Attorney for Injuries and Deaths Caused by Taking Abilify
Abilify, a prescription drug that contains the active ingredient aripiprazole, was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002. Though Abilify was designed to treat schizophrenia, it has been widely prescribed to patients suffering from conditions ranging from insomnia and anxiety to dementia and eating disorders. Abilify has now been linked to hundreds of cases where taking the drug increased impulsive or addictive behaviors, causing many Abilify patients to struggle with gambling addictions, shopping addictions, sexual addictions, addictions to food, and other impulsive behavior.
If you or one of your family members developed a gambling addiction or other addictive disorder after being prescribed Abilify, you should talk about your situation with an experienced Abilify lawsuit lawyer. If you suffered physical or financial harm after taking Abilify, you may have a claim and could be entitled to compensation. To talk about your legal options in a free consultation with an Abilify injury lawyer, contact The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked online, or call (305) 690-0244 today.
What is Abilify Used For?
Abilify is a prescription drug marketed by Otsuka America and Bristol-Myers Squibb. The active ingredient in Abilify is aripiprazole, an anti-psychotic medication.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Abilify has been approved by the FDA to treat the following conditions or certain of their symptoms:
- Agitation related to schizophrenia
- Bipolar disorder
- Irritability related to autism
- Major depressive disorder
- Tourette’s syndrome
While Abilify has been FDA-approved for the conditions listed above, it is also commonly prescribed for a range of conditions that it is has not been approved to treat. Some lawsuits allege that Abilify’s makers persuaded physicians to prescribe Abilify for unapproved uses. Abilify lawsuits also make other serious allegations concerning this drug’s risks and negative effects, which are described below.
How Dangerous is Abilify?
Abilify was designed to alleviate certain symptoms associated with Tourette’s syndrome, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, and depression. However, while Abilify may be effective for certain patients, it can also pose a serious hazard. Abilify has been shown to cause addictive behavior, impulsive decision-making, and compulsive acts. Some of the lawsuits allege that the makers of Abilify were aware of these facts, but concealed critical evidence from the FDA while the drug was undergoing the federal review and approval process.
Abilify Side Effects and Risks
According to the drug’s official website, serious side effects of Abilify may include the following:
- Difficulty regulating body temperature, which could increase the risk of overheating and dehydration, particularly in hot conditions
- Difficulty swallowing, which could lead to fluid in the lungs
- High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and diabetes, potentially resulting in coma or death
- Lowered blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension), which may increase the risks of fainting and suffering an injury
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), described as a “rare and serious condition that can lead to death,” which can cause symptoms such as rigid muscles, shaking, incontinence, and changes in the patient’s mental status
- Stroke, potentially resulting in death, particularly among elderly patients who are taking Abilify
- Tardive dyskinesia, a condition that causes involuntary, uncontrollable motions
Additional side effects were noted in a 2009 study published in the medical journal Annals of General Psychiatry. The study, which was conducted in part to examine the “safety of aripiprazole in the treatment of bipolar disorder,” listed “common side effects” that included “headache, dizziness… nausea, vomiting… anxiety… and blurred vision.” The study also included “uncommon side effects,” such as “seizures, weight gain… allergic reaction… speech disorder… pancreatitis, muscle pain, [and] stiffness,” in addition to other symptoms. Finally, the study noted that certain older patients who were taking Abilify could be “at increased risk of death” from stroke, heart failure, or pneumonia.
Injuries, Addictions, and Compulsive Behaviors Caused by Abilify
In addition to these serious medical risks – some of which, such as stroke, can be fatal – Abilify has also been linked to varying compulsive behaviors. These behaviors may revolve around food, sex, gambling, shopping, or other addictions. The Abilify website contains the following warning for patients:
“Some people taking Abilify have had unusual urges, such as gambling, binge eating or eating that you cannot control (compulsive), compulsive shopping and sexual urges.”
Researchers have linked this effect to an Abilify-related increase in dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and the brain’s reward system. Some patients taking Abilify may experience a spike in their dopamine levels, making it harder to stop addictive behaviors even when the person knows they are causing harm to their finances, their career, or their relationships.
