Abilify is a prescription medication manufactured by Bristol- Meyers Squibb that has helped many people who struggle with various medical conditions including Tourette’s Syndrome, Autism, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Bi-Polar disorder. It works by adjusting the levels of both serotonin and dopamine, and can relieve irritability and nervousness. Abilify’s own information page lists many potential side effects including increased risk of stroke, increased blood sugar, weight gain and more. One thing is doesn’t list is the potential for the drug to prompt impulsive behavior, most commonly compulsive gambling. Gambling is of special concern because it can have a serious financial impact on a person, and put a strain on their entire family.
According to various studies, several medications that alter dopamine levels have been found to bring about various impulsive behaviors. Gambling has been reported most often, however other behaviors such as compulsive shopping and binge eating have also been a problem for some people taking the medication. One French study looked at eight patients who were being treated for a gambling addiction with Abilify, and seven of those patients suffered a serious backslide in their program, which was corrected when they stopped taking Abilify.
Abilify is considered to be an anti-psychotic. While it can help several different mental health and other conditions, the fact that Bristol-Meyers Squibb has failed to properly warn patients against impulsivity side effects is more than concerning. The absence of sufficient warning has led to some patients taking this drug to have increased medical problems and suffer greatly socially, emotionally, and financially.
Any substance that encourages a behavior such as impulsive gambling is far too costly. Those who have sought compensation due to their own suffering of these problems, as well as those of family members who have died while on Abilify are seeking help with medical bills, gambling debts, loss of wages, and treatment costs.
At Meinhart, Smith, and Manning in Louisville, Kentucky our firm works hard to stay on top of dangerous drugs and medication. Most pharmaceutical lawsuits center around a company’s failure to properly warn patients of potential dangers, and with Abilify it seems that many doctors were not given the information they needed in order to properly inform their patients of the risks involved in taking the medication.
When a person suffers from pathological gambling, it is more than just their pocketbook that is at risk. They are more likely to develop conditions such as sleep deprivation, hypertension, peptic ulcers, and cardio-vascular problems that are commonly brought on in part by excess stress. Mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression are also likely to increase when gambling problems become severe. This may result in a person’s loss of productivity, cause legal problems, relationship problems, and may put them at a greater risk of suicide.
Evidence has shown that for those who are compulsive gamblers the actual brain changes in a way that is very similar to those who suffer from substance abuse. Another medical side effect comes from the actual gambling environment, which is often a casino that allows cigarette smoking. For non-smokers second hand smoke can be another problem.
Creating new drugs to help better people’s lives is not an easy task, but is also not a task that we can afford to rush. When pharmaceutical companies push for drugs to be approved before they are truly ready they put both individuals and society at risk. This is especially true when it comes to medications that affect the mind.
If you or a loved one have taken Abilify and found that you experienced an increased amount of impulsive behaviors, and those behaviors had a negative impact on your life, or if a loved one lost their life due to the side effects of compulsive gambling brought on by the use of Abilify, we at Meinhart, Smith and Manning want to hear your story. No one who is seeking help for a medical disorder should be dragged into an even bigger problem just as they are trying to get the help they need. To set up a FREE consultation to discuss your case, contact us today.