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Abilify Tardive Dyskinesia Lawsuit Cleared To Move Forward by Federal Judge

  • Written by: Austin Kirk
  • 20 Comments

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A federal judge has cleared the way for a lawsuit to move forward involving claims that side effects of Abilify may cause involuntary muscle movements, known as tardive dyskinesia. 

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon issued an order (PDF) on August 21, denying a request by the drug makers Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc. to dismiss a failure to warn lawsuit filed by Cory P. Jenkins, who was diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia following Abilify use.

Tardive dyskinesia is a disorder that causes repetitive and involuntary movement, usually involving the lower face and limbs. Symptoms can include grimacing, chewing, smacking of lips, rapid eye movements and impaired finger movements. There is no known effective treatment of the disorder, and the abnormal movements can become permanent, persisting even after use of the drug has stopped.

According to allegations raised in the complaint (PDF) filed by Jenkins pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, he developed “chronic and continued restlessness and twitching of the upper and lower extremities, facial tics, jaw clenching and clucking, and constant eye blinking” in 2013, after taking the antidepressant.

Jenkins asserted two separate theories of liability, including defective design and failure to warn about the Abilify tardive dyskinesia risk.

In a motion to dismiss filed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka, the drug makers argue that the defective design claims fail to allege that there was a safer alternative design. In addition, the defendants maintained that the failure to warn claims should be dismissed because Jenkins failed to allege that his treating physician would not have prescribed the drug if different warnings had been provided.

While Judge Fallon did dismiss the design defect claim, he rejected the request to dismiss the failure to warn claim, allowing the tardive dyskinesia lawsuit over Abilify to move forward.

“Plaintiff is merely required to allege that Defendants did not adequately warn Plaintiff’s treating physician and that the inadequate warning constituted the proximate warning of Plaintiff’s injuries,” Judge Fallon ruled. “[T]he Court finds that Plaintiff’s failure-to-warn claim satisfies this standard and is sufficient to survive Defendant’s … motion.”

Abilify Side Effects

Abilify (aripiprazole) was approved by the FDA in 2002, and is one of the top selling drugs in the U.S., generating sales of $7.5 billion in 2013.

In addition to concerns about the risk of tardive dyskinesia, Abilify has also been linked to reports of impulse control problems, including gambling addictions, sex addictions and other similar behavior that has been linked to a class of drugs known as dopamine receptor agonists.

A recent study by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that this class of drugs was linked to impulse control problems, such as compulsive gambling, sex addiction and other issues that may have a severe impact on an individual’s life.

There are six FDA-approved dopamine agonists currently on the market in the United States. The Parkinson’s disease drugs Mirapex and Requip were most strongly linked to incidents of impulse control problems among the dopamine receptor agonists, leading to gambling addictions and hypersexuality, and even compulsive shopping. However, a safety signal was also seen for Abilify gambling and impulse control problems, with at least 37 reports found specifically involving this one medication.

Researchers have warned that drug manufacturers failed to provide adequate warnings about the risk of impulsive behavior on the drugs, indicating that information about the risk dates back to at least 2009, when a study found that approximately 18% of patients taking a dopamine agonist for treatment of Parkinsons disease could suffer from compulsive behavior side effects.

Although Abilify is a partial dopamine receptor agonists, researchers found that the same signals for gambling and other impulse control problems with Abilify were seen among users of the antipsychotic medication as well.

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20 comments

  1. Mary Reply

    I have been on abilify. It has contributed to me getting diebetes. Tardive dyskinesia. Compulsive spending insomnia. Emotional distress. I have stopped abilify my compulsive spending is less but my uncontrollable leg movement has continued

  2. Vicki Reply

    I have tardive dyskinesia from being on Abilify for over a year. I’m no longer taking Abilify but the symptoms continue. My doctor has tried to calm it down with two different meds of which neither worked.

  3. Donald Reply

    Developed tardive dyskinesia while taking abilify. No longer taking however this drug has made me medically disabled

  4. Mary Ann Reply

    My 11 y/o son has autism have been on Abilify for over a year, doing better with behavior. My concern was obesity and being high risk for cardiovascular disease, so our plan was to wean him off, to make it easy for this transition, he was placed on low dose lexapro until he’s completely off, He wouldn’t sleep at night, the doctor prescribed Tenex at bedtime to decrease energy and help sleep. Now he’s presenting tar dive dyskinesia. The pediatrician thinks it’s Ability, I stopped it in a heartbeat. The dyskinesia decreased by 30-40% occurrence. On my way to bring him to a neurologist today.

