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Abilify FAQ

Abilify FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and answers about Abilify, an antipsychotic drug linked to uncontrollable urges to gamble, eat, shop, and have sex.

What You Can Do & How We Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Abilify induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know had a gambling addiction, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Overview

What is Abilify?
What is Abilify used to treat?
How does Abilify treat mental illness?
What is the problem with Abilfy?
What are the most serious side effects of Abilify?

Compulsive Behaviors

When was Abilify linked to impulse-control disorders?
What FDA safety warnings have been issued for Abilify?
What warnings are on the label?
What are the risks of gambling addiction?
What are some examples?

Abilify Lawsuits

How many Abilify lawsuits have been filed?
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
Is there an Abilify class action?
How can a lawyer help?

What is Abilify?

Abilify® contains aripiprazole, an antipsychotic drug that has been on the market since 2002. It comes in oral and injectable versions sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals.

What is Abilify used to treat?

The FDA has approved Abilify for the treatment of treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, irritability associated with autism, and Tourette’s syndrome. It is also used “off-label” for other mental illnesses.

How does Abilify treat mental illness?

Abilify is a dopamine partial agonist that balances levels of chemicals in the brain. It increases or decreases dopamine or serotonin depending on whether there is too much or not enough. Similar drugs treat Parkinson’s disease and restless leg syndrome.

What is the problem with Abilfy?

Dopamine is involved in the brain’s “reward system.” It is released during pleasurable activities, which reinforces the behavior and produces feelings of motivation to do the activity again. Patients on Abilify may experience intense urges for pleasurable activities. They may not realize the urges or behaviors are unusual.

What are the most serious side effects of Abilify?

  • Uncontrollable gambling, shopping, eating, or sex
  • Stroke in elderly patients with dementia
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Diabetes and weight-gain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low white blood cell count (leukopenia)
  • Seizures
  • Cognitive and motor impairment
  • Suicide

When was Abilify linked to impulse-control disorders?

Abilify is a dopamine agonist. In 2003, a study found that compulsive gambling occurred in 1.5% of patients with Parkinson’s disease on dopamine agonists. Another study in 2005 by researchers at the Mayo Clinic found 11 cases of gambling addiction, including a 68 year-old man who lost $200,000 in six months. They also reported that the drugs boosted patients’ appetites for sex, food, and alcohol.

What FDA safety warnings have been issued for Abilify?

In a Safety Communication issued in May 2016, the FDA warned that Abilify was associated with uncontrollable urges to gamble, shop, eat, and have sex. The agency received 184 reports of impulse-control disorders since 2002.

What warnings are on the label?

In 2016, the label (PDF) on Abilify was updated with the following warnings:

Post-marketing case reports suggest that patients can experience intense urges, particularly for gambling, and the inability to control these urges while taking [Abilify]. Other compulsive urges, reported less frequently include: sexual urges, shopping, eating or binge eating, and other impulsive or compulsive behaviors. Because patients may not recognize these behaviors as abnormal, it is important for prescribers to ask patients or their caregivers specifically about the development or new or intense gambling urges, compulsive sexual urges, compulsive shopping, binge or compulsive eating, or other urges while being treated with [Abilify]. It should be noted that impulse-control symptoms can be associated with the underlying disorder. In some cases, although not all, urges were reported to have stopped when the dose was reduced or the medication was discontinued. Compulsive behaviors may result in harm to the patient and others if not recognized. Consider dose reduction or stopping the medication if a patient develops such urges.

What are the risks of gambling addiction?

Out-of-control betting on lotto, horse races, cards, slot machines, and other games of chance can have a devastating impact on a person’s financial and personal well-being. The consequences of having a gambling problem may include:

  • Financial debt
  • Home foreclosure
  • Bankruptcy
  • Divorce
  • Loss of employment
  • Guilt or emotional trauma
  • Damaged reputation

What are some examples?

The following case reports of gambling addiction in patients on Abilify were published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2011:

  • “[J] was pre-occupied 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.”
  • “[K] described an escalation in his gambling to the extent of spending all of his money and it being ‘a reason to live’.”
  • “[S] began experiencing strong urges to gamble in the form of a euphoric feeling when thinking about gambling. In the following 2 years he incurred debts of around £25,000 on internet betting sites.”

How many Abilify lawsuits have been filed?

Hundreds of cases of impulse-control disorders have been linked to Abilify, but only a few dozen lawsuits had been filed as of mid-2016. In October 2016, judges centralized all federal Abilify lawsuits into Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2734) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida under Judge M. Casey Rodgers.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit?

It depends on where you live. Every state has a different “statute of limitations,” ranging from 1 to 6 years from the date of your injury. Only a lawyer can find out if you still have time to file a lawsuit.

Is there an Abilify class action?

No. These cases need to be handled individually because they are so different, making them hard to consolidate in a class action lawsuit. Some people had massive financial losses, while others had only temporary behavior problems that went away when they stopped taking Abilify.

How can a lawyer help?

We can review your case for free and find out if you qualify. If you decide to file a lawsuit, we may be able to help you seek compensation for your financial losses, emotional suffering, lost income, and more.

Do I have an Abilify Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Abilify induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know had a gambling addiction, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

Attention Lawyers: We consider a referral from another law firm to be one of the greatest compliments. If your firm is interested in referring us a case or for us to send you a list of previous award judgments and/or average referral fees, please visit the Lawyer Referral section of our website.

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