Abilify Class Action Lawsuit
Abilify (aripiprazole) is a prescription medication used primarily as an antipsychotic in the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Abilify can also be used as a secondary medication for depression, tic disorders, and irritability for individuals with autistic disorder.
Since at least 2010, there has been scientific literature linking the use of Abilify with compulsive gambling and other behaviors. The Abilify warnings did not include these risks, despite hundreds of adverse event reports, until the FDA ordered new warnings in May 2016.
The updated warning labels include compulsive gambling, eating, shopping, and sex.
Compulsive behaviors, including gambling, are serious and can destroy lives and cause severe financial, personal, and social harm. Pathological gamblers are not able to control their gambling urges and can gamble away the money they need for other things. People afflicted with gambling disorders can lose jobs, amass credit card debt, end up in jail, and be left with poor mental and physical health.
Even as Abilify became a best-selling drug in the United States, the manufacturers Otsuka and Bristol-Myers Squibb failed to voluntarily revise the warning labels that could have prevented patient harm.
How does Abilify cause compulsive gambling?
Even without any previous history of compulsive behaviors, some people have reported uncontrollable gambling once they began taking Abilify.
As Abilify mimics the neurotransmitter dopamine, it is becoming increasingly clear that it affects the brain’s reward pathways. However, this research is not yet complete and the exact mechanism by which it could cause excessive gambling is not fully understood.
Scientific literature has long implicated dopamine multiplication in pathological reward-seeking behaviors, including compulsive gambling. Due to concerns, regulators in Europe and Canada required additional warnings for Abilify years before they were required in the United States.
Compulsive gambling is a serious issue and can destroy the lives of those afflicted by it. Pathological gamblers are unable to reign in their urges to gamble and can continually take risks that cause them and their families serious financial harm. Compulsive gambling is a stressor that can cause damage to their social lives and mental health as well.
Other Compulsive problems caused by Abilify
In addition to compulsive gambling, other compulsive issues have been linked to the consumpiton of Abilify, namely: compulsive shopping, eating and sex. These compulsive disorders are, much like compulsive gambling, linked to the brain’s reward system within the neural pathways.
While these compulsive issues may not be as damaging as compulsive gambling, these behaviors are nonetheless harmful to the people afflicted with these disorders and their families. Among these behaviors include:
- Compulsive eating describes a behavior where a person experiences frequent episodes of uncontrollable eating well after they are full and even to a point to where they may become sick. This can cause severe health problems such as overweight or obesity, depression, preoccupations with food and weight loss, fear of being unable to control habits, and poor mental well being attributed to weight.
- Compulsive shopping, or shopaholism, involves the continuous obsession and financial focus on shopping or purchasing of products to the point where shopping becomes the focal point of one’s well-being. This obsession with the acquisition of material possessions may result in financial difficulties, a fear of losing out on deals or items regardless of their necessity, and feelings of depression and/or mood fixated on whether or not one has shopped recently.
- Compulsive sex, or hypersexuality, involves frequent, uncontrolable sexual urges, fantasies, and desires that severely effect relationships, mental well-being, and financial or work-related difficulties. These obsessions may cause problems maintaining healthy relationships, a feeling that your urges may be uncontrollable, as well as financial, work-related, relationship (including friends and family), medical and legal strain on a person.
These compulsive behaviors, much like compulsive gambling, are serious issues that can lead to long-term consequences if not properly treated. Although the ongoing lawsuit on Abilify is ongoing and does not directly seek to address these other behaviors, Abilify can cause harm or increase the issues related to these compulsive behaviors. If you believe that you may be a victim of any of these compulsive behaviors, please seek medical and professional help.
The FDA expands Abilify Warning
The FDA announced new warnings to be added to the Abilify label in January 2016. This new warning label detailed the risks that Abilify could cause compulsive gambling habits.
But again a few months later in May 2016, the FDA decided that warnings did not go far enough and added additional areas of concern. This new label would warn patients about the possibility of compulsive behaviors not just including gambling but also shopping, eating, and sex as well.
You can read the FDA’s announcement on the additional safety warnings here.
Critically, the FDA found that the compulsive behaviors ended when the taking of Abilify was discontinued or the dose was lowered.
What is Alleged in the Abilify Lawsuits?
The lawsuits against manufacturers of Abilify allege:
- The benefits of taking Abilify do not outweigh the risks of taking it
- Abilify caused harm to patients by inducing them to engage in uncontrollable gambling
- Financial, psychological, and physical damage to patients
- The manufacturers Otsuka and Bristol-Myers Squibb knew, or should have known, the dangers but did not properly warn patients
- Millions of dollars were spent on misleading advertisements that minimized risks and overstated the benefits
- Otsuka and Bristol-Myers Squibb did not adequately study the possible side effects
- Abilify was illegally promoted for uses the FDA had not approved
- Manufacturers spent $10.6 million in payments to doctors to promote Abilify
- Labeling in the United States contradicted labeling required in Canada and Europe, which had warned about compulsive behaviors
Millions in Compensation
In December 2016, the Ability manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb reached a nearly $20 million settlement in the United States for improper marketing of Abilify.
Bristol-Myers Squibb did not admit wrongdoing in this suit, but it is likely to bolster other challenges to the drugmaker and the drug Abilify.
What Expenses Can Be Recovered?
A lawsuit for an Abilify patient and family can recover the following damages:
- Gambling losses
- Loss of financial stability or other economic losses
- Physical injuries on the brain from taking Abilify
- Neuropsychiatric injury
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium (deprivation of benefits from a family relationship)
Who is Eligible for A Class Action Lawsuit?
A candidate for an Abilify Class Action lawsuit should meet at least some of the following:
- Prescribed Abilify by a doctor in the United States
- Took the medication as indicated
- No prior gambling problem or compulsive disorders
- Currently 28 years old or older
- $30,000 in losses, or more
- Took Abilify after 2009