The top-selling drug in the U.S. in 2013 was Abilify, manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb. In 2013, the drug brought in more than $6.4 billion for people with mental disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.  According to Medscape.com, more than 8.8 million prescriptions were written for Abilify in 2014.

Abilify (generic aripiprazole) was originally approved in November 2002 to treat schizophrenia in adults. The FDA approved it in September 2004 to treat manic and mixed episodes, and then approved it in March 2005 for maintenance therapy in bipolar disorder. In October 2007, the FDA approved Abilify to treat schizophrenia in teenagers ( ages 13 to 17). In November 2007, the FDA approved Abilify for adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder.  Abilify is not an anti depressant – it is prescribed as an add-on treatment for adults with depression when an antidepressant alone is not enough.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 11 percent of people living in the U.S. age 12 and older are prescribed antidepressants. While these drugs can and do improve the way people function and feel, many are not aware of the disturbing side effects that have been linked to the drug. These include uncontrollable gambling, compulsive shopping, over eating, sex addiction, and a combination of impulse control problems. Gambling and impulse spending can have devastating impact on victims and their families, leading to lost savings, massive debt, home foreclosure, unemployment, divorce,  reputation damage, and even criminal activity.  

Abilify works differently than other antidepressants, and doctors believe it acts on receptors in the brain that regulate mood and behavior.  When dopamine is stimulated in response to a particular activity, people will feel a high from it.  Research has indicated that Abilify may over-stimulate dopamine reward receptors and trigger compulsive behavior, which over time can develop into an addiction. The first studies linking Abilify and compulsive gambling were published in 2009. Abilify is also linked to weight gain and diabetes in children.

If you or a loved one has been impacted from impulsive behaviors while taking the drug Abilify, you may be entitled to compensation. Estey Bomberger attorneys are reviewing potential cases and helping victims evaluate and understand their options. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation of your legal rights.