How to file an "Abilify" lawsuit in Nevada

People who developed compulsive gambling, eating, shopping or sex habits from Abilify in Nevada may have a negligence cause of action against the drug's manufacturer. In Las Vegas, patients on Abilify are especially prone to channeling their uncontrollable urges in casinos and racking up enormous gambling debts against their better judgment.

Currently, hundreds of victims across the nation have joined multi-district litigation against the drug's manufacturer in an effort to get money damages. Depending on the case, the patient may be entitled to compensatory damages for:

Courts may even award plaintiffs punitive damages if they find that the manufacturer acted very recklessly. Victims have two (2) years to bring a negligence lawsuit after their injury began.

In this article, our Nevada personal injury attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about Abilify lawsuits in Nevada, including negligence claims, standards of proof, and statutes of limitations. Click on a topic to jump to that section:

People who take Abilify in Las Vegas, Nevada may develop compulsive behaviors, such as gambling.

1. What can I do if I got harmed by Abilify in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Patients who developed impulse control problems such as gambling addictions, shopping addictions, binge-eating, and hyper-sexuality from taking Abilify may be able to sue the drug manufacturer (the defendant) for negligence. Plaintiffs in negligence lawsuits have to show four things in order to win:

  1. The defendant(s) owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
  2. The defendant(s) breached this duty;
  3. This breach caused the plaintiff's injury; and
  4. This injury resulted in damages.1

A negligence lawsuit against the drug's manufacturer would allege that:

  • The manufacturer was negligent in warning doctors that patients could develop compulsive gambling, eating, shopping, and sex habits;
  • The manufacturer did not properly test the drug, misrepresented the drug's benefits, and urged doctors to use it for "off-label" purposes;
  • The manufacturer hid evidence of the patients' increased risk of compulsive behavior;
  • The manufacturer knew...or should have known...about the side effects; and/or
  • The manufacturer wrongly profited at the expense of patients' mental and physical health by failing to disclose the drug's potential side effects

Therefore, plaintiffs would argue that the drug's manufacturer's breaches in duty caused their injuries.2

1.1. Injuries

Abilify use has resulted in patients displaying obsessive and addictive behavior, such as pathological gambling, binge eating, shopping, and hyper-sexual activity. The patient succumbs to these uncontrollable desires even though it is harming them. This behavior usually stops once the patient gets off the drug and takes another medication.3

Back in July of 2011, The British Journal of Psychiatry discussed three cases suggesting a link between Abilify and pathological gambling.4 Like it sounds, compulsive gambling is the uncontrollable drive to gamble in spite of its negative effects. It stimulates the brain's reward system, which fuels the vicious cycle of addiction. Predictably, people who take the drug in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Nevada are especially vulnerable to developing a compulsive gambling addiction.

Other side effects, conditions, or complications of the drug may cause include:

  • difficulty swallowing
  • nausea or vomiting
  • dizziness
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • restlessness
  • weight gain
  • low blood pressure
  • low white blood cells
  • headache
  • constipation
  • tardive dyskinesia (uncontrolled body movements)
  • seizures
  • erratic body temperature
  • high cholesterol levels
  • high triglyceride levels
  • neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), which carries symptoms that affect the nervous system such as muscle stiffness, fever, perspiration, and variations to pulse, heart rate and blood pressure

Note that Abilify increases the risk of death and/or cerebrovascular problems (like stroke) for elderly people with dementia. Also note that the drug may increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes in kids.

2. What money can I get?

People adversely affected by Abilify may be able to recover compensatory damages for:

  1. All medical bills, including addiction therapy,
  2. Gambling losses (if applicable),
  3. Losses from excessive shopping (if applicable),
  4. Pain and suffering from having lost jobs, money, and relationships due to the drug's effects,
  5. Lost wages,
  6. Loss of future earnings, and/or
  7. Punitive damages (if applicable)

3. Whom can I sue?

Victims may be able to sue the Abilify manufacturer, which includes Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical.

4. How do I prove an Abilify claim in Las Vegas, Nevada?

The best evidence turns on the unique facts of the patient's injuries. If the patient became addicted to gambling, he/she could produce records of casino markers and drained bank accounts and surveillance video of him/her gambling. If the patient became a binge-eater, he/she could produce medical records and surveillance video of him/her binging. And if the patient became a shopaholic, evidence could include store receipts, etc.

The standard of proof in Nevada negligence cases is called "preponderance of the evidence." This means that the plaintiff bears the burden to demonstrate to the court that it is more likely than not that the defendant was negligent. Learn more about proving negligence in Nevada.

5. When can I sue?

There is a two (2) year window following an Abilify injury to file a negligence lawsuit in Nevada. However, victims who sustained injuries more than two years ago are still encouraged to consult with an attorney; depending on the situation, it might still be possible to seek compensation through litigation.5

6. Should I file my lawsuit in Nevada or join a federal class action?

In actuality, people harmed by drugs will probably be better served by a "multi-district litigation" (MDL) rather than class actions. An MDL temporarily combines all similar cases for the purpose of deciding pretrial matters for all of them. Then if the cases are not settled by then, the cases get transferred back to their original courts to proceed individually. Currently, there is an Abilify MLD out of Florida called In Re: Abilify (Aripiprazole) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2734.

People who have been harmed by the drug in Nevada should speak with a personal injury attorney about all their options for fighting for compensation.

7. What is Abilify used for?

Abilify is an "atypical" antipsychotic medication, and it is a brand name for aripiprazole. Doctors prescribe it to help treat psychotic disorders, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Tourette's syndrome, Parkinson's disease, and even autism. It may alleviate such symptoms as depressive thoughts, aggression, self-harm, mood swings, hallucinations, temper tantrums, and tics. Doctors can also prescribe Abilify as an "add-on" medication to help treat depression.6

Unlike usual anti-psychotics medications which bind to dopamine receptors in order to block them or shut them down, Abilify balances dopamine and serotonin by inhibiting or enhancing them. In other words, this drug alters and rewires how the brain's neurotransmitters behave. And unlike other drugs in its class, Abilify is not as likely to cause movement disorders.

Abilify was developed by Otsuka and first approved by the FDA in 2002 (for schizophrenia). It was not until 2016 that the drug's packaging included a safety warning about compulsive behaviors. Fortunately, patients tend to lose their addictive behaviors once their doctor takes them off the drug or reduces their dosage.

8. Has Abilify been recalled?

No, but in 2016 the FDA ordered that the Abilify label warn of the link between the drug and pathological gambling and addictive actions.7

9. Resources

To learn more, refer to:

10. Related "mass tort" drug litigation in Nevada

Unfortunately, many drugs on the market have caused devastating injuries to patients throughout Nevada. To learn more about how to file suit against the makers and marketers of these meds, refer to our informational articles:

Call a Nevada personal injury attorney...

Did taking Abilify wreak havoc on your life? Our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys may be able to win you a large financial settlement to make up for what you lost. Call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a FREE consultation. Since we work on a contingency fee basis, you pay us nothing unless we win.

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