Findings from a new study appear to confirm the link between Abilify and compulsive gambling. The research, which will appear in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology in February, suggests that patients who take Abilify are five times more likely to develop a gambling addiction than those who do not use the drug.
For this study researchers from the University of British Columbia analyzed data involving 355 individuals with a gambling disorder and 4,341 cases of impulse control disorder. They were matched with more than 43,000 corresponding controls. The analysis indicated that taking Abilify increased the likelihood of pathological gambling by 523%. The risk of impulse control disorder was nearly eight times higher.
“Epidemiological studies are needed to quantify this risk simultaneously controlling for potential confounding issues,” the study authors wrote. “Given that approximately 1.5 million people are prescribed [Abilify] in the United States annually, this serious adverse event should be more rigorously examined through a well-designed epidemiological study.”
Abilify (aripiprazole) was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002. In May, the FDA ordered the manufacturers of aripiprazole products to modify their product labels and patient medication guides with new warnings regarding compulsive gambling and other impulse control problems. While compulsive gambling had already been mentioned as a possible side effect, the FDA said that the previous labels did not completely reflect the nature of the impulse-control risk associated with the drugs.
In October, a judicial panel ordered all federally-filed Abilify gambling lawsuits to be centralized in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, for the purposes of coordinated pretrial proceedings. At least 48 cases were pending in the litigation as of December 15th. Plaintiffs claim that the manufacturers of Abilify were aware that its use could result in the onset of gambling addictions and other impulse control disorders, and accuse the defendants of failing to provide doctors and patients with adequate warnings regarding this risk.
The Abilify gambling litigation is now well underway. An Order dated December 16th indicates that the proceeding will convene a “Science Day” on February 23rd, at which time the parties will have the opportunity to apprise the Court of the scientific and medical issues relevant to the Abilify lawsuits. The Court will convene its third Case Management Conference on February 22nd.