New FDA Warnings for Abilify Side Effects

Abilify (aripiprazole) is an antipsychotic drug used in the treatment and management of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Tourette’s disorder, and irritability or aggression associated with autistic disorder. This medication helps to restore the balance of certain natural chemicals in the brain, or neurotransmitters, according to WebMD.

Possible side effects to Abilify may include behaviors such as compulsive gambling, shopping, eating, or sex. These obsessive behaviors can diminish or stop when the drug dosage is lessened or completely withdrawn, reports Law360.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is moving to add warnings to the medication guides and drug labels for aripiprazole to make consumers aware of the potential “uncontrollable urges” that may emerge resulting from the use of this drug. Currently the medication has 20 federal lawsuits and 12 suits in New Jersey state court, filed by people who claim they were overcome by “uncontrollable urges when taking the drug,” Law360 reports.

An individual who took Abilify for 10 years developed a pathological gambling problem and lost more than $50,000. He filed a lawsuit in January with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, reports Law360.

The FDA says that it has received 184 reports of compulsive behavior from people who used Abilify since 2002. Included were 164 reports of problem gambling, 9 reports of compulsive sexual behavior, and 4 reports of compulsive shopping. The FDA added that in some cases, people did not formerly have obsessive behavior before taking Abilify, according to Law360.

Individuals with a personal or family history of obsessive-compulsive disorders, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other addictive behaviors warrant close monitoring as they may be at higher risk for impulse-control issues, advises MedWatch.

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