Abilify

Generic Name: Aripiprazole

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Abilify is a medicine used to treat schizophrenia. It is also be used to treat bipolar disorder (alone or in combination with lithium or valproate), major depressive disorder (in combination with other antidepressants), and irritability associated with autism. Abilify is available as tablets, an oral solution, and orally disintegrating tablets called Abilify Discmelt.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    The exact way that Abilify works is unknown. However, it is believed to act on certain chemicals in the brain, thereby improving symptoms of your condition.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What:

    Schizophrenia: Abilify has been shown to relieve symptoms of schizophrenia as measured by a symptom rating scale that is commonly used by healthcare providers to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine in people with this condition.

    Bipolar Disorder: Abilify has been shown to effectively work for the short-term to treat two types of bipolar disorder episodes: manic (highs) and mixed (highs and lows).

    Major Depressive Disorder: Abilify may be more effective than an antidepressant alone for treating unresolved symptoms of depression.

    Irritability Associated with Autism: Abilify has been shown to improve emotional and behavioral symptoms, including aggression towards others, intentional self-injuries, temper tantrums, and quickly changing moods.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Abilify exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

    How do I know it is working?

    You may feel improvement in your symptoms. This is a good indicator that the medicine is working. Your healthcare provider may also ask you questions from time to time to assess how well your symptoms are controlled.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Abilify is not approved to treat mental problems caused by dementia (an illness involving loss of memory and judgment, and confusion) in the elderly. It can be life-threatening when used in elderly people with mental problems caused by dementia.

    Abilify can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, teenagers, and young adults. Your healthcare provider will monitor you closely for clinical worsening and suicidal or unusual behavior after you start taking Abilify or start a new dose of Abilify. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you experience anxiety, hostility, sleeplessness, restlessness, impulsive or dangerous behavior, thoughts about suicide or dying, or if you have new symptoms or seem to be feeling worse.

    Schizophrenia (Adults)

    More common side effects may include: inner sense of restlessness.

    Schizophrenia (Adolescents)

    More common side effects may include: uncontrolled movements (such as shaking or muscle stiffness), drowsiness.

    Bipolar Disorder (Adults)

    More common side effects may include: inner sense of restlessness, drowsiness, uncontrolled movements (such as shaking or muscle stiffness).

    Bipolar Disorder (Adolescents)

    More common side effects may include: drowsiness, uncontrolled movements (such as shaking or muscle stiffness), fatigue, nausea, inner sense of restlessness, blurred vision, increased salivation, dizziness.

    Bipolar Disorder in Combination with Lithium or Valproate (Adults)

    More common side effects may include: inner sense of restlessness, trouble sleeping, uncontrolled movements (such as shaking or muscle stiffness).

    Major Depressive Disorder in Combination with Antidepressants (Adults)

    More common side effects may include: inner sense of restlessness, trouble sleeping, constipation, fatigue, blurred vision.

    Irritability Associated with Autism (Children and Adolescents)

    More common side effects may include: drowsiness, fatigue, vomiting, fever, drooling, decreased appetite, increased salivation, uncontrolled movements (such as shaking or muscle stiffness), tiredness.

    Less common side effects of Abilify may include:

    Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) (a life-threatening brain disorder) with symptoms such as high fever, excessive sweating, muscle rigidity, confusion, changes in your breathing, fast or irregular heartbeat, or changes in your blood pressure.

    High blood sugar with symptoms such as excessive thirst, an increase in urination, increased appetite, weakness, confusion, fruity smelling breath, or feeling sick to your stomach.

    Increased cholesterol (fats in your blood) and triglycerides (a type of blood fat), and weight gain.

    Tardive dyskinesia, defined as abnormal muscle movements, including shaking, shuffling, and uncontrolled involuntary movements.

    Sudden fall in blood pressure with symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting when rising too quickly from a sitting or lying position.

    Low white blood cell counts with symptoms of an infection (such as fever, sore throat, rash, or chills).

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Abilify if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Abilify. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high or low blood pressure, low white blood cell counts, seizures, Alzheimer's disease, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself, heart problems, a condition called phenylketonuria (an inability to process phenylalanine, a protein in your body), a history of strokes, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Schizophrenia

    Adults: The recommended dose is 10 milligrams (mg) or 15 mg once a day.

    Adolescents 13-17 years: The recommended dose is 10 mg once a day.

    Bipolar Disorder (Alone)

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 15 mg once a day.

    Adolescents 10-17 years: The recommended starting dose is 2 mg once a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your child's dose after two days, and again after two additional days (Day 4).

    Bipolar Disorder (In Combination with Lithium or Valproate)

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 10 mg to 15 mg once a day.

    Adolescents 10-17 years: The recommended starting dose is 2 mg once a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your child's dose after two days, and again after two additional days (Day 4).

    Major Depressive Disorder (In Combination with Antidepressants)

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 2 mg to 5 mg once a day.

    Irritability Associated with Autism

    Children 6-17 years: The recommended starting dose is 2 mg once a day.

    Your healthcare provider may increase your or your child's dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Abilify exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Abilify without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Take Abilify with or without food. Swallow Abilify tablets whole.

    To take Abilify Discmelt tablets, open the package and peel back the foil on the blister pack. Do not push the tablet through the foil because this could damage the tablet. Using dry hands, remove the tablet and place the entire tablet on your tongue. The tablet will dissolve rapidly.

    It is recommended that you take Abilify Discmelt tablets without liquid. However, if needed, you can take them with liquid. Do not split Abilify Discmelt tablets.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Abilify.

    Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Abilify affects you.

    Do not become over-heated or dehydrated while you are taking Abilify. Do not over-exercise. In hot weather, stay inside in a cool place if possible. Stay out of the sun and do not wear too much or heavy clothing. Drink plenty of water.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Abilify is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Abilify may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Abilify during pregnancy are unknown. Abilify can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Abilify. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Abilify, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

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