Abilify is an antipsychotic drug that has been linked to hundreds of reports of impulse-control disorders. Lawsuits are now being filed by people who developed gambling addiction or uncontrollable urges to eat, shop, or have sex.
Abilify Lawsuit Settlements
December 9, 2016 — Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to pay a $19.5 million settlement with 43 states for marketing the anti-psychotic drug Abilify for unapproved uses.
Man Who Lost $375K Files Lawsuit
September 2016 — A man who compulsively gambled away $375,000 while taking Abilify between January 2007 and June 2015 has filed a lawsuit (PDF) against Bristol-Myers Squibb for failing to warn about the risk. Click here to read more.
Label Updated With Stronger Warnings About Addictive Behaviors
August 2016 — The new label (PDF) has stronger warnings about addictive behavior:
- Patients may not be able to recognize that their addictive behaviors are unusual.
- Doctors should specifically ask patients about any new or intense urges to gamble, shop, eat, or have sex.
- Patients with these problems should stop taking Abilify or reduce the dose. In most cases, the urges go away. Click here to read more.
Abilify Lawsuits Centralized in MDL
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.
FDA Strengthens Warnings About Impulse Disorders
May 3, 2016 — The FDA has issued a Safety Communication for Abilify and will update the label to include stronger warnings about uncontrollable urges to gamble, eat, shop, and have sex. The FDA said it had received 184 reports of impulse-control disorders since Abilify was approved in November 2002. Click here to read more.
What is Abilify?
Abilify (aripiprazole) is an atypical anti-psychotic medication manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb. that has been on the market since 2002. It was initially approved by the FDA for adults with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It was later approved for limited pediatric uses in children aged 13-17 years old.
Abilify & Compulsive Gambling
Abilify treats mental disorders by influencing levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in the body’s “reward system,” and it helps reinforce pleasurable activities. Unfortunately, this may increase the risk of gambling addiction and other compulsive behaviors.
In recent years, a number of studies have linked Abilify to over 50 reports of gambling addiction. Many experts are now demanding a “Black Box” warning on the label for Abilify. In April 2011, three case reports were detailed in the British Journal of Psychiatry:
- “[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.”
Abilify and Diabetes
Our attorneys are investigating potential lawsuits involving people who took Abilify as a child and developed type-2 diabetes. We are concerned that the label on Abilify may be outdated and does not provide sufficient risk information about diabetes.
Lawsuit Filed for Childhood Diabetes
In September 2014, Bristol-Myers Squibb was hit with a lawsuit (PDF) from a young woman who was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes after taking Abilify as a child. She was prescribed Abilify “off-label” to treat depression in May 2009, when she was 15 years old.
One side effect of Abilify is medically serious weight-gain, which may be even more serious in children who are more sensitive to the effects of Abilify. She gained 30 pounds in 6 months and was diagnosed with diabetes.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York. According to the complaint, Bristol-Myers Squibb failed to warn about the risk of diabetes:
“The risk of diabetes in youth taking atypical antipsychotic drugs increases with dosage: 2.1-times the risk at low doses; 3.4 times the risk at medium doses; and 5.4 times the risk at high doses. The risk associated with average dose for Abilify increases the diabetes risk 7.72 times above normal.”
Failure to Warn
Bristol-Myers Squibb was ordered to pay $515 million to resolve a variety of civil allegations, including illegal marketing of Abilify in children between 2002 and 2005. According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the drug-maker told their sales force to urge child psychiatrists and other pediatric specialists to prescribe Abilify “off-label” in children — in violation of federal law.
Studies Linking Abilify and Diabetes in Children
- August 2013 — JAMA Psychiatry published a study linking the use of anti-psychotic medications with a tripled increased risk of diabetes compared to other psychiatric medications. Higher rates of diabetes were strongly associated with higher cumulative doses of anti-psychotics. Click here to read more.
- September 2014 — Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology publishes a study linking the use of anti-psychotic drugs with a higher risk of diabetes, especially in females. Diabetes occurred in 0.72% of children on anti-psychotics, vs. 0.27% of children not on the drugs. Click here to read more.