Abilify Puts Profits Above Safety
Abilify is a top-selling antipsychotic prescription
in the United States. In fact the company who manufactures the drug, Otsuka has earned revenue of $4.9 billion in 2014. The FDA approved the drug to treat different psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. Recently, Otsuka received exclusive rights to market the drug for children with Tourettes syndrome. In all cases, the expected outcome from taking the medication is to help these individuals lead more stable lives. Unfortunately, there have been a climbing number of participants who have experienced one of the severe side effects that cause stress for not only their physical well-being but also their mental state. Researchers have been able to link Abilify to not only type 2 diabetes in children but also compulsive behavior in adults.
In August 2013, researchers at Vanderbilt University, the Mayo Clinic and Columbia University published a study which found that children who consume different antipsychotic drugs like Abilify contain a threefold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While earlier studies have recognized the connection among antipsychotics and diabetes, this latest study is the first large, well-designed revision to look at the hazard in pediatric patients. The researchers distinguished that the use of these medications for non-psychosis-related disorders in children now accounts for the bulk of prescriptions. After extended use, the problems associated with the drug increase.
Off Label Usage of Abilify without Proper Safety Warning
For adults using the drug, Abilify has become associated with compulsive behavior such as gambling, hypersexuality and eating. Researchers have linked the compulsive behavior to the over-stimulated (D3) receptors or dopamine 3 receptors that at a normal level, keep the dopamine system working in response to a particular activity such as eating and other things we need to survive. These neurotransmitters regulate mood and behavior. In people with mental disorders, these systems are stimulated excessively, or not enough.
So why should I care? This is another instance of off-labeling by a drug company who markets their particular drug for multiple causes in expectation of a higher profit margin. Regardless of who is taking the drug for whatever disorder, Abilify's risks have impaired many participants' lives. Several cases involved with the drug have already pursued Ostuka for outstanding side effects. In past lawsuits regarding compulsive behavior after taking a drug, the patient has won due to the unmentioned risk. More specifically, Mirapex which is used for Parkinson's disease has been called into question due to a link between compulsive gambling and the drug. Just like Abilify, Mirapex affects the D3 receptor controlling the emotions and pleasure potential of patients.
- In the case of Gary Charbonneau v. Boehringer Ingelheim, Charbonneau who is a retired police officer filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer after losing $260,000 to compulsive gambling that lasted several years on the Mirapex. In 2010, a jury made Boehringer Ingelheim pay the officer $8.3 million dollars, including punitive damages.
Just like Abilify, Mirapex's manufacturer failed to warn about the risks when taking the drug. If that's not cause for legal action, Abilify's manufacturer has already paid $515 million in settlement fees to the federal government based on charges accusing the company of illegal marketing to older patients suffering from dementia. Patients who took the drug for this ailment where severely harmed and many even died. Moreover, the labeling to date on the drug does not warn individuals about the risk of type 2 diabetes in children or compulsive behavior in adults. Due to past history of negligence, a number of studies followed to link the risks with quantitative analysis.
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- A case study performed by Cohen, et al. found results similar to former studies which resulted in patients who took the drug Abilify had developed a gambling issue. No patients in this study had a history of pathological gambling. However, soon after taking the drug, they began gambling uncontrollably.
This is just another manufacturer whose drug has been deemed defective only after serious damages have occurred to the patients taking it. Defective medications and bad drugs are unfortunately a dime a dozen due to an overwhelming infiltration of pharmaceutical remedies. If you or a loved one has been affected by bad drugs, please call the bad drug lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA: (833) 606-DRUG  to evaluate your case.
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This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.