Abilify, the brand name for the drug aripiprazole, is a top-selling, yet controversial antipsychotic drug. Abilify was approved by the FDA to treat schizophrenia in 2002, and in following years it was approved for the treatment of bipolar disorder, major depression, irritability associated with autism and obsessive compulsive disorder. Abilify was developed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical in Japan and marketed jointly with Bristol Myers-Squibb.
One of the major – and unusual – side effects of Abilify is compulsive gambling, even in people with no history of a gambling addiction. The drug is also associated with other compulsive behaviors like binge eating and hypersexual behavior. Researchers think that the increase of compulsive behaviors could occur because the dopamine-reward receptors in the brain are over stimulated.
In one British study, a patient who had started taking Abilify said gambling became “a reason to live.” After discontinuing Abilify, the patient’s gambling problems resolved.
Abilify’s label does not warn of compulsive behaviors as a side effect. Drug companies have a responsibility to warn patients of all harmful side effects, so Abilify is breaching their obligation to the public.
Patients who developed a gambling addiction while taking Abilify may have taken on severe gambling debt. The psychological distress and burden of debt can ruin lives. Patients who are facing gambling debt related to Abilify may have the option to file lawsuits against Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Compensation from Abilify lawsuits could include compensation for treatment of compulsive gambling, recovering money lost to gambling and compensation for emotional injuries.
Abilify has been the subject of major lawsuits in the past. In 2007 Bristol-Myers Squibb had to pay $515 million to settle suits that claimed the product marketed illegally to nursing homes, even though it can cause death in seniors with dementia.
If you or someone you know has been suffering from the compulsive behaviors that have been associated with Abilify, contact our unsafe product attorneys at Roberts & Roberts.