abilify patients feel the need to gamble excessivelyA Quebec court has certified a proposed Class in an Abilify class action lawsuit alleging those who took the antipsychotic medication suffered from compulsions to shop, gamble, overeat, and even have sex.

Lead plaintiff S. Scheer lodged the complaint against Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Otsuka Canada Pharmaceutical, and Lundbeck Canada seeking to represent Canadians who took Abilify before Feb. 23, 2017.

On Jan. 6, 2020, the representative for the plaintiff announced that the proposed Class had been certified by the Honourable Justice Pierre-C. Gagnon. To remain in the Class, you don’t have to do anything further. Canadians who would like to opt out of the Abilify class action must do so by May 31, 2020.

The Abilify class action lawsuit alleges that the medication carries a risk of causing irresistible compulsions to eat, gamble, and shop, but the drug makers failed to adequately warn patients.

According to the Abilify class action lawsuit, the drug makers “developed, designed, manufactured, tested, marketed, labelled, packaged, promoted, advertised, imported, distributed, and/or sold the ABILIFY Products as safe and/or effective despite a wealth of existing knowledge that the drugs had dangerous side effects including uncontrollable impulses, such as pathological gambling, binge eating, uncontrollable spending or shopping and hypersexual behavior.”



Abilify is an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, notes the complaint. It comes in several different dosages, available in both pill and liquid form. The drug works by binding to receptors in the brain, making it different from drugs in the same family known as atypical antipsychotics.

“Like other atypical antipsychotics, the ABILIFY Products bind to several different neurotransmitter receptors, but unlike others in its class, it doesn’t block dopamine (specifically, dopamine D2) or serotonin (specifically, 5-HT1A) receptors,” states the Abilify class action lawsuit.

“Instead, it’s a partial agonist at those receptors – it can activate those receptors, but not to the full biological effect. In lay terms, it can both enhance dopamine and serotonin signaling where those transmitters are deficient, and inhibit signaling where they are in excess.”

Dopamine has a role in compulsive and addictive behavior, contends the plaintiff, and that role is well known. Additionally, the drug makers allegedly knew of reports of serious pathological gambling linked to patients who took Abilify while the drug was still being tested. Despite these reports, the companies pushed for approval of Abilify in 2009.

Further cases of compulsive, addictive behaviors linked to the drug were reported in subsequent years, alleges the Abilify class action lawsuit. Patients reported an irresistible urge to gamble and overeat and some reported incidents of hypersexuality. These urges, says the plaintiff, dissipated after the patients were switched to a different medication.



Even in the face of these reports, as well as limits placed on the use of Abilify by the European Union, Bristol-Meyers and Otsuka marketed the drug to Canadians, alleges the complaint.

“Despite the risks of serious adverse events, and the lack of adequate testing, that Respondents aggressively promoted ABILIFY, including illegal promotion for off-label use,” states the class action lawsuit.

In 2017, the makers of Abilify reached a $19.5 million settlement with 43 U.S. attorneys generals who brought similar claims. The funds were distributed to those who took the antipsychotic medication in the U.S.

Did you take Abilify and suffer from compulsions to overeat, gamble, shop, or have sex? Tell us your story in the comments below.

The plaintiff is represented by Consumer Law Group.



The Abilify Class Action Lawsuit is S. Scheer v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada Co., et al., Case No. 500-06-000831-160, in the Superior Court for the Province of Quebec, District of Montreal, Canada.

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Please note: Top Class Actions is not a settlement administrator or law firm. Top Class Actions is a legal news source that reports on class action lawsuits, class action settlements, drug injury lawsuits and product liability lawsuits. Top Class Actions does not process claims and we cannot advise you on the status of any class action settlement claim. You must contact the settlement administrator or your attorney for any updates regarding your claim status, claim form or questions about when payments are expected to be mailed out.

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6 Comments

  • Nancy Martinez January 15, 2020

    I’ve been on Abiltify for 4 years and shopping has became a compulsive behavior that now lead me into bankruptcy among other side effects

  • kristi marshall January 14, 2020

    both myself and my teenage daughter was on abilify for about 2 years or so.. my teenage daughter was 50 pounds when she was put on this medicine at about 11 years old. the doctor was worried about her weight because she was so little n wouldn’t seem to gain any weight..well after about a year or so she had went over 100 pounds and was diagnosed with pre diabiates.. please add me please..thank you..

  • Jason Godfrey January 7, 2020

    I have been taking Abilify for quite sometime. Atleast 5 yrs, I am on assistance and can’t really control spending even though I don’t have much. I was hypersexual having unsafe sex as well. And when I have food it doesn’t last long. Usually eat everything all up at once for the month and have to rely on my mother for help which is not right by me..

  • Debbie Bowen January 7, 2020

    I definately took Abilify and had a HUGE loss of money due to compulsive shopping. I’m in the US though. Is this only for Canada?
    Thank you

  • V Simpson January 7, 2020

    I’ve gained over 100 lbs. I feel like I can’t control my eating habits. I took abilify while I lived in Utah. I had to stop because of involuntary muscle movements. It was getting hard to drive because my legs constantly shook.

  • Kelly Lidik January 7, 2020

    Please add me.

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