A growing number of lawsuits have been filed by people who took the antipsychotic drug Abilify and experienced uncontrollable urges to gamble, eat, shop, or have sex.
Abilify MDL Centralizes Gambling Lawsuits in Florida
In October 2016, judges centralized all federal Abilify lawsuits into Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2734) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida under Judge M. Casey Rodgers.
Label Updates Emphasize Addictive Behaviors
August 2016 — The new label (PDF) warns that patients may not be able to recognize compulsive behaviors as abnormal. Doctors should specifically ask about the development of new or intense urges to gamble, have sex, shop, or binge eat. In some cases — although not all — urges went away in patients who stopped taking Abilify or reduced the dose. Click here to read more.
FDA Issues Warning About Impulse Disorders
In May 2016, the FDA issued a Safety Communication to warn about the risk of uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex with the use of Abilify. The FDA identified 184 case reports of impulse-control problems since Abilify was approved in November 2002. Click here to read more.
Abilify and Gambling Addiction
Abilify belongs to a class of drugs that treat mental illness by balancing levels of dopamine in the brain. Unfortunately, this mechanism also increases the risk of gambling addiction. Evidence of this side effect has been growing since 2005 and some experts are calling for a “Black Box” warning label.
In April 2011, the British Journal of Psychiatry published details of three case reports describing pathological gambling addiction in schizophrenic patients on Abilify — all of whom improved soon after stopping Abilify. According to the reports:
“[J] was pre-occupied with thoughts of gambling and his gambling activity became both impulsive and involved extensive planning in obtaining funds to gamble, including the use of crime.”
“[K] described an escalation in his gambling to the extent of spending all of his money and it being ‘a reason to live’.”
“[S] began experiencing strong urges to gamble in the form of a euphoric feeling when thinking about gambling. In the following 2 years he incurred debts of around £25,000 on internet betting sites.”