Each year many brave Americans seek help and treatment for their mental illnesses. This is a courageous step, and each hopes to restore the balance and stability in his or her life. They trust the meds prescribed to them since their lives depend on it. For many, this particular medication is Abilify. It is prescribed to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. The drug is effective at controlling symptoms of these mental disorders; however, it comes with a dangerous, unlabeled side effect that many never see coming – compulsive gambling.
Abilify & Compulsive Gambling
Several studies are linking Abilify to compulsive behaviors such as pathological gambling in people with no previous history of this issue prior to taking the drug. In a 2013 French study, 7 out of the 8 patients who took Abilify developed sudden and compulsive gambling behaviors. This overwhelming drive to gamble was also seen in another study this time in England. Many of these patients felt completely preoccupied with thoughts of gambling. It was so severe that some patients even considered committing crimes for gambling funds.
Researchers speculate that since Abilify modifies brain receptors by manipulating the chemicals that regulate mood and behavior, these receptors might be over-stimulating the reward signals in the brain. Thus, causing compulsive behavior.
The gambling becomes so intense that patients often seek professional help. The addiction can be so extreme that those taking Abilify continue the downward gambling spiral even if they cannot afford it. They max out credit cards, take out second mortgages on their homes and sometimes feel compelled to use unethical measures to get money to feed their addiction. Gambling becomes their sole reason to live.
Why are people still taking Abilify when this side effect is so severe? It is because Abilify manufacturers, Otsuka and Bristol-Meyers do not warn about the drug’s gambling side effect, and there is no mention of it on the label. If there was, it could have saved many people from becoming thousands of dollars in debt.
In all cases, the gambling addiction ceased after discontinuing Abilify or switching to another drug.
If you or a loved one never had a gambling problem before taking Abilify, and after taking the drug found yourself or a loved one thousands of dollars in debt, please contact the dedicated attorneys at The Michael Brady Lynch Firm at 877-513-9517.