A drug used to treat individuals with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder could cause irrational needs in a person to gamble, binge eat, shop and engaging in “sexual actions,” the Food and Drug Administration cautioned Tuesday.
According to the FDA, the antipsychotic drug Aripiprazole (Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Aristada and generics), the agency’s Adverse Event Reporting System shows that since the approval of the first Aripiprazole product (Abilify) in 2002, a total of 184 cases linked the drug use to impulse control issues.
The drug’s packaging already warns patients about potential gambling urges as a side effect, but the FDA says the other side effects are not mentioned.
“There were 167 U.S. cases, which included adults and children. Pathological gambling was the most common (164 cases), but other compulsive behaviors including compulsive eating, spending or shopping, and sexual behaviors were also reported,” reported the FDA.
“These compulsive behaviors can affect anyone who is taking the medicine,” the FDA says.
The agency notes that “approximately 1.6 million patients received an Aripiprazole prescription from U.S. outpatient retail pharmacies during 2015” but say that their database only includes “reports submitted to FDA, so there may be additional cases about which we are unaware.”
The FDA says that in the reported cases, the majority of patients with no prior history of compulsive behaviors felt uncontrollable urges after they started taking Aripiprazole. However, after the dosage was either reduced or discontinued, the urges ceased.