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Pfizer Settles Class Action Lawsuit Over Gambling, Sex Addiction Side Effects

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Pfizer has reportedly agreed to settle a class action lawsuit by Australian citizens over the side effects of drugs linked to impulsive behavior, such as uncontrollable gambling and sex addiction. A number of similar drugs are under scrutiny in the United States for similar side effects, including the popular atypical antipsychotic Abilify. 

According to a story by Financial Review, Pfizer and more than 170 patients who suffered from addictive behaviors are awaiting court approval for a settlement, which is believed to be in the millions.

The settlement has been delayed by the court because some complained about the assessment of plaintiffs’ claims. However, the presiding judge said there was no sign that the settlement was not fair and the complaints are expected to be resolved.

The drugs at issue, Casaber and Dostinex, belong to a class of medications known as dopamine receptor agonists, which are used to treat Parkinson’s disease, restless leg syndrome, and hyperprolactinemia.

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, an Otsuka Pharmaceuticals drug that is one of the top selling drugs in the U.S., 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, which has generated over $6.4 billion in annual sales.

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26 comments

  1. Tina Reply

    Mirapex turned my life upside-down. I have Parkinson. I developed a gambling habit from taking the drug. I was not a gambler. I thought I was going crazy.I began to lie,stay out late leave my sick husband alone and lost so much money I get sick when I think about it. I ended filing bankruptcy. What hurts is I lost the respect of my children and my husband died

  2. frank Reply

    My life was ruined by abilify when I was in a florida hospital for bi-polar and suicidal thoughts..i was in from august 2005 to march 2006 and by may 2006 started compulsive eating , gambling , weight gain , health issues , more suicidal thoughts and lost 200,000 …but I cant find a lawyer to take the case !

  3. Michele Reply

    Same here and I can’t find a lawyer either

  4. Dawn Reply

    Ive taken abilify since 2006 I have lost over 100,000 due to gambling and have suffered from compulsive over eating this is a nightmare my life is a wreck Ive even lost my home and im homless due to this drug

  5. earl Reply

    QUARTER MILLION GONE,

  6. Amaro Reply

    Head ache gambling all the time casino Foxwoods on my check day pay rent rest Go to gambling no food sometimes eating a lot
    Gambling mostly my life after starting taking abilify I’m not alone

  7. Jessica Reply

    shortly after starting abilify in 2010 i began buying scratch tickets, around 10 dollars a day or so, soon after that i began visiting an area gambling town about a 90 minute drive away. the town legalized gambling in the early 90’s and other than a few recreational trips i never visited. after i began the abilify i developed a life altering, crippling gambling problem. i would spend first my paychecks, then my unemployment checks in cripple creek. one year in only one of the casinos i decided to check my statement, i had spent over 10 grand! in ONE casino! and that was when i remembered to use my players card, usually id just run around from casino to casino and machine to machine like a chicken with my head cut off. i’d catch the bus “up the pass” or fill the car up before i went after being stranded and out of gas because my accounts were maxed out. i couldnt even afford to get home, crazy huh? i actually believed that i needed to “win my money back” to pay the bills after i had lost my paycheck to the casinos! when i heard abilify was linked to compulsive gambling i became so outraged! really? the meds i was taking to HELP with anxiety and depression came with a mighty high price tag, it might have helped had on the grand list of side effects listed it said SOMETHING!. WOW mood stabilizer really? anti depressant booster? what a nerve. i only go to cripple creek a few times a year now, but still cant walk by a scratch ticket machine at the grocery store without putting in my change, and does it add up! theyve also opened an internet cafe here in the springs ive spent several hundred in the last couple of months playing the penny slots by computer at these establishments, just got my abilify prescription renewed last week, i threw it out 3 days ago after i finally got a clue (by the way) it was a very expensive 90 day supply of non generic medicine, yeah its not even available generically they are raking it in, oh and as an added bonus ive gone from a size 7 to a 14.. sincerely, fat and broke in colorado springs!!!

