Oklahoma City Abilify Attorneys
Were You Harmed by a Dangerous Drug?
Abilify® (aripiprazole) is an antipsychotic drug used to treat disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Abilify was developed by Japanese drugmaker Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and marketed in the U.S. through a partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb. The drug was developed as a treatment for schizophrenia and gained initial Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for this use in 2002. A few years later, Abilify was FDA-approved to treat bipolar disorder. In 2007, the FDA approved Abilify as an add-on to other medications to treat major depressive disorder.
Abilify Side Effects
- Suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults
- Uncontrolled body movements (tardive dyskinesia)
- Stroke in elderly people that can lead to death
- Unusual urges
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)
- High blood sugar
- Increased cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood
- Problems with control of body temperature that could lead to dehydration
- Weight gain
- Decreased blood pressure
- Low white blood cell count
Abilify & Compulsive Behaviors
Abilify is the top-selling antipsychotic medication in the United States. But due to how the drug affects the brain, patients may develop a problem with impulse control that causes them to gamble uncontrollably. European and Canadian health officials found the association between Abilify and compulsive gambling strong enough to warrant updated product labeling to warn about this risk. Despite this, drug makers Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals have chosen not to include a similar warning on Abilify sold in the U.S. Compulsive gambling can lead to psychological distress, health problems, financial harm, and social consequences. An Abilify lawsuit could provide compensation for these losses.
How Does Abilify Cause Compulsive Gambling?
It’s not perfectly understood how Abilify might cause compulsive behaviors such as uncontrollable gambling, but the connection between drugs like Abilify and reward seeking such as gambling are well-documented in scientific literature. Abilify is a type of drug known as a “dopamine agonist” that imitates the effects of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that plays a key role in controlling the brain’s award and pleasure centers. It also plays an important role in addiction. Abilify, some researchers believe, affects the brain’s dopamine system in two ways: Creating urges towards reward and impairing decision-making. Thus, the drug may both hyper-stimulate the brain’s reward system and reduce cognitive control (in other words, press the accelerator while disarming the brakes).
Additional Abilify Litigation
Type 2 Diabetes Claim
Five women sued Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Otsuka American Pharmaceutical in 2014 and 2015, alleging Abilify caused type 2 diabetes in children and that the companies failed to warn physicians who prescribed the drug for off-label use of that risk. Those suits, however, were dismissed. They were all filed in New York, and the defendants successfully argued that they would be unable to get out-of-state witnesses to testify.
A U.S. judge tossed federal court claims that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical paid kickbacks to persuade doctors to prescribe Abilify. Two whistleblowers brought the lawsuit in 2011, pointing to promotions to pediatric psychiatrists as evidence of off-label marketing. Judge William Bertelsman said in his ruling that there was a lack of specific evidence to support the kickback claims. He did, however, permit the whistleblowers to pursue claims that Bristol-Myers fired them to retaliate for their off-label accusations.
Illegal Promotion of Abilify
It is not illegal for doctors to prescribe a medication for an unapproved use, but it is illegal for drug companies to encourage doctors to do it. Bristol-Myers Squibb has paid two multimillion-dollar settlements to resolve allegations that it did just that.
Until recently, Abilify’s prescribing information did not mention gambling as a possible side effect, despite the fact that scientific literature has linked the drug to compulsive gambling since at least 2010. The FDA, citing hundreds of adverse event reports, ordered new Abilify warnings for compulsive gambling, shopping, eating, and sex in May 2016. Meanwhile, Abilify patients who suffered financial and personal losses as a result of gambling, shopping, or sex addictions (or other compulsive behaviors) have filed lawsuits against drug maker Bristol-Myer Squibb.
A lawsuit can provide compensation for these Abilify-related damages:
- Neuropsychiatric injury
- Physical injury
- Emotional distress
- A spouse’s loss of consortium
- Gambling losses, including loss of financial stability and other economic losses
If you or a loved one have been affected by the drug Abilify, we encourage you to consult with our team as soon as possible. With our extensive knowledge and expertise, you can rest assured that you will have legal representation you can trust. All initial consultations are free, and we don’t charge any up-front fees for representation. We handle all fees on a contingency basis, meaning that unless we’re successful, you don’t have to pay us.
You can rely on our tenacious and hardworking team to fight tirelessly for every penny you are owed.