Research shows that kids who take the psychiatric drug Abilify have triple the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Abilify was originally designed and approved for use as an atypical antipsychotic to be taken for schizophrenia. Its manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb aggressively marketed it for other uses, including for kids with behavioral and learning difficulties.
Early onset of diabetes in children has the potential for very serious consequences as children grow into adults. Those with Type 2 diabetes may experience hearing and vision loss, kidney failure, heart disease and nerve damage. This risk is elevated in the first year of antipsychotic use and it increases with cumulative doses. It is a risk present for children younger than 18 and even in very small children.
Last year, JAMA Psychiatry published a study involving more than 29,000 young people between ages 6-24. They were prescribed Abilify and other atypical antipsychotics for ADHD and behavioral and mood disorders. These were compared to more than 14,400 children taking other mental health medications. Both subjects were tracked for 12 years. 106 young people were diagnosed with and treated for Type 2 diabetes. This was three times the normal risk- Type 2 diabetes is fairly uncommon in children. These odds persisted even a year after the treatment was stopped.
One of the professors involved with the study explained the study had to be so large in order to detect a clinically meaningful difference in the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Back in 2011, another study found that kids on antipsychotics were 4 times more likely to develop diabetes than their peers not on medication.
In Mississippi, plaintiffs harmed by a dangerous drug can sue under a variety of theories including failure to warn. Under Miss. Code Ann. § 11-1-63 plaintiffs must show (1) inadequate warnings; (2) the drug was unreasonably dangerous because of the defect; (3) proximate cause and (4) actual or constructive knowledge of the danger that was not obvious to the plaintiff. Parents can bring lawsuits against the manufacturer of Abilify on behalf of their children.
The first two elements are fairly straightforward. To the extent that Abilify was marketed to children and pediatricians or child psychiatrists without giving adequate warnings, parents may be able to show the first element. Similarly, the research that shows the huge risks of diabetes may be used to show the second element.
Individual cases will vary on the issue of causation. An experienced attorney will use medical records, medical studies and expert testimony to prove that a child’s Type 2 diabetes and associated injuries were caused by Abilify.
The fourth element requires parents to show that a drug manufacturer should have known of the danger of the drug. In Mississippi, parents do not have to prove actual knowledge. Rather they must show that the defendant should have known of the danger. Many antipsychotics, including atypical antipsychotics, affect metabolism, even in adult psychiatric patients. This is common knowledge. The makers of Abilify should have known that the risk to young people, whose bodies are still developing would be even more damaging.
The knowledgeable Mississippi product liability attorneys of Coxwell & Associates may be able to help if your child’s health was damaged by Abilify.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.