Psychiatric disorders are always terrible for those who suffer from them. Unlike purely physical conditions, mental ones can be harder to pin down and treat appropriately. It’s almost always necessary to use some form of the pharmaceutical drug, but finding the right version is often as difficult as it is important.
For many people, Abilify represents the hope of overcoming psychiatric disorders with severe symptoms. In fact, two years ago, the drug became the most prescribed in the entire country. That year, it brought in approximately $7 billion. Unfortunately, it has also come under scrutiny for some very disturbing reasons that are worth knowing about if you or a loved one take the drug.
How Abilify Works
To change the way your brain works, Abilify is designed to alter the way some chemicals in your brain function. It is meant to level out certain neurotransmitters and thereby inhibit your brain’s ability to create extreme moods – especially those associated with psychotic disorders like bipolar I disorder and schizophrenia.
Unlike similar versions from the past, this antipsychotic only works as a partial agonist, which means that it’s also supposed to be much safer to take.
Side Effects of Taking Abilify
Like many pharmaceutical drugs, it’s possible to overdose on Abilify, though how much of the medicine that would require depends on information unique to the patient. Signs an overdose has occurred include:
- Chest pain
- Extreme confusion
- A fast or irregular heartbeat (including one that is slower)
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- A tight throat or neck
- Pronounced swelling in the eyes, face or extremities
- Severe hives, rashes or itching
- Irregular tongue conditions (e.g. swelling, odd movements, etc.)
- Stiff muscles
- High fever or sweating
- Vision problems
- Uncontrollable body movements or just a tough time controlling movements
- When taken in too high a dosage, Abilify can also result in death.
- Lawsuits Regarding Abilify
Although the above side effects are certainly scary, they are all things doctors go over with a patient before prescribing them Abilify and, when taken in the right dosage, they are relatively rare.
However, there have still been some lawsuits filed against Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company and their partners, Bristol-Myers Squibb. That’s because the unintended consequences of taking Abilify can be truly terrifying – even when you’re taking the exact amount prescribed.
Mainly, taking Abilify can lead to an inability to control behavior that eventually becomes compulsive. Usually, this behavior is gambling. Other common compulsive behaviors a patient may develop are compulsive shopping, hypersexual tendencies and binge eating. Keep in mind, too that these side effects occur in people who otherwise had no history whatsoever with them.
When it comes to pathological gambling, though, the problem often becomes so severe that professional help is needed to reverse the condition. It’s for this reason that many people have sued the two manufacturing partners behind Abilify to pay for the gambling debt they incurred and for damages necessary to get proper treatment.
It is believed that Abilify triggers the aforementioned compulsive behaviors by messing with the way the brain uses dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that have a huge role to play in how people act.
Researchers are amassing a body of evidence that suggests Abilify might over-stimulate the brain’s dopamine receptors during certain activities. By doing so, it virtually guarantees that those events will be reported.
Abilify Class Action Lawsuits
To this day, the drug still doesn’t come with a warning about the compulsive behavior it can cause here in the United States. However, regulatory bodies in Europe and Canada have taken action. As more and more studies are done that prove this connection, the company will continue to be vulnerable to legal actions. Class-action lawsuits are always being considered as well.
If you’ve taken Abilify and then began demonstrating some of the compulsive tendencies we covered above, speak to your doctor right away. Your partner, family members or other friends may have some real insight here too. It’s important that you not only stop taking the drug but rather talk to your doctor first. However, if they confirm that Abilify is responsible for this sudden change in behavior, seek out legal representation right away.