Abilify, which is also sold under the name Aristada, is an anti-psychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, autism, and depression. The manufacturers of Abilify, Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Bristol-Myers Squibb, claim it can decrease hallucinations, disorganized thinking, irritability, mood swings, hyperactivity, depressive thoughts, tics, and aggressive behaviors.
Abilify was initially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) in 2002. Since then studies have shown that patients who take Abilify may develop addictive behaviors including compulsive gambling, shopping, eating, and hypersexuality. These studies show that addictive behaviors start almost immediately upon taking Abilify, and typically stop within days to weeks of reducing or discontinuing the medicine. None of the patients involved in these studies had a history of pathological gambling, compulsive sexual behavior, binge eating, or compulsive shopping prior to taking Abilify.
In 2016 – 14 years after Abilify was first approved for prescription to patients in the U.S. – the FDA required the manufacturers of Ability to change the label change to include a warning that compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge-eat, shop, and have sex have been reported with the use of Abilify. Similarly, labels for Abilify sold in Canada have been updated to advise of an increased risk of impulsive behaviors of pathological gambling and hypersexuality.
Other side effects of Abilify may include the following: anxiety, blurred vision, constipation, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, drooling, drowsiness, headache, high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), lightheadedness, nausea, and weight gain. Pre-teens have also reported experiencing suicidal thoughts when taking Abilify.
Several lawsuits have been filed against Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Bristol-Myers Squibb by patients who took Abilify and developed compulsive behaviors. These patients allege that Otsuka and Bristol-Myers Squibb were negligent in the design of Abilify, failed to properly test Abilify, exaggerated the benefits of Abilify and hid evidence of the risk of compulsive behaviors from the FDA in order to obtain approval of the drug. These lawsuits further allege that once Abilify was approved Otsuka and Bristol-Myers Squibb failed to warn doctors and patients of the risk that Abilify could cause compulsive behaviors and encouraged doctors to prescribe Abilify for “off-label” purposes not approved by the FDA. The lawsuits allege that if doctors and patients had known the true risks, then a different medication would have been prescribed or if Abilify was prescribed patients would have been more closely monitored for development of addictive behaviors.
If you or a loved one has taken Abilify and experienced any adverse side effects, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Canepa, Riedy, Abele, & Fischer are currently offering free case evaluations to patients who have been harmed by Abilify. To learn more about your legal options, please contact us for a free consultation.