One of the most popular treatment for a variety of mental disorders like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression, Abilify makes billions for Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company and Bristol-Myers Squibb. With sales over $6.4 billion annually, it is one of the top-selling drugs in the U.S. Abilify works by either decreasing or increasing serotonin or dopamine in the brain when there is an imbalance.
Medical studies have linked the drug to disturbing compulsive behavioral side effects that can cause injury on the lives of patients and their families.
Among these side effects is pathological or compulsive gambling, a financially crippling side effect that can destroy lives. People with compulsive behaviors will do anything to continue the chosen activity, even if it means withdrawing from friends and family and ignoring the rest of their lives.
Compulsive gambling side effect has led to lawsuits against Otsuka America and Bristol-Myers, alleging that the companies did not properly warn patients and doctors of this serious side effect.
While doctors are not sure exactly how Abilify works, they believe it acts on receptors in the brain for chemicals that regulate behavior and mood. These chemicals are neurotransmitters called serotonin and dopamine.
When the dopamine system is stimulated in response to a particular activity, people feel a feeling of pleasure or a high from it. In people with certain mental disorders, this system is stimulated excessively, or not enough.
Researchers believe Abilify may over-stimulate dopamine receptors in the brain and trigger compulsive behavior.
Several medical studies have focused on the connection between Abilify and compulsive behavior, especially in regards to compulsive gambling. A 2013 French study examined several people who checked into a clinic because of their compulsive gambling behaviors. The researchers found that of the eight people taking Abilify, seven of them had lost control of their gambling habits as a result of the Abilify.
According to the study, after discontinuing the drug or greatly reducing the dose, patients regained control of their compulsive behavior.
Another study in 2011 conducted by the National Problem Gambling Clinic found a relationship between Abilify and the drive to gamble in some patients. Doctors described one case in which a patients took Abilify and “was preoccupied with thoughts of gambling and his gambling activity became both impulsive and involved extensive planning in obtaining funds to gamble, including the use of crime.”
On May 3, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety communication warning consumers of Abilify, Abilify Maintena, and Aristada and potential impulse-control problems associated with these drugs.
According to the FDA, compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gambles, binge eat, shop, and have sex have been reported with the use of the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole (Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Aristrada, and generics).
Drug companies have a responsibility to warn the public about potential harmful side effects. Abilify does not mention anything on its label about compulsive behaviors, including gambling. If you or a loved one experienced compulsive gambling after taking Abilify, you may be entitled to compensation. Our office handles Abilify lawsuits from across the country, don’t hesitate to contact us.