  8. maria Reply

    my daughter 11,9 boy 5 are addict to cellphone

  9. Amanda Reply

    I have developed compulsive eating, abnormal sexual behaviors. And a compulsive gambling problem since taking abilify

  10. tony Reply

    well it started in 2013i gambled a lil bit now and then but i was prescribed abilify for depression and i developed an uncontrolable gambling problem to the tune of 200,000 black jack at the casinos i couldnt stop and scratch off tickets i have 40000.00 worth of thoes in my apt of loosing tickets the same thing once i start i cant quit untill i m brokei hired a lawfirm johnson / vines they are handling my case against the drug manufactors

  11. Sean Reply

    I was prescribed ability about 6 years ago while stationed in the military and shortly after was impulsed to visit casinos and had a child with my sergeants little sister and barely new here. These are only a few instances.

  12. Priscilla Reply

    It is terrible that these meds are still being prescribed! We have been struggling with these side effects from my mom’s Parkinson’s medication.

  13. Mark Reply

    I have taken Abilify for at least 11 years and it’s affected my life dramaticly. I put on over a 100 pounds and have kept it on for over 11 years. Because the Abilify stresses me out and gives me anxiety from over eating iv’e gotten diabetes type 2 and have to prick my finger twice a day and watch my blood sugars. I’ve also lost over 50 thousand dollars easy playing video poker and a few thousand playing Texas Holdem. This causes me mental anguish and anxiety because I can’t seem to quit. I hope other people are having better luck then I am. Thanks for listening! Mark J.

  14. Lisa Reply

    Tony,

    I read your comments above. I would love to know how your case is going. My ex-husband went out of control and also tried to take his own life due to Gambling and Abilify.

    Lisa

  15. Jennifer Reply

    I was diagnosed with Tardive Dsykinesia (constantly moving my tongue, licking and smacking my tongue, excessive salivation. Also a sexual issue. I cant find any legal help, this is not fair for a person to have to live with this. From the second I wake up to the second I go to bed my tongue is constanly moving. ALL BECAUSE OF ABILIFY!!!!!

  16. Mike Reply

    I have just read all the comments, I was additicted to sex or orgasm. I could NOT even complete tasks unless I achieved orgasm. I began my abilify treatment in late 2009 or early 2010. I began to have an emotional affair because I felt further depressed, felt alone and not able to function from mind to hand. It made me MORE manic, more agitated, and I couldn’t even maintain my sales numbers and by the time I was supposed to get married, I had lost my job, so called off the wedding. Also noted that I was 210 pounds @6’1″ tall, when I last took Abilify march 1, 2016 I was 280 pounds. 10/03/2016 I am now at 215! Now after I quit taking the Abilify, I was found to be cheating. 2 sexual one none sexual. All 3 affairs began with Am I really a bad person? Why cant my fiancée see I really am trying, I just cant seem to get out of this rut? My entire family and friends said I needed to keep taking the abilify so I did, my fiancée was the only one saying to STOP THE MEDS! I WISH TO GOD I WOULD HAVE LISTENED TO HER! Now we are both broke, no relationship she has no hope, I am back to myself THANK GOD! Cognitive therapy, meditation, and I WILL SAVE HER, even if she doesn’t love me anymore or cannot, I WILL NOT LET HER LOSE HER HOUSE!
    These people are pushing poisons as a crack dealer!

  17. Elizabeth Reply

    I started taking Ability in October 2014. I developed a severe gambling problem in December 2014. I had NEVER stepped foot in a casino in my life, unless I was in Vegas going to my room. All the sudden out of the clear blue sky this (me) very happy healthy mother of three, elementary school teacher, Master’s degree having, married to an amazing police officer. LOST HER MIND! I started taking it after I had a child at 40 and had the baby blues. Long story short, my LIFE is completely destroyed! I lost my husband, my home, and I am barely hanging on to custody of my two younger children, and my job. I just found out about this lawsuit four days ago! I AM OUTRAGED beyond belief. It all makes sense now. I contacted a lawyer and I was taken care of immediately. To find out that this was supposed to improve my life and it destroyed it. Unfathomable! I feel for anyone that has gone through this. Reading what people wrote was heartbreaking. I went the other way. I LOST 50 lbs. But my beautiful long blonde hair fell out from stress over how I was going to pay the bills after I gambled my whole paycheck. I am happy to say that I stooped taking that crap in March 2016. I moved in with my mom to pay off all the bills and loans I took out so I could gamble. My hair has come back, mostly and I am on the road to recovery, with the help of my family. But these jerks that failed to issue a warning are going to pay for what they did to me and my children.

