Connie, age 45, had no idea that gambling was a side-effect of this drug. “I had only been to a casino a few times in my life and never gambled online,” she says. “I have a bit of an addictive personality—I’ve been clean and sober now for five years—so I figured it was just me. Until I read about Abilify’s link to compulsive behavior, then it all made sense. But not until I’d gambled away all my savings, racked up my credit cards and split up with my partner.”
Less than a week after she stopped taking Abilify, Connie says her desire to gamble completely disappeared. “I was also non-stop eating and chewing on ice compulsively, which I had never done before, “she adds. “That all stopped when I quit Abilify, but now I have to lose about 15 lbs and visit my dentist. My teeth are worn down with some cracks in them; I think I was also grinding my teeth in my sleep.”
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Both women managed to get their lives back on track after talking to their doctors and withdrawing from Abilify. Connie and her partner are in counselling and Jody is only working part-time so she can spend more time with her kids. They are both hopeful that an attorney can help them get some kind of compensation.
In May 2016, the FDA required updated labeling to include the warning that Abilify had been connected to “compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop and have sex.” Connie says she would like to see the gambling part of that warning slapped on every online gambling site. And maybe casinos? After all, they can afford it.