Abilify, also known as aripiprazole, is an antipsychotic medication that has been linked to serious impulse control disorders, including compulsive gambling. Additionally, Abilify has been associated with sometimes life-threatening side effects and risks, including those affecting the nervous system. Affected patients and their families may be eligible to pursue compensation for damages with the help of a Nevada Abilify lawsuit attorney.
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What is Abilify?
Abilify is a prescription antipsychotic medication used to treat symptoms of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In some cases, Abilify may be used as an add-on medication to treat major depressive disorder in adults. Abilify may also be used to treat symptoms of autistic disorder, including aggression, mood swings, temper tantrums, and self-injury.
How Does Abilify Work?
Abilify works differently from other antipsychotics. Although the exact action of the drug is unknown, Abilify works by changing the actions of neurotransmitters in the brain. Most antipsychotics bind to dopamine receptors and block them. Instead, Abilify either enhances or inhibits dopamine or serotonin levels to keep them balanced.
Abilify and Compulsive Gambling
Compulsive gambling is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling regardless of the effect it can have on problem gamblers and their loved ones. Similar to alcohol and other addictive drugs, gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system, leading to compulsive behavior and addiction.
In July 2011, The British Journal of Psychiatry noted three cases that suggested adverse changes with regards to pathological gambling in patients who took aripiprazole (Abilify). Although the three patients reported a positive response to the drug when used to treat their symptoms, they also indicated adverse changes in their approach to gambling and experiences that seemed different from other gamblers.
Abilify Compulsive Gambling Lawsuits
California and Minnesota lawsuits allege that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical, makers of Abilify, have wrongfully and unjustly profited at the expense of patient safety and full disclosure of the medical community by failing to include warnings or precautions about Abilify’s connection to compulsive gambling. The lawsuits claim that the drug makers knew or should have known about the increased risk of serious side effects, including compulsive gambling, when the drug was taken as prescribed and intended.
Abilify Side Effects
Although Abilify is less likely to induce movement disorders compared to other drugs in its class, there are a number of side effects associated with the drug. The most common side effects of Abilify include:
Other Abilify Risks
In addition to side effects linked to the use of Abilify to treat certain mental illnesses, the drug may be linked to some serious, sometimes life-threatening health risks.
Elderly patients who suffer from dementia-related psychosis are at a greater risk of death when Abilify is used to treat their symptoms. Likewise, elderly patients who experience confusion and memory loss due to psychosis and dementia are at an increased risk of developing cerebrovascular problems such as stroke when those patients use Abilify.
Symptoms associated with neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) such as high fever; muscle stiffness; confusion; sweating; and changes in pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure may develop in patients who use Abilify.
Abilify may increase the chances of patients developing uncontrolled movements in the face, tongue, or other body parts. This condition, known as tardive dyskinesia, may or may not go away once treatment with Abilify has stopped.
Other serious risks such as diabetes, increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, weight gain, decreased blood pressure, low white blood cell count, seizures, body temperature control, and difficulty swallowing may also develop in patients who use Abilify to treat certain mental disorders.
How A Nevada 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 Nevada Abilify lawsuit attorney to learn more about their rights and remedies.
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