On May 3, 2016, the FDA issued a press release warning the general public about the potential dangers of Abilify. The press release warned that “uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex have been reported with the use of the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole (Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Aristada, and generics).” The same press release noted that, when patients stopped using Abilify, their compulsive urges also stopped with cessation of the drug. Unfortunately, by that time, the damage has already been done for many of these patients.
Abilify Binge Eating
Binge eating disorder (BED) has the potential to be life-threatening in severe cases. Binge eating symptoms include repeatedly consuming large amounts of food, experiencing dramatic weight changes, and structuring routines around food and eating. Binge eaters usually eat rapidly, and often eat alone to avoid being seen by others. Feelings of shame, guilt, and depression are widespread among patients diagnosed with BED. BED is also physically destructive, causing health problems that can include obesity, increased risk of heart failure, pancreatitis, intestinal obstructions, ruptures of the esophagus, and a digestive disorder called gastroparesis.
Abilify Gambling Addiction
A gambling addiction, also called “problem gambling,” has the potential to rapidly cause major, long-term damage to the person’s financial health, possibly resulting in financial consequences such as excessive debt, bankruptcy, liquidation of assets, a lower credit score, difficulty qualifying for loans, home foreclosure, repossession of vehicles, and other consequences. An addiction to gambling can also take a heavy toll on a person’s social, family, and romantic relationships, often leading to depression, stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. Signs of a gambling addiction include lying about finances, borrowing money from others, making increasingly risky bets, and in severe cases, even resorting to fraud or crime to obtain the funds for gambling with.
Filing an Abilify Lawsuit
Thousands of people been negatively affected by Abilify, whether by developing addictions to gambling, shopping, eating, or other compulsive behaviors. Abilify patients can suffer enormous financial losses and expenses due to developing these addictions – in addition to the risk of serious, sometimes life-threatening medical problems associated with binge eating disorders and sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs/STIs). As of mid-2018, over 1,600 Abilify lawsuits have already been filed by patients who were harmed by the drug. If you or your loved one developed an addiction after using Abilify, you and your family are not alone.
To date, Abilify injury litigation is taking place in federal court. The Abilify injury lawsuits are directed against defendants Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, the drug’s manufacturers. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits make several claims against the defendants, including the following:
- The manufacturers of Abilify concealed evidence of the drug’s effects from regulators while the medication was being reviewed by the FDA for approval.
- The manufacturers of Abilify encouraged physicians to prescribe the drug for non-approved uses outside the scope of bipolar disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, depression, autism, and schizophrenia.
- The manufacturers of Abilify should have alerted healthcare professionals and consumers of the link between the medication and addictive behaviors like compulsive gambling.
Financial compensation may be available for patients who suffered physical, emotional, or financial injuries after using Abilify. Depending on the circumstances, an Abilify settlement or award could include compensation for:
- Emotional anguish and distress caused by the addiction
- Expenses and financial losses from gambling addiction
- Medical bills, if the person suffered injuries
- Punitive damages, a type of compensation (“damages”) meant to punish defendants for particularly severe and egregious conduct
- The cost of receiving addiction treatment and recovery from addiction
Abilify Lawsuit Lawyer for Gambling Addiction and Injury Claims
Even if you are not sure whether you have a case, you should discuss your situation with an Abilify lawsuit attorney, like Prosper Shaked. If you, your spouse, or one of your family members suffered physical injuries, financial harm, or emotional harm related to Abilify use, you could have a cause of action against the drug’s manufacturers. Prosper Shaked is a formidable attorney with experience fighting for the victims of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, and is ready to put his knowledge and tenacity to work for you and your loved ones. The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked handles pharmaceutical litigation cases and dangerous drug lawsuits nationwide.
To learn more about filing an Abilify injury lawsuit and whether you could have a case, contact The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked online to set up a free consultation. You can also reach us by calling (305) 690-0244. Our phone is open 24 hours a day for your call.