The drug aripiprazole (also called Abilify and Aristada) is an antipsychotic drug used to treat conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Tourette’s syndrome and some forms of autism. The Food and Drug Administration says that this drug is linked to compulsive gambling, in addition to compulsive sex, binge eating, and compulsive shopping in some patients.

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The FDA warns that even though the label on aripiprazole lists compulsive gambling as a side effect, it “does not entirely reflect the nature of the impulse-control risk.” These uncontrollable urges put patients in a pathological state in which they feel compelled to act out on certain compulsive tendencies, even if those tendencies weren’t present in the patient before they began taking aripiprazole.

Clinical Uses for Abilify

Abilify is used to treat a variety of symptoms related to psychiatric disorders and other conditions. It has been shown to:

  • Decrease hallucinations
  • Improve mood
  • Treat disorganized thinking
  • Treat tics associated with Tourette’s syndrome
  • Reduce depression (when combined with antidepressants).

Abilify and Compulsive Gambling

The FDA found 184 case reports of people taking aripiprazole who experienced impulse control problems, of which gambling was the most prevalent. While those who have tendencies toward compulsive gambling might be at an increased risk, those who have had no such prior inclinations also reported experiencing uncontrollable urges. The drug affects the reward center of a user’s brain, prompting them to take part in stimulating activities without regard to the consequences of their actions.

When the dosage was reduced or stopped altogether, the compulsive behavior also stopped, further leading to speculation that the behavior was caused by the drug itself.

One study looked at eight individuals who took aripiprazole and had addictive disorders or tendencies toward compulsive gambling. The researchers found a link in seven out of the eight patients relating to compulsive gambling and aripiprazole. In one case report, an aripiprazole user’s gambling habits led to debts, suicidal ideation and social isolation. In another case report, a user reported that their obsessive gambling led to marital breakdown, financial problems and worsening of depression.

Aripiprazole is used in these drugs:

  • Abilify
  • Abilify Maintena
  • Aristada
  • Other generic drugs.

Other compulsive activities may also result from taking this drug, such as compulsive sexual behavior, overeating and excessive shopping. These side effects might occur in addition to or instead of compulsive gambling.

People suffering from very serious medical conditions have turned to these drugs for help, only to find that the side effects put them in situations where their lives are damaged, in some cases irreparably, because they took the medication. The urges that aripiprazole users experience are uncontrollable, leaving those affected with little to no choice in the actions that they may take after using the drug.

If you or a loved one has experienced compulsive gambling or other compulsive activities after taking the drug Abilify or any other form of aripiprazole, the attorneys at Pogust, Braslow & MIllrood can help. We will work with you to determine the extent of the damages you have suffered from taking this drug and hold the responsible parties accountable for the losses you have suffered. Contact us at 1-888-348-6787 or by filling out our online contact form to learn more.