Abilify Compulsive Gambling Lawsuit- What You Need to Know

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Abilify is an atypical antipsychotic drug that is intended to treat a variety of mental and mood disorders. The GENERIC NAME for Abilify medicine is Aripiprazole. The drug can also be used as an add-on to another antipsychotic drug that a patient is taking in order to boost the effectiveness of that other drug. However, Abilify has been associated with a number of compulsive behaviors in patients who are taking the drug. One of these behaviors is compulsive gambling which has caused severe problems in the lives of those who have experienced it. As a result, the manufacturer of the drug is now facing over 2,000 lawsuits for this alleged side effect after settling various other lawsuits that had been filed. If you have taken Abilify and have suffered harm from any type of compulsive behavior, it is vital that you contact an Abilify compulsive gambling lawyer immediately to discuss your  potential Abilify lawsuit. Many victims are searching frantically for information about “abilify gambling” as well as “abilify drug class.”

We are no longer accepting Abilify lawsuits as a result of the 2019 Confidential settlement

Abilify gambling

Update: “Breaking News for 2019: Global Settlement Announced : According to Reuters, “Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical have reached a global settlement with plaintiffs, who sued the companies alleging they failed to warn their anti-psychotic drug Abilify could cause uncontrollable compulsive behavior. The settlement agreement, which was reached on February 15th and disclosed on Tuesday in an order by the federal judge overseeing the Abilify multidistrict litigation, is confidential and no further details on its terms were immediately available.”

What criteria are Abilify lawsuit lawyers utilizing to decide whether a victim has a good Abilify lawsuit:

  • The victim had a prescription for Brand named Abilify medicine before May, 2016.
  • The Abilify victim used abilify for three months or more
  • Impulse control caused the victim to lose over 10k gambling compulsively
  • The victim has ceased Abilify medicine or intends on stopping Abilify usage.
  • The victim has records of a prescription.
  • The victim did not have a gambling problem or other compulsive activity issue prior to taking abilify.

Keep in mind that, victims who do not meet this criteria may still have an abilify lawsuit and should still reach out to an abilify compulsive gambling lawsuit law firm.

Abilify lawsuit

Abilify was approved by the FDA in 2002 as a treatment for schizophrenia. Over the next several years, the FDA approved Abilify for several other uses including bipolar disorder and autism spectrum disorder. Abilify is also prescribed for off-label purposes, although the manufacturers have had legal trouble over the years for marketing the drug for unapproved off-label uses.

How Does Abilify Work? 

The drug is unique in that it does not act to block serotonin or dopamine. Instead, Abilify functions to rebalance the two. It could enhance both of these two receptors. Alternatively, it could inhibit the two receptors if they are in excess. Most anti-psychotic medications act to either enhance or reduce the receptors, but not both. The drug is intended to act as a stabilizer above all else, rather than acting as a stimulant or a calming medication. Therefore, the drug is hard to describe exactly, and it has been used in a versatile fashion to treat many different disorders. In fact, because the drug is so hard to classify, psychiatrists tend to see it as the solution to many different psychosis. The manufacturer, while not always acting properly, has sought to continuously expand the uses of this drug.

The History of Abilify 

Abilify was originally manufactured by a partnership between Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb. By 2013, sales of the drug had reached $7 billion, as the FDA approved it for more uses. By 2014, Abilify was the highest-selling drug in the entire United States. Once the patent on the medication expired, several generic drugmakers were given permission to manufacture the drug. This included Alembic, Hetero Labs, Teva, and Torrent. Sales continued to increase as more manufactures marketed the drug. Now, there are different iterations of the drug Abilify being introduced into the marketplace.

Regulatory Issues

Abilify has not been without its regulatory troubles. The manufacturers of the drug have had to settle several lawsuits that alleged that they improperly marketed the drug for various unapproved off-label purposes. One lawsuit that was settled accused the company of improperly marketing Abilify to treat dementia. Otsuka even had to pay a $4 million penalty to the United States Government for marketing the drug to child psychiatrists and nursing homes for uses not approved by the FDA. Abilify is generally not suited for use by children under the age of 13.

