Abilify is a prescription medication used to treat multiple mental and emotional disorders, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression. In some cases, it’s even prescribed for less-serious issues, such as insomnia and anxiety. Unfortunately, the drug is also linked to several compulsive behaviors, including hyper-sexuality, gambling, and even eating and shopping. Despite the fact that these side effects have been known since at least 2010, warning labels weren’t updated until 2016, following a tidal wave of adverse event reports cited by the FDA. Canada and Europe added such warning labels several years prior to the U.S.
In October 2016, a total of 22 federal Abilify lawsuits were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida. MDL cases are often formed in response to a significant number of federal lawsuits that share similar characteristics. As of March 2017, the number of pending MDL cases had grown to 60. A Boston dangerous drug lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by Abilify.
The MDL panel stated the following in its transfer order:
“Plaintiffs in these actions each allege that they experienced compulsive gambling behaviors as a result of taking Abilify. All the actions involve factual questions relating to whether Abilify was defectively designed or manufactured, whether defendants knew or should have known of the alleged propensity of Abilify to cause compulsive gambling behaviors in users, and whether defendants provided adequate instructions and warnings with this product.”
Although all forms of compulsive behavior associated with Abilify may have resulted in financial complications, compulsive gambling has produced the most devastating losses. Many of the individuals who report uncontrollable gambling claim to have never had a problem before taking Abilify. For many, their compulsive gambling caused severe financial loss, personal harm, and relationship problems. Some racked up credit card debit, ended up in jail, and even engaged in prostitution to fund their new habit
How Does Abilify Cause Compulsive Behaviors?
Although the exact cause is unknown, many compulsive behaviors, such as gambling and shopping, may be related to a dopamine disorder. Dopamine is naturally released in the body and regulates mood, emotions, and the feeling of pleasure. Unfortunately, too much dopamine can result in compulsive behaviors, whereas not enough dopamine can lead to depression and suicidal tendencies. When dopamine is manipulated with chemicals, such as those found in Abilify, patients may seek out intensely-rewarding behaviors, such as gambling and sex.
The FDA released the following safety announcement in response to nearly 200 reports of compulsive behavior:
Although pathological gambling is listed as a reported side effect in the current aripiprazole drug labels, this description does not entirely reflect the nature of the impulse-control risk that we identified. In addition, we have become aware of other compulsive behaviors associated with aripiprazole, such as compulsive eating, shopping, and sexual actions.
In each of these cases, the compulsive behaviors disappeared when the drug was stopped, or the dose was reduced. A MA injury lawyer can help if you’ve been harmed by the negligence of a pharmaceutical company or healthcare provider.
Allegations Against Abilify Manufacturers, Otsuka and Bristol-Myers Squibb
- Uncontrollable gambling caused by Abilify resulted in financial, physical, and psychological damages.
- Abilify’s manufacturers were aware – or should have been aware – that the drug could cause compulsive behaviors.
- Otsuka and Bristol-Myers Squibb failed to conduct adequate safety testing.
- At least $10.6 million was paid to physicians to promote Abilify.
- Otsuka and Bristol-Myers Squibb promoted Abilify for unapproved uses.
- Abilify caused economic loss, physical and neuropsychiatric injury, emotional trauma and distress, and the loss of a spouse’s consortium.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Dangerous Drug Law Firm
If you have been harmed by Abilify, or any other dangerous drug, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of those harmed by another’s negligence for more than 50 years. When pharmaceutical companies put profits before the health and safety of the general public, they should be held accountable for their actions. If you have been injured, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.