The antipsychotic medication, Abilify, has been linked to compulsive behaviors such as gambling. If you or someone close to you has taken the drug and accumulated substantial gambling debts as a result, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Get started online or call 866-957-4185 to schedule a confidential consultation.
Abilify, the brand name of the drug aripirazole, is prescribed to hundreds of thousands of people in the United States to treat depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental health issues. In many instances, however, people taking Abilify who have never exhibited a gambling problem have developed a powerful addiction.
This addiction can become so overwhelming that someone will gamble even if he or she can’t afford to do so. A person may use credit cards, ask friends or family members for money, or go to other extremes in order to be able to gamble. This could not only lead to financial ruin, loss of reputation and possibly even the loss of a job, it could also lead to severe psychological issues.
Abilify’s labeling does not carry any mention of the potential risk of compulsive gambling or other issues involving impulsive behavior. All drug manufacturers have an obligation to make sure healthcare providers and patients are informed regarding possible side effects and risks of using their product. When they fail to do so, they may be liable for the damages that patients suffer.
How Does This Happen?
While researchers are not yet certain why there is a potential link between Abilify and compulsive gambling, one theory is that the drug affects brain receptors that control behavior and mood. These receptors are stimulated by chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.
Dopamine is typically produced as a response to a certain type of activity and results in a feeling of pleasure. When someone has a mental disorder, however, either too much dopamine is produced or not enough. Researchers believe Abilify could result in an over-stimulation of the receptors that act on dopamine, thus leading to compulsive gambling and other impulsive behaviors.
JAMA Internal Medicine published a study in 2014 that linked Abilify with potential problems involving impulse control. Researchers studied nearly 1,600 adverse drug events involving impulsive behavior issues, finding a “significant” association between the medication and disorders such as compulsive gambling.
The March 2014 issue of the medical journal Addictive Behaviors contained a study conducted by French researchers that examined patients who were being treated for compulsive gambling. The researchers looked at eight patients who were taking Abilify and found that the drug directly led to gambling problems in seven of those patients. According to the study, when the use of Abilify was either discontinued or substantially reduced, those patients were able to once again control their impulsive behavior.
A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry also showed a link between Abilify and an urge to gamble. It examined three patients who were on the drug and exhibited compulsive gambling behavior. One of the patients became so obsessed he committed crimes in order to get the money he needed. However, after his psychiatrist took him off of Abilify and moved him to another drug, he reported that he no longer had thoughts of gambling. A six-month follow-up visit showed that the patient had maintained this abstinence. The other two patients also stopped gambling after they no longer took Abilify. One told the researchers that he was unable to “reflect on his behavior” when taking Abilify and suspected the drug had induced his urge to gamble.
How Baron & Budd Can Help
If you or someone close to you experienced compulsive gambling behavior after taking Abilify, you may be able to take legal action in order to obtain financial compensation.
Baron and Budd may be able to help if any of the following apply to you or a loved one:
- Your or your loved one lost more than $20,000 gambling while using Abilify
- You or your loved one did not have any history of gambling issues before using the drug.
- You or your loved one no longer had any issues with gambling after stopping use of Abilify.
There is no mention of this risk on the medication’s warning label; many patients only learned of that risk after suffering terribly. If you would like more information regarding your potential legal options, please call Baron & Budd at 866-957-4185 or get started online.