Our Abilify lawyers are currently accepting cases involving compulsive behavior. The FDA recently added warnings to Abilify’s labels detailing the drug’s link to uncontrollable urges for sex, gambling, shopping, and eating.
Abilify (aripiprazole) is prescribed to treat depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, among other mental disorders. It is prescribed to approximately 1.6 million Americans.
Since Abilify’s approval 14 years ago, the FDA has gathered information on the drug from patients, doctors and medical literature. By far the most common problem associated with Abilify is pathological gambling. All patients who experienced problematic side effects started the compulsive behavior after beginning Abilify, and all patients said their symptoms stopped or significantly reduced after stopping the drug.
If you’re interested in reading more detailed cases of specific Abilify side effects, check out our first blogon Abilify gambling lawsuits.
Importantly, none of the patients the FDA reviewed had a history of substance abuse, pathological gambling, compulsive sexual behavior, binge eating, or compulsive shopping.
Read more on the FDA’s labeling update and patient data here.
How Abilify Works
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Abilify works by partially blocking dopamine receptors in the brain. Dopamine is a well-known, complex molecule involved in a person’s motivation, pleasure, compulsion, and reward (like sex and orgasm, drugs, food, etc) among many other things. It’s associated with addiction, schizophrenia, OCD, lust and love, psychosis, and ADHD.
Dopamine is one of the chemicals that pass information from one neuron to another in the brain. When it’s released, it floats into the tiny space between neurons (called the synapse) and bumps against dopamine receptors. These receptors signal the receiving neuron, so it can accept the dopamine. There are five types of dopamine receptors.
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As mentioned, Abilify partially blocks these dopamine receptors. Dopamine is involved in many different important pathways in the brain, but Abilify specifically targets the pathway concerned with motivation and “rewards.” Sex, drugs, music, and gambling are all led by increases in dopamine in this pathway.
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Medical scientists believe people with schizophrenia, bipolar, and other mental conditions have an overactive dopamine system. So when Abilify blocks dopamine’s receptors, its intention is to regulate the brain’s chemistry. However, in some patients, the drug actually activates signaling for reward in the brain. This reward activation makes it virtually impossible to stop a certain compulsion, whether it’s for blackjack, pizza, sex, or shopping.
Dopamine’s individual effects depends on where it’s being released from, where the receiving neurons are going, and what types of receptors are sending signals between the two. Modern science still doesn’t know or understand all the functions of the brains, its chemicals, pathways and molecules. The disorders Abilify is intended to treat are incredibly complex, and no one knows exactly how or why they occur.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Abilify’s manufacturer over destructive, uncontrollable urges. If more than 1.6 million Americans are taking Abilify, there’s no telling how many have and continue to suffer overwhelming urges to engage in dangerous, destructive, and unsafe behavior, and not understand why. Lawsuits like this are the only way to hold drug companies accountable for failing to warn about the risks of a drug and simultaneously inform the public.
The first person to file an Abilify lawsuit took the drug for ten years and developed a severe gambling problem. He lost over $50,000 from his compulsion to gamble, and only recently discovered Abilify’s potential to cause this type of behavior. Had he known about this risk, he would have stopped Abilify immediately, saving an immense amount of money, repairing his relationships, and improving the overall quality of his life substantially.
Our Abilify lawyers are now accepting cases involving uncontrollable urges in patients who took Abilify. You may be able to recover monetary damages for the pain and suffering caused by this drug. To speak to an attorney, call or visit our website for a free case review. We accept clients nationwide, and never charge anything out-of-pocket.