In 2013, Abilify became highest grossing drug in the world, with annual sales of over $8,000,000,000. Doctors prescribe Abilify (aripirazole) to nearly a million Americans each year to treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression, allowing them to lead more stable lives. Additionally, Abilify has been used to treat cocaine addiction, methamphetamine dependency, and certain aspects of autism in children. While the drug is effective at helping to control the symptoms of the medical disorders, it comes with a side effect that patients don’t expect – compulsive gambling. Approximately 8.8 million Abilify prescriptions were written in 2014 alone.
Abilify acts on the same nerves in the brain that are activated by dopamine, which stimulates pleasure centers in the brain. As a result, compulsive behaviors have been reported by patients taking this medication; particularly, compulsive gambling. Even though the drug has been on the market since 2002, evidence is only now emerging that very little is actually known about the drug and the compulsive behaviors it causes.
A case study in the journal Current Drug Safety, reported several cases of compulsive gambling in patients who took Abilify. According to the report, none of the patients had a history of compulsive gambling habits, and the gambling addictions ended once they stopped taking Abilify. Recently, this past May, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration issued a warning about Abilify’s side-effects, and announced it will begin labeling the products with the appropriate label. In its research, the agency identified a total of 167 cases in the U.S. involving impulse-control problems in both adults and children taking Abilify. The vast majority of those cases (164) were identified as compulsive gambling.
In late August 2016, Bristol-Myers Squibb made significant changes to Abilify’s package warnings. Notably, these changes specified:
“Post-marketing case reports suggest that patients can experience intense urges, particularly for gambling, and the inability to control these urges while taking Abilify. Because patients may not recognize these behaviors as abnormal, it is important for prescribers to ask patients or their caregivers specifically about the development of new or intense gambling urges or other urges while being treated with aripiprazole.”
If you have no history of pathological, compulsive gambling prior to taking Abilify, and now have crippling debt, and are unable to obtain a mortgage or car loan due to gambling debts arising after taking Abilify, contact us online or call us at 1-866-252-3535.