Abilify Compulsive Behavior Problems

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The companies behind the antipsychotic drug Abilify (aripiprazole) are facing legal action over allegations they failed to warn U.S. doctors and patients about the risk of Abilify compulsive behavior such as hypersexuality, gambling and shopping.

These compulsive behaviors allegedly caused a host of other problems for the patients, including significant financial losses, emotional distress and other losses. In some instances, plaintiffs claim Abilify side effects caused them to suffer irreparable damage to their reputations and their relationships with their loved ones.

If you or a loved one took Abilify and exhibited compulsive behavior, you may have a legal claim.


Abilify is generally used to treat patients in the United States with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and autism spectrum disorders.

Abilify is a dopamine receptor agonist drug that works by acting on the brain’s dopamine receptors. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s pleasure centers, and it has been identified as a possible cause of pathological gambling. Dopamine is also a potential cause of other compulsive behaviors such as compulsive shopping and excessive sexual activity.

A report by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration showed that, between 2005 and 2013, Abilify accounted for more than 50 reports of Abilify compulsive behavior problems, including:

  • 30 reports of compulsive gambling
  • 12 reports of impulsive behavior
  • 9 reports of Abilify hypersexuality
  • 3 reports of Abilify compulsive shopping

The FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System shows that the number of reports of Abilify compulsive behavior is increasing. In 2014, there were 29 reports of Abilify gambling. The drug may trigger an urge to gamble constantly, even in people who did not previously express an interest in gambling. In some cases, Abilify gambling has reportedly caused people to gamble away tens of thousands of dollars.

Other antipsychotic medications are reportedly not associated with a significant increase in compulsive gambling.

The Abilify label in the United States did not include a warning about the increased Abilify gambling risk until 2016.


Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc. are facing multidistrict litigation filed by plaintiffs who claim Abilify caused them to engage in harmful compulsive gambling, causing them to suffer financial, mental and physical damages.

According to the Abilify gambling lawsuit, the drug’s labels in Europe and Canada include warnings about the risk of “pathological gambling” associated with the medication. However, the drug makers failed to include warnings about the risk of Abilify compulsive behavior in the United States until January 2016, when it reportedly added “pathological gambling” to the post marketing experience section of the drug’s U.S. label.

No mention of Abilify gambling or other compulsive behavior was made in the patient medication guide, which is the information most likely to be read by doctors and patients, the Abilify lawsuit alleges. Abilify was first introduced in the United States in 2002.

In May 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that warnings about Abilify compulsive behaviors such as gambling, binge eating, shopping and hypersexuality would be added to the U.S. label.

“Defendants wrongfully and unjustly profited at the expense of patient safety and full disclosure to the medical community by failing to include language about gambling in the United States labeling and by failing to otherwise warn the public and the medical community about Abilify’s association with gambling—despite opportunities and a duty to do so,” the Abilify lawsuit alleges.

The plaintiffs claim that the failure to warn about Abilify gambling in the United States allowed the defendants to earn significantly more revenue from U.S. Abilify sales compared to revenue earned in Europe.

Because of the defendants’ misrepresentations about Abilify, the plaintiffs allege they have suffered significant losses including:

  • Bodily injury
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life
  • Economic losses
  • Medical expenses


If you or a loved one took Abilify and engaged in compulsive gambling or other compulsive behavior, you may be eligible to take legal action against the drug makers and seek compensation for your injuries.