-cited behaviors. This study was published in Internal Medicine, which is part of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
You may be able to file an Abilify gambling lawsuit to pursue compensation for the damages you have experienced.
Call 1-844-RESULTS today for a free, no obligation legal consultation.
In 2016, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated all current and future federal Abilify lawsuits into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). An MDL is designed to streamline legal proceedings by putting federal lawsuits with similar facts and allegations into a single court and appointing one judge to oversee them.
When the MDL was created, there were 22 pending Abilify lawsuits. The number of pending lawsuits grew to 518 by Jan. 16 ,2018.
The judge in charge of the MDL selected a group of cases as bellwether cases that are expected to go to trial in June 2018. A bellwether case is one that is selected from a larger group of cases to help parties on both sides determine how future cases might be decided or settled. For example, the manufacturer might decide to offer a settlement based on what happens in these cases.
Allegations in Abilify Gambling Lawsuits
The lawsuits in the MDL make various allegations against Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Otsuka is the manufacturer of the drug and Bristol-Myers markets it. The lawsuits allege:
- There were defects in the design and manufacturing of the drug.
- Both companies provided inadequate instructions and warnings about the drug's side effects.
- The companies knew or should have known taking the drug could lead to compulsive gambling.
The lawsuits say the drug label did not mention pathological gambling or compulsive behaviors for 14 years. The lawsuits also note there was no mention of compulsive behaviors in the patient medication guide, which is the source of information that is usually viewed by patients and doctors.
Abilify Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
So far, there have not been any settlements of federal Abilify lawsuits. The results of the bellwether trials could determine if there is a settlement or if the cases will be sent back to their original districts for individual trials.
Abilify victims will be seeking compensation for damages caused by their compulsive gambling, such as:
- Cost of treatment for gambling addiction
- Money lost on compulsive gambling
- Compensation for emotional injuries caused by gambling
If you are struggling with compulsive gambling because you took Abilify, you may be able to file an Abilify lawsuit to pursue compensation. Contact an Abilify lawyer from our firm for a free, no obligation legal consultation to discuss your potential legal options.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form right now.
Contact an Abilify Lawyer Right Now
Drug manufacturers have an obligation to warn consumers and health care professionals about the risks of the medications they produce. If they fail in this obligation, victims could be entitled to compensation for physical, financial and emotional damages.
The Abilify lawyers at Roden Law understand how devastating the side effects of this drug can be, as many patients struggled with compulsive gambling while taking Abilify.
Your consultation with our attorneys is completely free and you will not be charged legal fees unless you receive fair compensation from your Abilify lawsuit.