Abilify is now the most-widely sold and prescribed drug on the market. What it is being used to treat? Just about everything.
Quick: what’s the top-selling drug in the United States?
Prozac? Viagra? Maybe something for heart disease?
Nope—Abilify, the powerful anti-psychotic medication that’s now widely used to treat depression. From April 2013, through March 2014, sales of Abilify (official name, aripriprazole) totaled $6,885,243,368—that’s right, almost $6.9 billion. That’s more than all other major anti-depressants combined.
And yet, the FDA says that the way Abilify works is “unknown.” Unknown! As in, we have no idea why this medication seems to help people with bipolar disorder. But go ahead and try it anyway, since it seems to work somehow.
Question: What one thing have nearly all serial shooters had in common at the time they did the killing?
Answer: Prescribed anti-psychotic medication like Abilify
Packaging Disclaimer: “Note, this medicine may cause psychosis, hallucinations, or the inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.”
Abilify’s makers, Otsuka America, say they know. As noted (and critiqued) in the medical journal PLOS Medicine, Abilify’s advertisements say that the drug works “like a thermostat to restore balance.”
A spokesperson for Otsuka denied that the advertising is at odds with the science. “Our promotional activities,” the company said, “focus on the description of the mechanism of action of aripiprazole as it is written in the USPI,” the standardized United States Product Insert.
But what the USPI says is that “The mechanism of action of aripiprazole… is unknown. However, it has been proposed that the efficacy of aripiprazole is mediated through a combination of partial agonist activity at D2 and 5-HT1A receptors and antagonist activity at 5-HT2A receptors.” In other words, there’s a “proposed” theory, but no evidence to establish it.