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Abilify Injuries and Lawsuit

Have you or a loved one suffered an injury due to taking Abilify? If this is so, you really ought to think about calling a personal injury attorney. You or your loved one may get compensation that you deserve for your Abilify injury.

What is Abilify?

Abilify is the brand name under which the drug aripiprazole is sold. Less commonly it is sold as Aripiprex. Aripiprazole is a partial dopamine agonist.

A dopamine agonist is a compound that activates dopamine receptors in the absence of dopamine. Dopamine receptors are a class of G protein-coupled receptors that are prominent in your central nervous system (CNS). Dopamine receptors are implicated in many neurological processes, including motivation, pleasure, cognition, memory, learning and fine motor control, as well as modulation of neuroendocrine signaling. Abnormal dopamine receptor signaling and dopaminergic nerve function is implicated in several neuropsychiatric disorders.

Abilify is a second generation class of atypical antipsychotics. These are a group of antipsychotic tranquilizing drugs that are used in the treatment of psychiatric conditions.

Abilify has additional antidepressant properties. It is used primarily to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and irritability that is associated with autism.

FDA Approval and Abilify

Abilify was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on November 15, 2002 for the treatment of schizophrenia. It was approved for acute manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder on October 1, 2004 and as an adjunct for major depressive disorder on November 20, 2007. Abilify was approved to treat irritability in children with autism on November 20, 2009.

Aripiprazole was developed by Otsuka in Japan and in the United States. It is marketed in the United States jointly by Otsuka America and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Abilify works by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain. It is different pharmacologically from similar drugs and is less likely than some other antipsychotic drugs to result in involuntary body movements.

Controversies have worn away public confidence in Abilify. In 2007, a lawsuit was brought against Bristol-Myers Squibb by whistleblowers and the Department of Justice. The drug company settled the lawsuit for $515 million. Bristol-Myers Squibb was paying doctors kickbacks if the form of paid luxury vacations and consulting fees in order to encourage doctors to prescribe Abilify.

Abilify may cause some life-threatening side effects. Elderly patients with dementia who have taken Abilify, have on occasions suffered strokes (transient ischemic attacks). Abilify has not been approved by the FDA in the treatment of dementia in the elderly. In fact, Abilify carries a black box warning on its product label that warns the elderly of an increased risk of death.

Abilify also carries a black box suicide warning for people under the age of 24. In addition, the pregnancy section of the label now lets doctors and women who are about to become pregnant know that Abilify causes withdrawal symptoms in infants, which are abnormal muscle movements that are referred to as EPS (extrapyramidal signs). The FDA required this change to the label in February 2011. There is also a concern that Abilify causes metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and hyperglycemia (too much sugar).