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Rolling the Dice with Abilify

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Hackensack, NJMost consumers conversant with adverse reaction reports associated with pharmaceutical drugs are nonetheless surprised upon learning of a particular aspect of Abilify side effects that allegedly can leave an Abilify patient in financial ruin.

The problem with Abilify (aripiprazole) and similar drugs that impact dopamine in the brain is the potential for compulsive behavior - and specifically, gambling. To this end, a New Jersey man recently filed an Abilify lawsuit alleging that his use of the antidepressant left him with a $75,000 gambling debt.

According to court documents, plaintiff Jonathan Yun notes that his compulsive gambling emerged not long after he was prescribed Abilify in December 2010. During his compulsive gambling, Yun burned through about $75,000 before he stopped taking aripiprazole.

Once he stopped taking Abilify, in August 2013, the Abilify side effects related to his compulsive gambling simply vanished, or so it is alleged.

Yun asserts in his Abilify lawsuit that there was no indication on the Abilify label in the United States that suggested adverse reactions with regard to compulsive behavior. “The labeling for Abilify in the United States contains no mention that pathological gambling has been reported in patients prescribed Abilify,” the lawsuit states.

And yet, Yun asserts that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received various reports suggesting aripiprazole side effects over an eight-year period ending in 2013. “An FDA report showed that Abilify accounted for at least fifty-four reports of compulsive or impulsive behavior problems, including thirty reports of compulsive gambling, twelve reports of impulsive behavior, nine reports of hypersexuality, and three reports of compulsive shopping.

“An analysis of the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System shows an escalating number of reports” suggesting compulsive gambling: “Twenty-nine reports of gambling behavior were made to the FDA in 2014” about Abilify, according to the complaint.

And yet, Yun alleges there remained no useful warning on US product labels. In contrast, the European Medicines Agency required proper warnings, beginning in 2012, against the risk for what it deemed pathological gambling. More recently, this past November (2015), “Canadian regulators concluded that there is ‘a link between the use of aripiprazole [Abilify] and a possible risk of pathological gambling or hypersexuality,’ and found an increased risk of pathological (uncontrollable) gambling and hypersexuality with the use of Abilify.”

In his Abilify litigation, Yun asserts that defendants Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. “had, or should have had knowledge that Abilify can cause compulsive behaviors like gambling,” and that “despite their significant collective resources, and signals that Abilify is associated with compulsive behaviors such as gambling, [they] have failed to fully and adequately test or research Abilify and its association with compulsive behaviors.”

Yun filed his Abilify lawsuit January 12 in Bergen County Court.

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