Each year hundreds of thousands of men, women and adolescents are diagnosed with some form of mental disorder. For many suffering from conditions like, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, tic disorders, even irritability associated with autism, Abilify seemed to be the answer. That is until a number of patients who took the drug, exactly as prescribed, began to develop symptoms of compulsive gambling, shopping, overeating and sexual behaviors. For this reason, some of those who have suffered from Abilify side effects have begun to file lawsuits against the drug’s manufacturer; claiming they were not warned of the antipsychotic’s unlisted compulsive gambling and other compulsive side effects.
What Is Abilify?
Abilify is the trade name of Aripiprazole, an antipsychotic approved by The FDA on November 15, 2002. The drug was originally approved to treat schizophrenia, but has since been widely prescribed in the treatment of a host of other mental illnesses including:
- Bipolar I Disorder
- Irritability Associated With Autistic Disorder
- Tourette’s Disorder
- Agitation Associated With Schizophrenia Or Bipolar Mania
Abilify is manufactured by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, under licence by Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada.
Abilify Side Effects
Like many drugs used to treat mental illness, Abilify comes with unwanted side effects. Unlike compulsive gambling, eating, shopping and sex, the following side effects are clearly listed on the drug’s packaging:
COMMON ABILIFY SIDE EFFECTS:
- Weight gain
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and / or vomiting
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling tired
- Anxiety or restlessness
- Cold symptoms including congestion, sneezing and sore throat.
SEVERE ABILIFY SIDE EFFECTS:
- Severe agitation
- Twitching or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs
- Mask-like appearance of the face
- Trouble swallowing
- Speech problems
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Nervous system reactions, including: muscle rigidity, fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, light headedness
- Low blood cell count, causing sudden weakness or sick feeling, swollen gums, mouth sores, swollen gums, skin sores, constant cold or flu symptoms and trouble breathing
- Increased blood sugar, which may cause increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, weight loss and tired feeling.
If you or a loved one has experienced any of Abilify’s “common side effects” or “severe side effects”, you should contact medical professional immediately.
Abilify Linked To Compulsive Disorder Side Effects
Unlike Abilify’s listed side effects, which doctors and pharmacists are required to review with patients, the drug has recently been linked to unlisted compulsions including:
- Uncontrollable gambling
- Compulsive sexual behavior
- Compulsive shopping
While most Americans can participate in these activities and stop when necessary, a number of patients prescribed to Abilify have reported that they can not. Each of these compulsions comes with its own set of problems, often ruining relationships with family and friends. It is hard for most people to imagine the suffering that comes with uncontrollable urges, which makes it all the more difficult for sufferers to come forward. Patients who were, or currently are, prescribed Abilify may have silently suffered for years; as information on compulsion caused by Aripiprazole (Abilify) is just now beginning to surface.
Remember, you are not alone.
AOL reported on an Abilify patient, who wished to remain anonymous. The mother of two said she had lost custody of her children, and over $1,000,000, after her doctor prescribed her Abilify to treat her 2008 depression diagnosis. She was quoted,
“Eventually, I was asked to leave my parents’ house because I couldn’t stop gambling”.
The article goes on to point out that European patients learned about the connection between Abilify and compulsive behavior more than four years before Americans. Leading many patients to suspect that they were willfully mislead by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Abilify’s Black Box Warnings
Compulsive gambling, eating, sexual behavior and shopping aren’t the first side effects to occur with Abilify patients. The FDA has handed down two Black Box Warnings against the drug since its 2002 approval. These warnings (the most serious type of FDA warning) require drug companies to boldly list dangerous side effects clearly on drug packaging. These warnings include:
- A 4.5% rate of mortality associated with the drug, compared to a 2.6% risk in placebo trial groups.
- An increased risk in suicidal thoughts in children and teens taking Abilify and / or drugs like it.
Despite these warnings, Abilify remains on the market. Neither Bristol-Myers Squibb nor the FDA have announced any plans to add increased risk in dangerous compulsive behaviors to the drug’s packaging; even after Bristol-Myers Squibb saw revenues of over $16.5 Billion USD in 2016.