“When my son was prescribed Abilify for his bi-polar disorder it was the wonder drug at first, but it got to the point where it wasn’t helping,” says Nancy, a medical professional. In fact it made things a whole lot worse. “We first noticed the problem when he was in grade eight. He only wanted to play video games and his irritability increased. He wasn’t doing homework or chores, only gaming.”
Chances are, gambling could have been his addiction, especially living in Las Vegas. But minors aren’t allowed into casinos. Nancy says her son was always anti-drug and anti-alcohol and he was a straight-A student before taking the antipsychotic. And “he ran with the straight-A crowd”, but his friends were replaced with online gamers.
“One night I saw on TV a commercial about Abilify and compulsive behavior. My son’s behavior and the time he was prescribed the drug was so obvious, and I was so angry,” says Nancy. “I was angry because I had read everything on the Abilify Safety Info and Prescribing Info labels and I wasn’t aware of these side effects.”
Abilfy also interfered with her son’s relationship with his sister and his peers. Nancy says her kids were very close but the more he played video games, the further apart they became. “When he ignored my daughter she connected with others. Now he wants to reconnect but she has moved on with her life,” says Nancy. Same goes for his friends—they too moved on.
And there is the financial issue. Nancy’s health insurance changed. One month Abilify was $40 and the next month she had to pay the full amount: a whopping $800 for one month’s supply. “Do I pay the mortgage or the kid’s meds? Of course my children come first but it was hard during the economic downturn, and we have two incomes. What do people do who aren’t so fortunate financially?” she quips.
Besides the drug company’s failure to warn Nancy about her own son, she is angry for supporting the drug to others and potentially harming a child. “I am a licensed clinical social worker and my case loads are predominantly children,” she explains. “When I had a parent ask me whether I thought Abilify was safe—after their doctor had prescribed it to their child—I said yes. I told them I thought it was a safe medication and that my own kid takes it. “
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Nancy has a lot more to be angry about. Her son (once the straight-A student) had to struggle through school and barely graduated. He missed out on the “Millenium Scholarship” that would have likely been his if not for Abilify.
“My other issue is that I know other families are struggling with the effects of this drug but they don’t know where to turn,” Nancy adds. “I called many law firms but they only deal with Abilify and gambling. So I welcome this opportunity to tell my story and maybe other parents will become aware: if there are enough of us, surely we can file an Abilify lawsuit on behalf of our children.”
Nancy plans on posting a blog or Facebook page to raise Abilify awareness. Stay tuned…