The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a recent warning about the drug Abilify. They warn that it may lead to compulsive behavior and uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, have sex, and shop. They reported the cravings stopped after people stopped taking the medication or lowered the dosage. While impulse control problems happen rarely with Abilify, not recognizing the symptoms can lead to harm in patients.
What Are the Uses of Abilify?
Normally, doctors prescribe Abilify for the treatment of depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. The FDA first approved Abilify back in 2002. In 2007, they approved of its use for depression. Researchers classify Abilify as a dopamine agonist. This classification means that the drug activates your dopamine receptors. The dopamine receptors have played a role in addictive behaviors in some cases. They tell your brain when you have reached a reward.
Keeping Addicts in Search of the Next High
Dopamine can cause some people to continue in search of the next high. As you see, Abilify has a similar effect, and because it classifies as a dopamine agonist, it shouldn’t be surprising. Dopamine does have its advantages, such as encouraging a person to continue even when losing.
For example, a musician still learning how to play the chords on a guitar will feel encouraged to keep trying from dopamine. In the case of gambling, however, you have to know when to stop.
The centers for dopamine don’t know the difference between getting lucky and improving a skill. Many addicts report that the activity they do no longer feels pleasurable. However, they feel a compulsive urge to continue.
Abilify and Its Warnings
On the box, you will see two separate warnings. First, the medication warns of life-threatening risks to patients who have dementia. The other warning talks about how the drug could cause thoughts of suicide. Abilify could cause issues with a slow metabolism too. People have reported weight gain problems and difficulties with their blood sugar.
Issues With Impulse Control
Researchers learned how gambling issues became the biggest problem with taking Abilify. After gambling problems came hypersexuality, impulsive shopping, and poriomania. Poriomania means that people had an uncontrollable urge to wander off. None of the Abilify boxes come with this warning as of right now. Because of the high risk to those who take Abilify, it should include this warning.
Much of the time, the people who experienced problems like this had no history with impulse control problems. The issues arose when they began taking Abilify. People who take the drug may feel this impulse to gamble non-stop. They could, for example, buy $300 worth of lottery tickets each week. Some people have reported gambling away tens of thousands of dollars in a short time.
Lawsuits Against Abilify
Thousands of people who took Abilify have filed lawsuits against the companies that make this drug. In February 2019, the companies manufacturing Abilify settled for those injured by this drug. Plaintiffs included people like Christina Milisic who says that she lost more than $400,000 to gambling.
As of April 2019, over 2,425 lawsuits related to Abilify were pending. People want to recover damages as a result of the compulsive behaviors that began from taking this medication. If you or someone you love was harmed because of this medication, you might want to seek the advice of drug injury lawyers.
Anyone who wants to stop taking the drug should do so gradually to reduce withdrawal symptoms, which include panic attacks, hallucinations, dizziness, diarrhea, sweating, and vomiting. Most people think of this drug as less impactful on weight gain than other antipsychotic medications.