Bristol-Myers Squibb fails to warn about a 7-fold increased risk of type-2 diabetes associated with Abilify, according to a recent lawsuit. Unfortunately, diabetes is a chronic medical condition that can cause permanent side effects.

Abilify Diabetes Lawsuit

In August 2014, Bristol-Myers Squibb was hit with a lawsuit (PDF) from a young woman who says Abilify caused her to be diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. According to the lawsuit, the label on Abilify fails to warn that children are nearly 10-times as likely to develop adult-onset diabetes after taking high doses.

The plaintiff, Cheyenne Beth Confer, was 15 years old when her doctor prescribed Abilify “off-label” to treat depression. She gained 30 pounds in six months and was diagnosed with diabetes. Her attorneys blame Bristol-Myers Squibb for ignoring evidence dating back to 2005 that links Abilify and diabetes. They say the label is outdated and does not provide adequate risk information for doctors or their patients.

What is the problem?

Anti-psychotic medications like Abilify are powerful drugs that are well-known to cause serious weight-gain — especially in children, who are more sensitive to the drug. Rapid weight-gain is a risk-factor for type-2 diabetes.

Recent studies have found a 3-fold increased risk of diabetes among children on anti-psychotics. This is concerning, because the number of children on anti-psychotics has increased along with the rate of childhood diabetes.

Many children are prescribed the drugs for “off-label” disorders like ADHD and disruptive behavior. Unfortunately, the metabolic changes from diabetes often persist for years. This means side effects may not go away when Abilify is discontinued.

What is Type-2 Diabetes?

Type-2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that causes chronic problems with high blood-sugar (hyperglycemia). Normally, the hormone insulin tells cells absorb glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream. Diabetes occurs when cells are resistant to insulin and fail to absorb enough glucose, resulting in high blood-sugar levels.


Without treatment, type-2 diabetes can worsen over time. It is important to adhere to a strict diet and lifestyle that includes routine exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Many people must measure their blood-sugar levels on a daily basis, take medications, and/or injections of insulin.

Complications of Diabetes

  • Neuropathy (nerve pain)
  • Vision problems (cataracts, vision loss, etc.)
  • Foot infections
  • Edema (swelling of the legs due to fluid retention)
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy)
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Skin infections
  • And more


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