The personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers at Michaels & Smolak have come across some strange injuries in their line of work. But we recently met perhaps the strangest ever. What I am about to tell you might seem like a total fabrication. But I am not making it up. This is not April 1. This law firm is involved in a case just like the ones described below.
The case involves the anti-depressant drug Abilify, which, like the Parkinson’s drug Mirapex, can have a very bizarre side effect: Compulsive gambling. That’s right. Big time, pathological gambling. When it has this side-effect, the patient tends to gamble away his or her life savings.
Don’t believe me, right? But it’s true. The evidence now is clear. So clear that warnings are required on the drugs in most countries – including Canada — but not yet the U.S.A , where the drug lobby is more powerful. In the U.S., lawsuits are swarming around the creators of the drugs (Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals for Abilify, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim for Mirapex). The legal theory is “failure to warn”.
As I said, the evidence is clear. This is not some condition lawyers invented (think “the Twinkie Defense“). Examples of the drugs’ unusual side effect abound. One plaintiff who was never a gambler sued Abilify after he lost almost $100,000 at the casino. A 68-year old man gambled away $200,000 in six months while on Mirapex for his Parkinson’s condition. Neither plaintiff received any warning that the drug could make him want to gamble. A 2013 FDA report showed that Abilify was responsible for at least thirty compulsive gambling episodes. (By the way, it can also make you into a compulsive shopper.)
Why do Abilify and Mirapex make some people want to gamble? They manipulate dopamine levels. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. When you are on the drug, your brain seeks the pleasure/reward of “winning”.
But unfortunately, Abilfy and Mirapex do not make you more likely to win!
If you or your loved one has taken either Abilify or Mirapex and has become a compulsive gambler or shopper, call us for a free consultation about your rights.
Email me at: email@example.com I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.