Anti-psychotic drug linked to compulsive gambling and other behaviors
The anti-psychotic drug Abilify has been linked to compulsive gambling, shopping, hypersexuality and other risky behaviors, though many in the United States were not aware of those serious side effects due to insufficient warnings given to patients and doctors.
RPWB represents Abilify users nationwide who developed uncontrollable gambling and shopping while taking the drug. Those who experienced these disorders while taking the drug should contact an attorney to discuss their legal rights and the possibility of compensation for gambling losses, healthcare and other expenses.
Even though Abilify’s warning labels in Europe warned patients about pathological gambling since 2012, the drug’s manufacturers omitted this information from labels and patient guides in the United States until 2016.
That means that doctors and patients were not fully aware of the drug’s dangerous side effects when they discussed treatment options, even though the manufacturers, Bristol-Myers and Otsuka Pharmaceutical, had known about them for years.
In the first 13 years Abilify has been on the market in the United States, FDA reporting identified 184 case reports in which there was an association between Abilify use and impulse-control problems. Pathological gambling was the most common (164 cases), but other compulsive behaviors including compulsive eating, spending or shopping, and sexual behaviors were also reported. In the majority of cases, patients with no prior history of the compulsive behaviors experienced uncontrollable urges only after starting treatment.
The manufacturers acknowledged serious reports of pathological gambling in a six-month safety report submitted to the European Medicines Agency in 2011, a full five years before American patients were warned.
From August 2013 to December 2014, the drug companies spent more than $10 million paying doctors to promote Abilify. The companies have spent millions of dollars in direct-to-consumer ads. Promotional materials used by pharmaceutical representatives made no mention of compulsive gambling. In fact, there was no mention of gambling on the drug’s website until January 2016.
In May 2016, the FDA issued a warning that Abilify usage is associated with “compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex.” The previous year, regulators in Canada found an increased risk of pathological (uncontrollable) gambling and hypersexuality with Abilify use.
Bristol-Myers touted Abilify as its “2013 largest-selling product” noting worldwide sales of $2.3 billion. During just a three-month period in 2014, U.S. revenues totaled $417 million. Since its introduction to the United States market, Abilify has generally been used to treat patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, as an adjunct for depression, and autism spectrum disorders.
In 2016, the many Abilify cases filed nationwide were consolidated into what is called a multidistrict litigation, which means that all of the federal cases are moved to a single court so that the process can be streamlined. The cases were consolidated in federal court in the Northern District of Florida in front of Judge M. Casey Rodgers.
On March 13, 2018, Judge Rodgers set trial dates for the first three Abilify lawsuits, which are called bellwether trials. The first case, involving plaintiff Fanny Lyons, will begin on June 18, 2018. The second Abilify lawsuit trial is scheduled for August 6, 2018, involves plaintiffs David Viechec and Cassie Viechec. The third trial on August 27, 2018, involves the Abilify case of Jennifer Lilly. These bellwether trials give attorneys on both sides the opportunity to see how the judge and jurors respond to issues that are common to many of the cases that have been filed to-date.
UPDATE: On 4/30/2018, the parties in the first three bellwether cases reported that they had reached a settlement in all three cases. The parties have indicated that they are working on a global settlement of pending Abilify cases, and are expected to have additional details about the terms of the settlement in the next few months.
Because statutes of limitation might limit the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit, we strongly urge Abilify users who have suffered from compulsive gambling and shopping should contact an attorney to learn about their legal rights.
RPWB represents people throughout the country who developed compulsive behaviors while taking Abilify. Patients and their doctors were not sufficiently warned of the risks, and those who suffered should be compensated.
Our firm is nationally recognized for representing individuals who have been harmed by prescription and non-prescription drugs as well as medical devices. We were named a 2017 Best Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report in the areas of products liability and personal injury litigation. We are a top-listed plaintiff product liability firm as rated by Best Lawyers in America.
RPWB attorneys have been appointed lead counsel in seven large multidistrict litigations and leadership positions in many more. Our team is sensitive to the wishes of our clients yet tenacious and experienced enough to secure maximum compensation.
Our firm has substantial national experience with products liability litigation against drug makers and medical device manufacturers. With respect to pharmaceutical litigation, RPWB attorneys have been appointed lead counsel of seven nationwide multidistrict litigations in recent years. We currently serve or have recently served on various National Plaintiffs’ Steering Committees for consolidated litigation involving: Baycol®, Chantix®, Lipitor®, Ortho Evra®, Phenylpropanolamine (PPA), Rezulin® and Zyprexa®.
Over the years, we have become known for litigating cases against the manufacturers of anti-psychotic drugs. RPWB was in national leadership positions for Chantix and Zyprexa litigation. RPWB was co-lead counsel of Chantix Litigation, which resulted in a $291 million settlement. The Zyprexa litigation settled for $2.1 billion.
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