Dozens of lawsuits alleging the antipsychotic drug Abilify caused compulsive gambling were centralized in a Florida federal court on October 3, 2016. These cases were filed on behalf of individuals who experienced significant financial and mental losses. They are filed against the manufacturers of the drug, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.
The Abilify lawsuits pending in 14 districts were consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Florida in an effort to:
- Eliminate duplicative discovery
- Conserve court resources
- Prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings.
The cases were consolidated before Chief Judge M. Casey Rodgers, who is already presiding over two Abilify cases in Florida’s Northern District in Pensacola.
Abilify Compulsive Gambling Lawsuit
Product liability lawsuits against the Abilify makers allege that the companies withheld information from consumers. Furthermore, the lawsuits allege that medical professionals were not informed about how Abilify use can lead to compulsive gambling and other compulsive behaviors.
The plaintiffs in many of these cases claim pathological gambling activity, loss of employment, severe damage to financial stability, and other mental and physical damages as a result of their Abilify use. Their gambling problems typically ended soon after they stopped the medication.
Did the FDA warn about the Compulsive Gambling Risk with Abilify?
Despite the fact that the European FDA (European Medicines Agency) required Abilify warnings about the risk of compulsive gambling starting in 2012 and regulatory officials in Canada mandated similar warnings in late 2015, such warnings were not provided to consumers in the U.S. until May of 2016.
On May 3, 2016, the FDA issued a warning that compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex have been reported with the use of Abilify.
What is Abilify?
Abilify (aripiprazole) is an antipsychotic drug that was approved by the FDA in 2002. The medication is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and autism spectrum disorders. Abilify has generated sales of more than $6 billion per year and was the top selling brand name drug on the market in 2013.
In 2014, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine reported evidence that dopamine receptor agonists (often used to treat Parkinson’s Disease) were linked to gambling and other impulse-control problems, the same behavioral problems associated with Abilify use.