  5. Merry Reply

    My husband has tardivei dyskinesia terrible. His head bobs up and down,his feet do the same. He had to stop driving because his foot on the gas on off on the gas and worse the hesitation like stuck on stupid. He gets his meds from the VA had asked for 2yrs to be taken off.They got a new dr overthere and they had him try zyprexa then took him off of everything. Now he lays on the couch all day

  6. Joan Reply

    I stopped using Ability over 2 years ago and have had the most terrible jaw clenching 24 hours a day. It took me a while to realize that Ability is ? the cause. I have gone to my primary physician tried different drugs, muscle relaxers, antidepressants, as well as valium and now I take Ativan. I get Botox injections every 3 months. I still have strong muscle tension but do not clench as bad. Any type of activity makes it worse so my life has been changed forever. This has been a living hell!

  7. Bob Reply

    I was on ablilfy from 2008 to 2015. In the beginning first year or two my hand shook slowly and by 2015 had increased 2 to 3 times as fast. I stopped taking abilify July 1st, 2015. I have been to several doctors and no one would diagnose the Tardive Dyskinesia. Finally a few months ago after repeatedly going to my primary care doctor with the problem, sever pain and blisters he started looking into the problem which my wife had already researched and told him what was wrong. We are now going to Neurologists but he does not give me much hope, He did give preliminary diagnosis of Tardive Dyskinesia. It could clear but could take up to 7years or it could be permeant, I constantly
    Clench toes, clench teeth, mouth moves and tongue moves also. Speech is impaired, mouth blisters and burning. Activity does make it worse. I am on Effexor 150mg twice a day but have found that the Ativan does help. This is truly a living hell!!! If any one has anything that will help please get the word out. I have read that Vit E and some of the amino acids can help but nothing has been proven. I do get a little relief from the blisters using Lysine and Folic Acid. Ativan has given me some relief,

  8. Glenn Reply

    My name is glenn and I have been on abilify for 6 yrs. I never had the leg twitching or difficulty swallowing until I started the abilify. My symptoms are very difficult to handle. I have since stopped taking it but the symptoms are still on going. I’m really getting sick and tired of being sick and tired.

  9. Stacey Reply

    I took Abilify for several years. I stopped taking it October 2015 and that’s when the Tardive Dyskinesia started. I repeatedly tap the fingers on my right hand. I also tap my teeth together. The tapping has to feel a certain way or I have to keep doing it until it feels ‘right’. I usually hold my breath while tapping. My restless leg syndrome has gotten worse and I recently noticed that my feet/toes move a lot. Also, if I take my hand off of my mouse I have to wipe my desk at least twice and I have to wipe the mouse at least twice. I also move my mouth to a weird position and my breathing is constantly affected.
    There has to be a way to fix all this. I don’t know how much longer I can take it.

  10. Georgianna Reply

    I have charged up three credit cards and live on disability. Can’t even file bankruptcy. Can’t hardly afford to buy groceries over the month because of the high credit card balances. Making the lowest payment on all three still over two hundred dollars. Bought a newer car can’t hardly afford. Over two hundred dollars a month in payment alone. Gained over a hundred pounds. Got diabetes. Uncontrollable high cholesterol on abilify and high cardiac risk. High blood pressure. Huge hair loss. And after I got them to take me off the abilify years later after starting this drug went through horrible depression for about two months where I couldn’t get out of the bed but about three hours a day then I noticed my jaw was getting to where I could hardly unclench it then went through a stage where I was constantly flossing and brushing because all I did was run my tongue all around my teeth and open my mouth with weird movements. Then the feet constantly moving and the arms and torso moving and could not stop all this movement even trying to and before I was taken off I kept having these muscle spasms and pain in the middle of my back. My provider put me on klonopin 1 mg three times a day. Wasn’t telling me what was causing all the movement til I did some research and outright asked. They tried to make me go back on the abilify to try and titrate me off this time. I refused. So the put me on Latuda with the klonopin and my viibryd for my depression and are going to try and titrate me off the Latuda to try and get rid of the tardive dyskinesia. This drug has cause me physical and financial hell!

  11. Georgianna Reply

    Forgot to mention the osteoarthritis

  12. Mark Reply

    I started on Abilfy in 2006. I told my G.P. I thought I had Tardive Dyskinesia from the Abilfy in 2008 and he told me “probably”. I have had worse problems with it when taken off due to cost. I grind my teeth 24-7 all the time. I went on the Bristol Myers free Abilfy. It has since been closed so I’m back to falling aprox 2 times a week, Hand problems, and teeth grinding. I will be needing dentures in the near future. Who is paying for that? Even my Dr bills and Gas, and whos paying me back for that?

