“I was on this medication for five years and my gambling addiction was so bad I lost my business and my wife,” says Tony (not his real name). “Had I known that Abilify can cause gambling and sexual compulsions I would never have taken the drug. I can live with the weight gain but I’ll never get my wife back.” Tony has been off Abilify for almost a year. His gambling addiction is over but it left him bankrupt and divorced.
Three major studies concluded that Abilify patients were able to control their gambling impulses when they discontinued the drug or had their dosage substantially reduced. The British Journal of Psychiatry in 2011 published a study that examined three Abilify patients who were addicted to gambling. Six months after taking it they were switched to another anti-depressant, and all of them no longer had a compulsion to gamble. A report in JAMA Internal Medicine (2014) found a substantial association between Abilify and gambling problems after studying the medical records of 1,580 patients reporting impulsive behavior issues. Also in 2014, the medical journal Addictive Behaviors published a study that found the same results.
Eric played the slots occasionally when he drove his mother to the casino, and never lost more than $50. Until he took Abilify. “After I ploughed through my bank account, I obtained cash advances on my credit cards and soon maxed them out,” says Eric. “My wife and I were saving for a vacation but we aren’t going anywhere now. If there was a medical emergency, I have no idea what we would do. No wonder she wants a divorce.”
An Abilify gambling lawsuit may be able to help financially. More than two dozen lawsuits pending in US courts allege that Abilify’s manufacturers, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical, failed to adequately warn patients and doctors about its potential to cause compulsive behavior.
In June 2016, Richard and Courtney Campbell filed an Abilify lawsuit (Case 3:16-cv-01098) that states the following:
Richard Campbell developed compulsive gambling behavior after taking Abilify in 2013, which stopped when he discontinued the drug in 2015. But the couple claim that Abilify has caused them significant financial losses that may have been prevented if warnings had been provided. And the Abilify warning label differs significantly by country. In 2012, the European Medicines Agency required that the manufacturer warn patients and the medical community in Europe that Abilify use included the risk of pathological gambling.