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Antipsychotic Drug May Cause Impulse-Control Problems

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JAMA

June 21, 2016

An FDA safety announcement has warned that the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole has been linked with compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, or have sex (http://1.usa.gov/1ru0vEL).

Agency officials said the urges were reported to have stopped when the medication was discontinued or the dose was reduced. “These impulse-control problems are rare, but they may result in harm to the patient and others if not recognized,” they explained in a statement.

Rebecca Voelker, MSJ

The current aripiprazole drug label lists pathological gambling as a potential adverse event, but the FDA will add new warnings about the additional impulse-control risks that have been identified. Aripiprazole is used to treat certain mental disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Tourette syndrome, and irritability associated with autistic disorder. It also may be used in combination with antidepressants to treat depression.

Health professionals should inform patients and caregivers of the risk of these uncontrollable urges when prescribing aripiprazole and ask patients specifically about new or increasing urges while they’re treated with aripiprazole.

Patients at higher risk for impulse-control problems—those with a personal or family history of obsessive-compulsive disorder, impulse-control disorder, bipolar disorder, impulsive personality, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other addictive behaviors—should be closely monitored for new or worsening uncontrollable urges. If such urges develop, clinicians should consider reducing the dose or stopping the medication.

 read more at JAMA

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