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Patients taking the antipsychotic drug Abilify, one of the country’s top-selling prescription medications, have reported uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex, the US Food and Drug Administration said in a warning Tuesday.

The drug, also known as aripiprazole, is used to treat schizophrenia, and can be used in combination with other drugs to treat depression.


The problem appears quite rarely. In the 13 years since the drug was approved, there have been only 167 reports of patients experiencing significant impulse-control problems, the FDA said. In the United States, 1.6 million patients received Abilify prescriptions last year.

“We decided that a warning would be warranted,” said Sandy Walsh, a spokesperson for the FDA.

The warning comes amid pending class-action lawsuits against the drug’s manufacturer, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, which allege that the company didn’t properly warn patients about the possible impulse-control issues. Otsuka partners with Bristol-Myers Squibb to manufacture the drug.


Compulsive gambling was previously listed as a side effect on the drug labels, and was the most common side effect seen in the reports filed to the FDA. But excessive shopping, compulsive eating, and an uncontrollable urge to have sex were also reported in a handful of cases. Other serious side effects of the drug: a higher chance of developing diabetes and hyperglycemia, as well as an increased risk of suicide among patients under the age of 24.

The FDA said patients should keep a close eye on excessive urges they might experience while taking Abilify. Walsh added that the agency will add new warnings about compulsive behaviors to both the drug labels and the medication guides given to patients.

  • I have been talking abilify on and off for a while now. I noticed a change in urges for shopping and wanting to have sex and masturbating. All i think about is sex. And all i want is sex. I paid my friend like 100,000 dollars for sex for the past couple of years ive been on it. This drug is very bad. It also made me shop compulsive and i got credit cards and maxed them out and cant pay them back. And my credit is ruined. Also it causes heart problems and ill be dead in ten years from the heart problems. I want to sue for 100 million dollars. But i dont know any lawyers that would take my case.

  • My son is 13 and been kick out of school for getting nude at school but he been taking the medication for years and now he has a problem with Masturbation I don’t know what to do

  • I took abilify for 10 years. I started gambling, my behavior was outrageous. I lost my home, my husband of 40 years and my two sons and a grandson due to taking abilify. My doctor of 20 years lost most of my medical records and won’t say he gave me sample of abilify, without seeing his records, even though he knows he did. I went crazy on the medicine, I did things I’ve never do in my life, my husband kept bailing me out of all the trouble I got into from taking abilify , he couldn’t take no more. I didn’t know what was making me do the things I was doing. What hurts the most is I haven’t never been alone and I’m all alone, my family wants nothing to do with me. I hurt them ! I’m lost without my family , if I could do it over I never take abilify , it has destroyed me, and my life. I had lawyers , they were great, but we couldn’t get enough evidence from my mental health doctor , due to office records being stolened from him! I really hate myself, I’ve lost all purpose in life. I’m still biopolar , my medicine does not work. I quit taking abilify in May of 2016 and I don’t have the behavior I had when taking abilify. I’m very withdrawn from the world. My purpose in life is gone! I don’t want to take no medicine, but I know I need to, it doesn’t work. Nothing is ever going to bring my family back! They have left me forever! Remember, nothing is forever! NOTHING

    • The Russian writer, Alexander Soljinitzen (sp?), wrote about two men confined in a prison cell. One man was to be executed in the morning. He told the other man the story of his life concluding with the anguished question of what was the meaning of it all, what purpose, since he was to be executed in the morning? The man replied that the prisoner’s purpose was to tell his story to another human being. Your purpose in life has been cruelly altered from its former trajectory Tammi, but you are not without purpose. Continue to tell your story. You are turning a light on for many who don’t yet see this for what it is. “The Lord is close to broken hearts and brings salvation to humble souls.”

    • The dosage was 5m
      My doctor gave me dozens of sample, because the cost for one month , 30 pills was $629.00 . We sure couldn’t afford to pay that for one prescription , but we did when I had to. We were raising two sons and just barely afforded the times I did have to pay for it. I’m thinking about suing my mental health doctor for losing my medical files . I have nothing to lose, now that I’ve lost my entire life due to taking abilify .

  • Having being diagnosed with schizophrenia and prescribed abilify which has been successful at treating my paranoia and auditory hallucinations I can do nothing but concur with these warnings – I stay away from casinos but have found my impulsivity in every aspect of my life from speech to sexual and shopping behaviors has increased to my dissatisfaction. I feel happier and more joyful than previously but despite seeking out sex am entirely unable to reach climax or even move my hips in any type of regular motion. What do I do ? Not giving up but definitely complaining. I am thankfully in therapy as is recommended for my condition but I may have to see a specialist of some sort.

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