After experiencing adverse side effects from the antidepressant Abilify, a group of patients filed a class action suit against the manufacturing company. Primarily prescribed for Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, and Depression, Abilify was marketed as an antipsychotic to help patients balance their serotonin levels and stabilize their behavior and moods. After the drug was prescribed, multiple individuals experienced heightened compulsive behaviors such as pathological gambling, spending, overeating, and hypersexuality. Consequently, the court case consulted experts in psychiatry and pharmacology to address the use of this specific medication, its mechanism of action, and whether there was any link to a manifestation of compulsive behavior.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please briefly describe your knowledge and experience with Abilify (aripiprazole).
- 2. After a review of the available records and literature, do you feel comfortable discussing Abilify's mechanism of action and any potential links to compulsive behavior?
Expert Witness Response E-034827
I am a distinguished psychiatrist with a Master’s degree in obsessive and compulsive disorders and two doctoral degrees in the neuropsychopharmacology of addiction and compulsive behaviors. My published work has been cited over eleven thousand times my h-index is 46, making me one of the leading neuro-psychopharmacologists in the world. I have numerous national scientific awards and also have been listed among the best doctors in the USA. I am quite familiar with Abilify – or aripiprazole, as it is also known, having studied it pharmacologically and having also prescribed it clinically to patients.
Furthermore, I have lectured and published on pharmacological effects of aripiprazole and compulsive behavior. My single authored textbook on addiction in medicine is considered one of the eminent publications in the field. Therefore, I can provide expert testimony on the relationship between aripiprazole and compulsive behavior as an experienced forensic psychiatrist well-versed with providing detailed reports, responding to interrogatives, and preparing reports. In my experience, antipsychotics can generally increase compulsive behaviors, especially in vulnerable patients.
Expert Witness Response E-085089
In my career, I have published nearly thirty papers dealing with antipsychotic drugs. For nearly two decades, part of my research involved the use of in vivo electrophysiology in animals to ascertain why drugs such as clozapine had an atypical antipsychotic profile. I am considered an expert in the areas of the physiology, behavior and pharmacology of dopamine. Recently, I received funding from a large pharmaceutical company to ascertain the action of chronic aripiprazole administration on the activity of dopamine neurons in the A9 and A10 (these areas contain substantia nigra and ventral tegmental DA neurons, respectively) in anesthetized rats. Aripiprazole, similar to other atypical antipsychotics, significantly decreased the number of spontaneously active A10 DA neurons. I have also published an academic study on the hypothesis that aripiprazole may be correlated with treatment-emergent psychosis. In this article, my colleagues and I discuss how the pharmacologic profile of aripiprazole may explain its induction of psychosis in certain schizophrenic patients.