  18. Carol Reply

    Mirapex has ruined my life. Just wondering if anyone has been able to find a lawyer to handle a lawsuit? This is so not right.

  19. cassandra Reply

    The gambling side effect is all the media is talking about? I had to look this “medicine” up after my brother started it. The list of side effects that destroy your body and mind are far scarier, and there is literally EVERY possible problem you can imagine, often both sides of an extreme, like either dry mouth or drooling. How the FDA gave their stamp of approval is beyond me. Here’s a long long lonnng list that everyone should read before taking: https://www.drugs.com/sfx/abilify-side-effects.html

  20. John Reply

    The comments here are well written and seem made by people apparently in control of their faculties. My question is why, if that is the case, doesn’t the same faculty intervene to veto the urge to gamble? Unlike sex or eating, gambling is a more abstract thing, not part of our direct physiological makeup. Thus, it seems like one could exercise self control over gambling. And isn’t there some obligation for personal responsibility? Can’t one realize that when getting in the car to visit a casino? And there are many things that could be blamed for various aberrant behaviors. Alcohol is associated with many such behaviors. Yet one is not relieved of responsibility for personal conduct.

  21. Keen Reply

    Abilify really ruined my life.

  22. Margarita Reply

    Abilify ruined my life. It caused a chain reaction of events I can’t take back. I’ve spent the last few years after the experience mostly suicidal all day. I went to four different attorneys about the side effects but three of the lawyers are only taking gambling cases and the other is a strict things to be able to represent. Not being able to go in places and now afraid to leave my home. I don’t go out not much anymore when I do it doesn’t go well. I had another experience this year while being out with my husband. That also has not helped this nightmare. And my husband is a random person I met on Abilify on my downward spiral of just meeting random people and doing whatever. Being someone who suffered major trauma before in my life due to assault and abuse taking Abilify and then subjecting myself to the most horrible experiences and then to find out it was a side effect sickens me. Seeing people while I’m out sickens me. Not knowing it was a side effect and trying to come to terms with the things i did. I sob a lot. Sometimes for just so much I just can’t do anything. I wish theFDA would actually look into the 3rd side effect more as I can attest they don’t understand how dangerous it is for people who suffer from mental illness to suffer these side effects brought upon due to the u disclosed side effects

  23. Chrissy Reply

    I started taking abilify in 2008 I began buying small amounts of scratch tickets then I became more involved with he Gamblin world legal and illegal joint illegal poker games in basements of random people I could of died if I was to walk I o the wrong place at the wrong time .. that’s how bad my addiction became I didn’t care if my life was in jeopardy I had to gable .. I started going to casinos buying 100$ a day worth of scratch tickets. . Now I’m dead broke my bf has stood by me surprisingly, he pays all the bills and everything I am starting a cleaning business but it’s hard when all my money goes into gambling . As a matter of fact I just scratched 4 tickets and lost very one not even a soar back .. please help

  24. Shirley Reply

    Husband diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease 16 years ago. Prescribed requip for 12 years. Diagnosed with impulse control disorder. Has accumulated 100,000 in credit card as well as taking money from our life savings. He has made loans for a car and bought and traded motorcycles. Most of the credit card debt resulted because he gave the money to strippers.

  25. Nancy Reply

    I have taken requip for years and it has turned into a nightmare.
    I was never a gambler … wouldnt even dream of buying a lottery ticket.
    Now as soon as my paycheck hits the bank im off gambling until its all gone , i cant stop.
    I am compulsive over everything now.
    My husband and i are on the verge of divorce.

  26. Carissa Reply

    I had surgery to remove a pituitary adenoma in 2001. I was put on Dostinex in 2000 and Cabergoline around 2003 and have been on high doses of Cabergoline for at least 6 years because my tumor cane back immediately after surgery and it continues to be very resistant to meds.
    Until researching side effects of impulse control, I was never informed of the risks. Since the time I first started using these meds my behavior changed.
    I was stealing money from an employer to fund a bad gambling and shopping habit. I spent $20,000 in less than 6 months, got arrested and fired from my job. In the years since that happened I continued to have an awful shopping/gambling habit. Money was the cause for my divorce but my sexual appetite also made me cheat on and leave my husband. I maxed out credit cards and went bankrupt. Even to this day I’m having financial issues. It’s been horrific.

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