Abilify Compulsive Behaviors Lawsuit
Abilify (aripiprazole) is an antipsychotic drug (atypical type) used to treat certain mental/mood disorders like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Tourette’s disorder, and irritability associated with autism. It may also be used in combination with other medications to treat depression. It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural chemicals in the brain’s neurotransmitters. However, according to the FDA, some people who have taken Abilify have had unusual urges, including gambling, binge eating or compulsive eating, compulsive shopping and compulsive sexual urges.
Medicines like Abilify can also raise the risk of death in elderly people who have are in a psychosis due to confusion and dementia. The drug is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis, according to the FDA.
Abilify was first developed by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Tokyo, Osaka and Naruto, Japan and founded in 1964. Abilify was marketed in the U.S. through a partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb, an American pharmaceutical company, headquartered in New York City.
In 2002, Abilify was approved by the FDA as a treatment for schizophrenia. Abilify was then FDA-approved to treat bipolar disorder. In 2007, Abilify was FDA-approved as an add-on to other medications to treat major depressive disorder.
Prior to that, the drug’s makers were seeking to expand Abilify sales through new but unapproved uses. On Sept. 28, 2007, the Department of Justice gave Bristol-Myers Squibb, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Apothecon, Inc., a $515 million fine for marketing Abilify “off-label” to children, adolescents, and geriatric dementia patients.
After Abilify was approved to treat depression, the drug’s sales exploded after a huge $121 million per year ad campaign that has been subsequently criticized for being too simplistic. But the ad didn’t stop consumers. By 2013-2014, Abilify was the top-selling drug in the U.S. From October 2013 to September 2014, Abilify had sales of $7.5 billion, which was more than all the other major antidepressants combined.
However, during this time, patients complained to the FDA about having compulsive behaviors after taking the drug. At least 59 cases of compulsive gambling were reported to the FDA from 2005 to 2014. The following year, the FDA received more than 150 reports linking Abilify and gambling.
In 2015, the FDA sent a letter to Otsuka saying its claims about compulsive habits and Abilify were scientifically unsubstantiated.
Meanwhile, health authorities in European and Canada looked at the evidence supporting Abilify’s link to compulsive behaviors and created new warning labels for this potential side effect. Europe put the label on the drug in 2012, and Canada labeled the drug in 2015. Eventually the U.S. followed suit and the FDA ordered compulsive behavior warnings to be added to U.S.-sold Abilify in 2016.
Recently, attorneys have been filing lawsuits on behalf of patients who were prescribed Abilify and consequently suffered gambling losses. People with no history of compulsive behaviors have reported gambling uncontrollably after they began taking Abilify.
Patients are now filing lawsuits against the drug’s manufacturers, claiming that they suffered significant gambling losses while taking Abilify, and that the lack of a warning for this side effect was a marketing defect.
Experts aren’t sure how Abilify might cause gambling or other compulsive behaviors, but surmise it may due to how the drug mimics the effects of dopamine in the brain, which impacts the brain’s dopamine pathway.
If you or someone you know took Abilify and began to gamble uncontrollably or have had compulsive behaviors after taking the drug, you may qualify for a lawsuit.
If you or someone you know is in the DC area and are looking to file a lawsuit for any damages stemming from side effects of Abilify, you can reach us at a 24/7 live phone answering. So, if you need a DC lawyer who handles medical lawsuits contact Cohen & Cohen, our DC Law Firm today.