Abilify, Compulsive Gambling and other Impulse Control Disorders
By Sandra Dalton, Staff Writer
Abilify (aripiprazole) is an antipsychotic drug prescribed to people with disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Abilify use has been linked to impulse control problems including uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, spend money and have sex. The fallout from these Abilify side effects can include legal problems for victims and total financial devastation for the entire family. In May, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about Abilify and impulse control problems.
Abilify was approved by the FDA in 2002. It is in a class of drugs called atypical antipsychotics. It affects dopamine and serotonin, and rather than blocking them, works by either enhancing or inhibiting them. It is supposed to help create a balance of these brain chemicals.
Abilify is approved to treat:
- Major depression
- Manic or mixed episodes in bipolar disorder
- Irritability associated with autism
- Tourette’s syndrome
Compulsive Gambling and other Impulse Control
Abilify use has been linked to impulse control problems including compulsive gambling and uncontrollable urges to have sex, shop or spend money, and binge eat. On May 3, 2016, the FDA issued a safety warning announcing that it had received 184 reports of impulse-control problems associated with Abilify use since the drug’s approval in November, 2002. The vast majority of the reports involved compulsive gambling. According to the FDA, when the medication was stopped or the dose was reduced, the impulse control problems went away.
Symptoms of compulsive gambling include:
- Preoccupation with gambling
- Reliving past gambling experiences
- Taking increasingly bigger risks when gambling
- Getting a thrill from taking bigger risks
- Feeling guilty about gambling
- Failing when trying to cut back on gambling
- Gambling to escape problems or negative feelings
- Gambling interferes with work or family life
- Hiding gambling or lying about it
- Borrowing money to gamble
- Stealing to gamble
Obviously, compulsive gambling and other impulse-control problems can cause serious harm to victims and their loved ones. The most common harm is financial, but there is a very real danger of life-changing legal problems and physical injury. Examples of the types of damages you may be able to recover if you have been harmed by Abilify include:
- Money lost as a result of gambling or compulsive spending
- Cost of treatment for Abilify-induced addictions
- Medical expenses for physical injuries resulting from impulse-control problems
- Lost income due to time missed from work, poor performance or job loss
- Diminished earning capacity
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
If you or someone you love has been harmed by compulsive gambling or another impulse-control disorder while taking Abilify, you can learn more about your rights and how you can recover damages for your losses by searching our directory to find a defective product lawyer near you.