Abilify is the brand name of aripiprazole, an antipsychotic medication that alters the actions of the chemicals in your brain. It may be used to treat symptoms of disorders such as bipolar disorder (with manic depression) or schizophrenia. In conjunction with other prescription medications, Abilify may also be used as a treatment for adults with major depressive disorder. Abilify can also be used to treat some of the symptoms in Tourette’s syndrome or autism spectrum disorder symptoms in children over 6 years old.
Be sure to keep the medication in its original packaging at room temperature until you are ready to take it, and remove it from the packaging with clean, dry hands. Keep Abilify away from high temperatures or moisture.
Do not crush, break, or chew the tablets. If taking regular Abilify tablets, swallow them as you would any other pill. For the orally disintegrating type, allow the tablet to dissolve in your mouth. If preferred, you may wash the dissolved pill down with a liquid. You can take Abilify with food, or without food.
Unless recommended by your physician, do not take Abilify for longer than six weeks. Your doctor may alter your dosage as needed to ensure proper results.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, or if it is close to your next scheduled dose skip the missed dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.
Consult your physician before taking Abilify if you have ever experienced issues such as the following: liver or kidney disease, low white blood cell numbers, blood pressure issues, hearth rhythm irregularities, heart disease, high cholesterol and/or triglycerides, trouble swallowing, seizures, epilepsy, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes or family history of diabetes, OCD, addictive behaviours, or impulse-control disorder. Take all medications, including Abilify, exactly as directed to by your doctor and the prescription label.
If you think that you may be experiencing an overdose, call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Overdose symptoms can include the following: vomiting, fast or slow heart rate, fainting, drowsiness, aggression, confusion, breathing problems, or seizures.
There is not enough information to determine whether or not Abilify is safe to use children under 10 years of age with bipolar disorder, or in schizophrenia patients 13 years of age or younger. Abilify is not approved for use in dementia related psychotic disorders, and may increase mortality risk in older adults with conditions related to dementia.
Young patients may experience suicidal thoughts when being treated with medications for psychiatric disorders. Doctors, family and/or caregivers should monitor changes in these patients’ mood.
Abilify may cause high blood pressure in some patients. If you are diabetic, be sure to check your blood sugar levels regularly while on Abilify.
During the last trimester of pregnancy, Abilify may cause issues with the newborn such as limp or stiff muscles, withdrawal symptoms, tremors, and more. If you become pregnant while on Abilify, consult with your doctor before considering stopping your treatment as you may experience withdrawal symptoms and other issues. You should not take this medication while breast-feeding as it can pass through breast milk and potentially harm your child.
Exercise caution while operating cars or machinery as Abilify may affect judgement skills and cause sedation.
Do not stop taking Abilify suddenly, as doing so may cause your condition to worsen and you may experience withdrawal symptoms.
Some common side effects of Abilify may include blurry vision, weight gain, nausea, appetite changes, vomiting, constipation, drooling, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, feeling tired, restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat.
Call your doctor immediately if you experience a serious side effect such as the following: severe distress, severe agitation or restlessness, uncontrollable movement of your arms, legs, tongue, lips, or face, twitching, stiffness of the face, trouble swallowing, trouble with speech, seizures, suicidal thoughts, severe nervous system reactions, low blood cell count, or high blood sugar.
While taking Abilify you may experience abnormal urges to gamble, increased sexual urges, or other unusual, strong urges. Talk to you doctor if you experience any of these.
Seek emergency medical help immediately if you think you may be experiencing an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions may be identified through symptoms such as: breathing difficulty, hives, or swelling in the facial or throat area.
Consult your doctor before taking any of the following: sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, medications for anxiety or depression, seizure medications, prescription cough medication, or narcotic pain relievers.
This is not a complete list of side effects- talk to your doctor for more information.
What should patients avoid while taking Abilify?
While taking Abilify, patients should not drink alcohol as it may cause dangerous side effects. Patients should also avoid standing up too fast as they may feel dizzy. They should also avoid dehydration and overheating. It is easier to become severely dehydrated or overheated when on Abilify.
Are there any drug interactions?
There are over 100 major drug interactions, over 1000 moderate drug interactions, and a handful of minor drug interactions. These cover many different classes of medications, vitamins and supplements such as Wellbutrin (severe reaction), Ventolin (moderate reaction), and Bactrim (minor reaction). Always check with your doctor about any possible reactions before starting a new medication or supplement.
Is there a generic alternative available?
There is a generic alternative version of Abilify that has been approved by the FDA, but it may not be available locally due to patent laws. The drug’s unbranded name is aripiprazole.