Abilify (Aripiprazole) is prescribed to nearly one million Americans every year to treat various types of mental illnesses including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Some people who were prescribed Abilify for these disorders began engaging in compulsive gambling—even if they had no prior history of gambling or any other compulsive behaviors.
As early as 2012 Abilify’s European labels warned patients that compulsive gambling was a potential side effect. Although the drug’s manufacturers knew of this life-altering side effect, they did not warn American consumers of the risk. It wasn’t until 2016, when the FDA ordered Abilify’s manufacturers to warn patients of previously undisclosed potential side effects including: compulsive gambling, shopping, binge eating, and sex addiction.
Compulsive gambling is a serious condition that can cause severe financial, social and personal harm. Those affected experience an irresistible urge to gamble and other compulsive behaviors. Also referred to as “pathological gamblers,” or “problem gamblers,” these people often amass extensive credit card debt to support their behavior, lose their jobs, or turn to criminal activity to support their addiction.
Experts believe that Abilify affects the brains dopamine levels by mimicking its effects. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and behavior by controlling the the brains reward and pleasure centers. Studies have linked dopamine manipulation as a source of pathological gambling and other “reward-seeking behaviors”.
There are many reports of Abilify users exhibiting compulsive behaviors. In 2010, a study entitled “Pathological Gambling and Compulsive Eating Associated with Aripiprazole” was published. In 2011, Otsuka Pharmaceutical conducted a six-month Periodic Safety Update Report, conceding that drugs like Abilify that act on dopamine neurons might have some effect on behavior related to reward seeking behavior. In 2013, another study detailed eight case studies linking Abilify with pathological gambling.
In January of 2016, information about compulsive gambling was added to Abilify’s label. However, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that this description did not sufficiently reflect the nature of the impulse-control risk posed by the drug. The FDA noted that it had become aware of other compulsive behaviors associated with the drug, including binge eating, compulsive shopping, and sex addiction. Consequently, in May of 2016 the FDA ordered that Abilify’s labels be amended to warn patients about these risks.
The FDA relied on close to 200 reported cases of patients on Abilify engaging in compulsive behaviors—primarily compulsive gambling as a basis for this label change. Significantly, the compulsive behaviors stopped when patients’ stopped taking the drug.
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If you were prescribed Abilify and suffered from compulsive gambling, the New Jersey dangerous drugs lawyers at Williams Cuker Berezofsky can help you claim the compensation you deserve and hold drug manufacturers accountable.To learn more about Abilify lawsuits and how we can help, call us today at 856-667-0500 or contact us online.With offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we represent clients nationwide.