November 4, 2014 — Last month, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found a link between Abilify and compulsive behavior disorders, including gambling addiction.
Abilify is a drug typically used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. It belongs to a class of drugs known as dopamine receptor agonists, which include drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease (Mirapex, Requip, etc.).
Researchers found that Mirapex and Requip were most likely to be associated with impulse-control disorders, such as gambling addiction, hyper-sexuality, and compulsive shopping. There were 37 reports of these disorders in patients on Abilify.
This is not the first time Abilify has been linked to impulse-control disorders. The study adds to a growing body of scientific evidence. Researchers warned that drug-makers are not providing sufficient warnings about the risk of behavior disorders, despite evidence dating back to at least 2009.
In 2013, a French study published in the journal Addictive Behavior reported eight cases of gambling addiction in patients on Abilify, including 7 that were possibly caused by the drug.
Two studies published in 2011 also linked Abilify and gambling addiction. One study described three cases of pathological gambling schizophrenic patients who had no history of the problem before taking Abilify. The behavior disappeared quickly after they stopped taking Abilify.
The other study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry details three case reports of Abilify-induced gambling addiction in schizophrenic patients, suggesting that the drug may reduce impulse-control disorders.