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Prescription medication Abilifty linked to compulsive behavior

With tens of thousands of patients taking aripiprazole every year, there is a good likelihood that a number of Washington, D.C. residents have taken the drug at some point. The prescription medication, marketed under the brand name Abilify, has been used to treat disorders like depression. However, a growing number of lawsuits indicates that the negative side effects may far outweigh any potential benefits.

The brain uses neurotransmitters like dopamine to reinforce pleasurable behaviors, creating the urge to perform the behavior again. Abilify is a partial dopamine-agonist, which means that it treats mood disorders by balancing dopamine in the brain. However, issues arise when patients taking the medication feel such intense pleasure in activities, such as compulsive gambling, shopping, sex or binge-eating, that they quickly grow addicted and are unable to resist the urges.

While reports of compulsive behavior linked to Abilify usage began emerging as early as 2005, the drug's manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb did not first acknowledge the evidence until 2011. Even then, specific warnings were added to drug labels in other countries in 2012, but similar U.S. labels did not appear until the FDA required them in 2016. Lawyers allege that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical both failed to study the drug for side effects and subsequently failed to warn U.S. patients of these side effects.

As a result, doctors and patients were unaware of the risk, and the manufacturers continued to aggressively market the drug for years, allegedly putting profits ahead of patient safety, as per the complaints. In fact, in the nearly 200 currently pending lawsuits, various individuals taking the drug apparently lost tens of thousands of dollars in compulsive shopping behavior or addictive gambling. If anyone in the Washington, D.C., area was similarly harmed or negatively affected by Abilify or any other prescription medication, an attorney would be able to offer legal counsel regarding pursuing justice and compensation.

Source: dailyhornet.com, "Master Complaint in Abilify MDL", Elizabeth Bradley, June 9, 2017

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