Federal Regulators Warn: Abilify Associated with Impulse Control Problems

Press Release

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals harmed by defective drugs and medical devices, comments on a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning dated May 3, 2016 about Abilify and a variety of compulsive behaviors not listed on the drug’s warning label. Abilify is also sold as Abilify Maintena and Astrida and also under the generic name aripiprazole.

The FDA’s May 3rd warning indicates that reports involve individuals who were treated with Abilify and who demonstrate impulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble, shop, binge eat, and/or have sex. The obsessive behaviors stopped when the Abilify dose was reduced or Abilify was stopped.

While pathological gambling is listed as a reported side effect on the aripiprazole drug label, the description of this side effect does not completely explain the full nature of the impulse control risk that the FDA identified, according to the agency. The FDA also indicated that it became aware of other compulsive behaviors, namely binge eating, compulsive shopping, and hypersexual (compulsive sexual behavior) behaviors, that may potentially affect anyone taking Abilify. In response, the federal regulators are adding new warnings about all of these excessive behaviors to the Abilify/aripiprazole drugs’ labels and to the patient Medication Guides.

The FDA also noted that it is aware of 184 reports of compulsive behavior since 2002, including 164 reports involving gambling, nine involving hypersexuality, and four involving compulsive shopping. Some of these individuals had no prior history of compulsive behaviors before taking Abilify, according to the FDA.

“These pathological side effects may wreak havoc in patients’ lives, harming them physically and emotionally and crippling them and their families financially,” said Melanie H. Muhlstock, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman. “For example, gambling and shopping compulsions may lead to bankruptcy and irreparable damage to savings and retirement accounts, while sexual and food compulsions may lead to serious adverse health reactions.”

According to a March 3, 2016 Law360 report, Abilify has been the focus of mounting personal injury lawsuits that were filed in 2016, which include 20 federal lawsuits and 12 lawsuits in New Jersey State court. The plaintiffs in all of these lawsuits similarly allege that, while taking Abilify, they suffered from uncontrollable urges.

One such case involved allegations that a man who took Abilify for about 10 years developed an uncontrollable gambling compulsion, losing over $50,000 as a result. Federal regulators report that approximately 7.7 million aripiprazole prescriptions were dispensed in 2015 to about 1.6 million people, which increases the likelihood of users experiencing similar uncontrollable urges in the future.

Parker Waichman LLP continues to offer free legal consultations to victims of injuries allegedly caused Abilify, including uncontrollable impulses. Please contact Parker Waichman at yourlawyer.com. Free case evaluations are also available by calling 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).