Did you use Abilify and develop a gambling problem? Did you lose $30,000, $50,000 or more? If you can document your gambling losses, you could receive compensation in an Abilify lawsuit.

Abilify is an anti-psychotic drug that is used to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, and depression. The medication is also supposed to reduce hallucinations, mood swings, disorganized thoughts, depressive thoughts, and tics.

Abilify (aripiprazole) was approved by the FDA in 2002. It was part of the second generation of atypical antipsychotic medications (SGAs). Other related drugs in this class are Saphris, Clozaril, Seroquel, and Risperdal. The drug was touted as an effective, new treatment for serious mental illnesses. But users did not know that Abilify can have serious, hidden side effects that can damage or ruin their lives.

Problems with Abilify

Abilify users have alleged in lawsuits that taking the drug caused them to develop dangerous compulsive behaviors:

  • Gambling
  • Binge eating
  • Hypersexuality
  • Excessive shopping and spending

Plaintiffs in lawsuits seek reimbursement for their damages and losses related to taking Abilify. For example, compulsive gamblers want to be reimbursed for their financial losses, treatment costs and personal damages to their family relationships.

Compulsive eaters want to be paid for their medical costs, including weight loss treatment and weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass.

People who have engaged in hypersexual behavior want compensation for the emotional and financial costs of divorce.

Other serious side effects of Abilify include:

  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Low blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Low blood count
  • High blood sugar

If you have suffered an injury or addiction related to taking Abilify, you could be eligible for compensation in an Abilify lawsuit.

How Abilify Works

Abilify works by blocking receptors in the dopamine pathways of the brain. These receptors are important in one’s reward-motivated behaviors. Drugs such as Abilify are supposed to lower a person’s moodiness, aggressive behavior, and hyperactivity.

As of 2013, Abilify was the #1 prescription drug in sales in the US with billions of dollars in yearly sales.

FDA Issues Black Box Warning

FDA has issued a warning about a link between Abilify and obsessive behaviors, including gambling, binge eating, shopping sexual activity. These behaviors were reduced when the drug was discontinued. (FDA.gov)

FDA found 167 patients between 2002-16 who had new, compulsive urges after they began taking the drug. Within a few days or weeks of discontinuing the drug, all patients reported their compulsive problems stopped. None of the patients FDA studied had a history of compulsive gambling, sexual activity, binge eating, or compulsive shopping.

FDA also issued a black box warning about Abilify and a higher chance of death in elderly patients being treated for psychosis related to dementia. The black box statement also warned of a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children, adolescents, and young adults.

EMA and Health Canada Warnings on Abilify

In 2012, the European Medicines Agency (EMA,) the equivalent of FDA in Europe, mandated that Abilify labels must have a warning about pathological gambling.

Health Canada also performed a safety review to study the link between the drug and compulsive behaviors, including gambling. The Canadian agency states that post-marketing reports of excessive gambling were reported in some patients, noting that patients with any history of a gambling problem should be closely monitored by their doctor.

Health Canada further found in its review that in 14 out of 18 gambling addiction cases, patients resolved their compulsive behaviors when they stopped taking Abilify.

But the labeling for the drug in the US did not mention pathological gambling as a known side effect. The word ‘gambling’ was never even mentioned in the US label for the drug.

Clinical Studies Link Abilify to Gambling Addiction

A 2011 clinical study reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry found a link between Abilify and compulsive gambling. Researchers studied three patients who reported a higher desire to gamble after they started on the drug. (Cambridge.org)

In one case, the patient said he had a major increase in his desire to gamble. It allegedly led to him spending all of his savings after taking Abilify for three months. When he stopped taking the drug, he felt no compulsion to gamble. Another study participant said she started to take the drug in 2007 and incurred $65,000 in financial losses but stopped having a gambling problem when she stopped taking Abilify in 2014.

In another 2011, study, three patients who had no gambling problem before taking the drug soon became addicted after taking Abilify. Their behavior ceased soon after discontinuation of the drug.

Another study in 2014 noted several impulse control disorders associated with taking dopamine receptor antagonists such as Abilify. Disorders included pathological gambling, sexual addiction, and compulsive shopping.

Abilify Lawsuit Settlements

In 2005, Bristol-Myers Squibb was ordered to pay a penalty of $515 million to the federal government to settle personal injury claims. It was alleged the pharmaceutical company marketed Abilify to elderly patients and children for off-label uses.

In 2008, Otsuka Pharmaceutical was ordered to pay the federal government $4 million to settle claims that the drug company marketed the drug to child psychiatrists and nursing homes for off-label uses.

In 2016, BMS paid a fine of $19.5 million to several state governments to settle lawsuits claiming that the firm minimized Abilify risks. The company also was accused of distorting clinical trial data, and promoting the drug illegally for off-label uses. Also, Bristol-Myers Squibb paid $30 million to California for paying doctors illegally to prescribe the drug.

If you have suffered losses and injuries from Abilify, it is wise to contact an Abilify lawsuit attorney today. You could be entitled to a financial settlement.

Abilify Recalls and Warnings

As of mid-2019, there have not been any Abilify recalls related to gambling or other addictive behaviors. However, FDA in 2016 stated the Abilify label must be changed to warn of a link to addictive behaviors, including gambling.

The Abilify label now states that patients might now be able to recognize addictive behavior as abnormal. Thus, it is important for healthcare providers to ask patients or their loved ones about the development of gambling urges compulsive sexual urges, compulsive shopping or compulsive eating.

Pending Abilify Lawsuits

There are hundreds of pending lawsuits against Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) for addictive behaviors allegedly caused by Abilify. Plaintiffs claim BMS and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals designed and manufactured a defective drug and did not warn consumers of major, life-changing side effects.

The plaintiffs also argue the companies needed to warn doctors and patients of major side effects. One plaintiff argued in their Abilify lawsuit that he started to compulsively gamble when he began using the drug. He claimed he lost $36,000 and suffered other physical, mental and economic damages.

Multidistrict Litigation Ongoing

Litigation regarding Abilify and compulsive behaviors is ongoing. In 2016, several hundred Abilify lawsuits were consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Florida. In May 2018, the first three cases that were scheduled for trial settled, but the amount was undisclosed. (UScourts.gov). It is reported there are 700 other cases pending in the MDL.

The three cases that have been settled are important because they are ‘bellwethers.’ This means they help to gauge the strength of the lawsuits against the company. Bellwether trials also show if a settlement can be reached.

If you have been injured by Abilify, it is smart to contact an attorney to join the ongoing MDL. You could be eligible for compensation when a larger settlement is reached.

Compensation in an Abilify Lawsuit

If you have had gambling losses caused by Abilify, you could be eligible for compensation in an Abilify lawsuit. Damages that are available include:

  • Past and future medical costs to treat your gambling addiction.
  • Past and future mental pain and suffering caused by a gambling addiction, such as losing family and friends. You also may be compensated for losing your job and damaging your finances.
  • Gambling losses.
  • Other financial losses suffered from compulsive behavior.
  • Punitive damages in some cases.

You may qualify for an Abilify settlement if you:

  • Developed a compulsive gambling disorder after taking the drug.
  • Have no history of addictive gambling.
  • Have gambling losses of $50,000 or more.
  • Have documentation that shows your financial losses, such as ATM receipts, bank statements, or player’s card summary.
  • No longer are using Abilify.

Speak to an Abilify Lawsuit Attorney Today

If you have suffered addictive disorders from taking Abilify, such as compulsive gambling, you are not alone. Thousands of other people claim the drug has damaged or ruined their lives. To determine if you may qualify for a settlement, please contact our law office today for a free consultation.