Side Effects 

The drug has also had various side effects. One of the more disturbing side effects that has come into focus in recent years is an increase in compulsive behaviors among people taking the drug. Although the drug is not solely meant to increase receptor activity, it can have that effect depending on the patient. Specifically, Abilify can increase dopamine in those who are taking the drug. When the dopamine is increased, it stimulates certain areas in the brain, causing compulsive behavior. The area of the brain that feels reward after partaking in a certain activity or winning a large bet is what is affected by Abilify.

abilify gambling

By 2016, there were hundreds of reports made to the FDA regarding these compulsive behaviors. Beyond gambling, people also complained about compulsive sexual behaviors and binge eating while taking the medication. The FDA ordered the drugmakers to include a black box warning that cautions users about the compulsive behavior that may result from Abilify. The black box warning discussed uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat or engage in certain sexual behavior and it stated that those activities could stop when a patient ceased taking the medication. The FDA discussed the adverse event reports and directed physicians to make patients aware of these possible behaviors when prescribing the medication. Mnay people are wondering are these two terms related in some way: abilify gambling? It is well known that abilify and gambling do not go well together.

Lawsuits Relating to Compulsive Gambling

More than 2,500 lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of these drugs specifically relating to the compulsive behaviors that result from the medicine. Many of these lawsuits were brought by plaintiffs who claimed that they previously had no issue with gambling and then racked up large gambling debts while taking Abilify that ruined their lives.

The lawsuits have been consolidated into a multi-district litigation. This is not the same thing as a class action. It means that the cases are merged for purposes of discovery and then there are several bellweather cases that are tried before all of the rest of the cases.

What you need to know about abilify and gambling

The lawsuits have alleged that the manufacturers have known all along that Abilify medicine can cause compulsive behaviors such as gambling, but did not warn consumers of this possibility. In fact, the labels on the box in Europe and Canada warn of such side effects. However, the manufacturers made no effort to do the same in the United States. The lawsuits claim that the defendants either knew or should have known of the possibility that Abilify could cause compulsive gambling. The complaint states that scientific literature has long associated dopamine with compulsive gambling. Naturally, it should follow that a medication that would serve to stimulate dopamine could cause problem gambling.


According to the plaintiffs, the drug manufacturers acknowledged the possibility that Abilify could cause compulsive gambling in a 2011 filing with the European Medicines Agency. Yet, still no warning was included with the box in the United States. Further, there have been numerous studies in scientific journals that detailed the connection between the medication and gambling. At the same time, the FDA received dozens of reports of a possible causal relationship between the medication and gambling.

Is the abilify gambling  lawsuit a thing?

The drug manufacturers settled the three cases that were designated as bellwether cases. At that time, the parties were given a deadline of September 2018 to reach a a framework for a global settlement for the rest of the cases that were in the multi-district litigation. That deadline was missed, but was extended. It seems at current that there is at least some momentum for a global settlements of all of the lawsuits although no information about a settlement has been published to date.

What is aripiprazole drug class?

“Aripiprazole is used to treat certain mental/mood disorders (such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Tourette’s disorder, and irritability associated with autistic disorder). It may also be used in combination with other medication to treat depression. Aripiprazole is known as an antipsychotic drug (atypical type). It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters).

This medication can decrease hallucinations and improve your concentration. It helps you to think more clearly and positively about yourself, feel less nervous, and take a more active part in everyday life. Aripiprazole can treat severe mood swings and decrease how often mood swings occur.”


If a single dose of an antidepressant can change the architecture of the brain in ways we have no science to appreciate, what are the results of chronic, long-term use? What happens when patients want out? When they are not happy with treatment? When they make sufficient changes in their lives to support a new approach? As psychiatrist and activist Peter Breggin has stated, drug withdrawal programs are the most urgently needed intervention in the field of psychiatry. Patients stopping abilify is an entirely separate issue for the next article coming soon:”stopping abilify.”

Who is the manufacturer?

“Aripiprazole was discovered by scientists at Otsuka Pharmaceutical and was called OPC-14597. It was first published in 1995. Otsuka initially developed the drug, and partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) in 1999 to complete development, obtain approvals, and market aripiprazole.” FDA

Contact a  compulsive gambling lawyer immediately

2020 update: We are no longer accepting these cases as a result of a settlement in 2019.  If you have taken Abilify and experienced compulsive behavior, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. Each state has its own statute of limitations that place a time constraint on when you can file suit, so you need to check with a lawyer immediately to make sure that you are within the timeframe. When you contact an  abilify lawsuit attorney, you can receive a free consultation after telling the lawyer the facts of you case. Then, the abilify compulsive gambling lawyer can inform you about the process that you would need to follow in order to be eligible for compensation.