Abilify, also known as aripiprazole, is an antipsychotic drug that has been allegedly linked to risks of compulsive behaviors, including compulsive gambling, and other serious medical conditions. Affected patients and their families may be eligible to file a Florida Abilify lawsuit and pursue compensation for damages.
For more information, contact Attorney Group for Florida today. Our consultations are free, confidential and without any obligation on your part. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
What is Abilify?
Aripiprazole, or Abilify, belongs to a class of prescription medications known as atypical antipsychotics. The medication is used to treat patients who suffer from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In other cases, Abilify may be used with other antidepressant medication to treat major depressive disorder. People who suffer from Tourette’s syndrome and irritability caused by autistic disorder may use the drug to treat those conditions as well.
How Does Abilify Work?
Unlike other antipsychotics in its class that block chemical receptors in the brain, Abilify works by helping to restore the balance of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Known as a partial-agonist, Abilify can stimulate dopamine receptor levels when those levels are low and inhibit them when they are high.
Abilify and Compulsive Gambling
Pathological, or compulsive, gambling is the inability to resist the urge to gamble, which may lead to severe personal and social consequences. Like other addictions, compulsive gambling is a long-term disorder that tends to get worse without treatment.
In a European Medicines Agency (EMA) product summary, the agency notes that post-marketing reports of pathological gambling have been reported among patients prescribed aripiprazole (Abilify), regardless of whether those patients had a prior history of compulsive gambling.
Based on a Canadian Safety Review that indicated 18 international cases of pathological gambling, Health Canada issued safety information noting that labels for the prescription medication Abilify had been updated to include warnings about an increased risk of impulsive behaviors such as pathological gambling. According to the safety information, compulsive behaviors ceased or improved when treatment was stopped or when dosage was reduced, suggesting a link between compulsive gambling and Abilify.
Other Abilify Risks
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis who are treated with antipsychotic drugs such as Abilify are at an increased risk of stroke-related death. Older patients may have other medical conditions in addition to dementia or psychiatric illnesses that may require prescription medications. Because of such conditions, they are at an increased risk of experiencing severe side effects associated with the use of antipsychotics, including Abilify.
Adult and pediatric patients who suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD) may experience worsening of their depression, thoughts of depression, or unusual changes in behavior either with or without the use of antidepressant medications.
According to the FDA, however, there is concern that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment. The FDA indicates that all patients being treated with antidepressants, including Abilify, should be monitored for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, particularly during the first few months of drug therapy or dose changes.
Other Abilify Side Effects
Other serious side effects and risks associated with Abilify include:
- Symptoms of Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) such as increased body temperature, confusion, sweating, muscle rigidity, and autonomic imbalance
- Signs of tardive dyskinesia, including involuntary movements such as grimacing and eye blinking
- Problems related to metabolic changes such as hyperglycemia and diabetes, increased fat levels (cholesterol and triglycerides) in the blood, and body weight gain
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting often associated with orthostatic hypotension or decreased blood pressure
- Low white blood cell count
- Problems controlling body temperature
- Trouble swallowing
How A Florida Abilify Lawsuit Can Help
Drug manufacturers have a duty to ensure their products are accompanied by full and accurate instructions and warnings to guide prescribing doctors and other health care providers in making treatment decisions. If a drug maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries and damages that may result.
When patients suffer from severe side effects from a dangerous or defective drug, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and damages. The types of losses that can be recovered include:
- Economic Losses
- Medical and other treatment expenses
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- Loss of income or ability to work
If the conduct of a drug company in manufacturing and selling drug is found to be highly reckless, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the company and deter similar conduct in the future.
Patients who have suffered loss as a result of compulsive gambling or other compulsive behaviors are encouraged to speak with a Florida Abilify lawsuit attorney to learn more about their rights and remedies.
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