  13. Mike Reply

    I have grimmacing facial movements,Grinding of teeth,clinching of my toes,and constant feet movement.I’ve been talking Abilify for at least 5 years. Do I have a case?

  14. Mary Reply

    Ever since I’ve been on Abilify (for about 7 years now, give or take), I’ve had occasional tardive dyskinesia while taking it, but very severe tardive dyskinesia if I miss a few doses. My doctor has prescribed me Cogentin, which I have to carry with me everywhere, to help stop the attacks whenever I get one. The muscle spasms are different each time, but always horrifically painful and SO embarrassing. I have to run and hide until it subsides about an hour later. I almost always take my medicine every day – only once in awhile I’ll miss a few days due to monetary reasons. I tried every other bipolar drug for my condition before trying Abilify. It is the only thing that works for me, but I hate knowing that I will probably have these muscle spasms for the rest of my life. I’m terrified of them happening more often. They should have made this side effect more known.

  15. Michelle Reply

    I was on Abilify for 3 years to treat depression. I was never informed anything about TD as a possible side effect. After beginning to have strange side effects , I decided to gradually go off Abilify. Within 2 weeks , I began moving my tongue across my teeth, or grinding my teeth in addition to moving the toes on my right foot every waking moment! I have actually worn holes in the bottom of some of my shoes due to the constant toe movement. I had to have a dentist make me a guard to wear while awake to protect my teeth. My family can hardly stand to sit near me because of the noises I make with my toes and while clenching my teeth. One of the most frustrating facts is that I had to diagnose myself online. My doctor could hardly believe Abilify would cause TD. After 2 years of this nightmare , my Dr. will finally admit that it must be TD. I made my own appointment with an involuntary movement specialist. I tried cutting out caffeine and discontinuing my ADD medicine per his suggestion, but neither helped the movements. Recently this Dr. offered to put me on zenazine, but the side effects list was so long I refuse to risk taking it. I am stuck living this nightmare the rest of my life!!

  16. Tina Reply

    My 9yr son has autism. His psych put him on abilify 2 1/2 years ago for mood and sleeping which did not seem to help So dr weaned him off late august by 1st week of sept he developed tardive dyskinese. Due to being weaned off. Its horrible and nothing helps it. As a parent i feel terrible that i allowed him on this medicine and that no one told me what the side effects could cause.

  17. Rachel Reply

    While I feel bad for those of you who have TD, you need to take responsibility and educate yourself BEFORE agreeing to take ANY drugs! Potential side effects are not only listed on thousands of websites, they are also written on the information sheet the pharmacy gives you when you pick up your medication. Do you read those? Do you bother to ASK the doctor or pharmacist prior to taking medications what the side affects are, or do you just expect to be told all of this? Do your own research! Abilify is an anti-psychotic medication also used for various other diagnosis like bipolar and depression. The potential side effects have been listed VERY CLEARLY on all their literature for the past several years – INCLUDING TD. Do your due diligence!

  18. Cathy Reply

    I would like anyone to contact me that is experiencing tardive dyskensia from taking Abilify. I have permanent damage to my teeth and permanent thrusting of the tongue. I live with this pain every single day. No attorneys are willing to take my case around here. They only want to take the ones associated with the gambling issues. I cannot get my neurologist to put in writing that Abilify caused this even though she told me this the entire time I was seeing her.
    Same thing with the periodontist. Nobody wants to get involved I guess.

  19. Naomi Reply

    I also have TD from taking Abilify and trazodone. I was told there’s no known treatment for this disorder. I’m embarrassed to be around my friends and my family. This on top of my anxiety and depression is driving me crazy. I don’t know how much longer I can go like this. I’m thinking about going for a lawsuit against this.

  20. margaret Reply

    My husband has been on abilify for about 7 years. After he was on it for about a year he came down with all the symptom s of Parkinson. In fact he was told by neuro that he has Parkinson. has been taking all those drugs for all this time. His shaking and walking was getting worse so his neuro sent him to neuro who is specialist in Parkinson and does the deep brain stimulation sygery. The specialist sent him for something called a datscan to see if he would qualify for that surgery. Test results came back that he does not have Parkinson at all that the abilify is causing all the problems and we have been told he may be permantly damaged for life.He had to quit his job give up driving just to name a few things that has changed his life. Has been and continues to be a nightmare.

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