For millions of Americans who suffer from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Abilify may be prescribed to treat their condition. However, lawsuits claim that the drug makers knew or should have known about the potential risks of compulsive gambling allegedly associated with the drug. Affected patients and their families may be eligible to file a Michigan Abilify lawsuit and pursue compensation for damages.
For more information, contact Attorney Group for Michigan 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.
Why is Abilify Prescribed?
The National Institute of Health states that Abilify is used as a treatment option for adults and teens over age 13 suffering from symptoms associated with schizophrenia, which may include troublesome thoughts, unusually strong or unfitting emotional reactions, or lost interest in everyday life. Psychiatrists may also prescribe Abilify to treat bipolar disorder in adults and children over age 10, either alone or in combination with other medications. Those with bipolar disorder often deal with manic-depressive episodes, and the drug works to even out these mood swings that can be extreme. In addition, Abilify may also be used as a treatment option for depression when other antidepressants are not effective.
Unlike many other antipsychotic drugs, Abilify works to completely change the way neurotransmitters in the brain work by either blocking or stimulating dopamine receptors. Manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., the drug is designed to help with concentration, reducing nervous feelings and hallucinations so that everyday life is normalized as much as possible.
Abilify Side Effects
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, there are several common side effects Abilify patients may experience, including nausea, constipation, headache, anxiety and fatigue. Rarer side effects may include the increase of a hormone called prolactin, which can lead to the loss of the sex drive in male patients or menstruation in female patients, as well as a change in the metabolic system, which can cause weight gain, increased cholesterol levels and high blood sugar.
An additional, though rare, side effect that has been linked to Abilify use was reported in a case study published in a 2007 edition of The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychology. The case study reported on a 71-year-old woman who suffered from neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a life-threatening condition associated with antipsychotic drug use, while taking Abilify.
Abilify and Compulsive Behavior
A 2014 study performed by researchers from the Institute of Safe Medication Practices, the University of Ottawa and Harvard Medical School was published in the JAMA Internal Medicine medical journal and found that taking Abilify could lead to the inability to control impulsive behavior. There are currently no required label warnings on Abilify packaging that link compulsive behavior to use of the prescription. However, two international medical organizations, Health Canada and the European Medicines Agency, have requested that the manufacturers be required to warn patients.
In some cases, a patient’s inability to control compulsive behaviors, especially gambling, has led to severe financial distress, as well as irreversible social and familial damage.
Abilify and Compulsive Gambling
A number of case reports in medical literature, including one published in The British Journal of Psychiatry in 2011, have linked the use of Abilify with compulsive behaviors such as compulsive gambling. Although the patients in this particular study reported a positive reaction to the medication when used to treat their conditions, they also indicated adverse changes in their approach to gambling and experiences that seemed different from other gamblers.
Abilify Side Effects
Like many prescription medications, Abilify is known to have a number of side effects when used as prescribed. Common side effects of the medication include:
- Choking or difficulty swallowing
- Excess saliva or drooling
- Upset stomach
- Nausea and vomiting
Other Abilify Risks
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), other significant and sometimes deadly side effects have been connected to Abilify. Elderly patients who have dementia-related psychosis are at an increased risk of stroke and possibly death when treated with antipsychotic drugs such as Abilify. The drug is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis.
In some cases, Abilify has been linked to a neurological condition known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Symptoms of NMS include fever; stiffness, pain, tenderness, or weakness of the muscles; tiredness; confusion; sweating; fast or irregular heart rate; and changes in urine color.
Abilify has also been linked to a late-developing neuromuscular disorder known as tardive dyskinesia (TD). Symptoms of TD usually affect the mouth, tongue, facial muscles, and upper extremities.
Metabolic conditions, including diabetes, decreases in carbohydrate tolerance, impaired glucose tolerance, and glycosuria (excess sugar in the urine) were reported in some patients who used Abilify. Likewise, alterations in lipids (naturally occurring organic compounds that include fats, fat soluble vitamins, and triglycerides) have been observed in patients who used antipsychotic drugs, including Abilify to treat their mental disorders.
How A Michigan 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 Michigan Abilify lawsuit attorney to learn more about their rights and remedies.
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