Abilify Side Effects Caused Compulsive Gambling Habit, Lawsuit Claims

A California woman indicates that side effects of Abilify caused her to develop a compulsive gambling habit, resulting in losses in excess of $90,000 and severe damage to her overall financial stability, according to a lawsuit filed recently against the makers of the widely used antipsychotic medication.

The complaint (PDF) was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by Marsha Gibson and her husband, R. Dale Gibson, raising similar allegations to those presented in a growing number of lawsuits brought by individuals who have engaged in pathological gambling, hypersexual activity, uncontrollable shopping and other impulsive behaviors while using the drug.

Abilify (ariprazole) is one of the top selling drugs in the United States, approved for treatment of schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and other major depressive disorders. However, the drug is also widely prescribed to treat irritability, aggression, mood swings and other psychological conditions.

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Last month, the FDA issued a drug safety communication warning about the link between Abilify and impulsivity, indicating that new warnings will be added to the drug to make sure that doctors and patients are aware that side effects may include “uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop and have sex.”

Marsha Gibson indicates that she began taking Abilify in November 2005, and began compulsively gambling shortly after, eventually incurring gambling losses in excess of $90,000. After discovering the link between Abilify and gambling, Gibson indicates that she stopped using the medication in May 2016, and the compulsive behavior ceased shortly thereafter.

The case raises claims similar to those presented in dozens of other Abilify gambling lawsuits filed by individuals throughout the U.S., alleging that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. knew or should have known about the risk, yet failed to adequately warn users or the medical community, which may have allowed Gibson and other users to avoid substantial losses and damage to their quality of life.

“By failing to adequately test and research compulsive behaviors and harms associated with Abilify use, and by failing to provide appropriate warnings about Abilify use and associations with compulsive behaviors such as gambling, patients and the medical community, including prescribing doctors, were inadequately informed about the true risk-benefit profile of Abilify and were not sufficiently aware that compulsive behaviors such as gambling might be associated with Abilify use,” according to the complaint filed by Gibson. “As such, the medical community was not learned on the true risk-benefit profile of Abilify. Nor was the medical community, patients, patients’ families, or regulators appropriately informed that compulsive behaviors such as gambling might be a side effect of Abilify use and should or could be reported as an adverse event.”

Gibson indicates that she had no way of knowing that her gambling habit was caused by Abilify until this year, alleging that the drug maker profited unjustly by withholding information. The complaint points out that the Abilify label in Europe had warnings of pathological gambling since 2012, but no such warning was placed on the label in the U.S. In fact, the word gambling did not even show up on the label until January 2016, and the public was not informed of the problem until the FDA issued a warning on May 3, the lawsuit states.

As more and more individuals throughout the United States learn that there may be a link between Abilify and gambling habits that have had a devastating impact on their financial stability, family and reputation, it is expected that hundreds, and potentially thousands, of additional lawsuits will be filed in courts throughout the United States in the coming months.


  • NicolJune 11, 2016 at 3:28 am

    I, too, suffered impulsive and erratic spending desires and habits, shortly after being prescribed Abilify for my bipolar disorder.. I had No idea. I just thought i was suffering from my manic or depressive phases to "escape" the stresses of life..

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