Abilify is used in the treatment of mental disorders, most notably the symptoms associated with schizophrenia. While there is no cure for these conditions, these symptoms can be managed with the use of medications like Abilify so that patients can function more normally. It may take up to two weeks before your medication begins to have an effect on your symptoms. During this time, your doctor may want to monitor your condition to ensure that you are not at risk for character altering behavior. You should not stop taking your medication suddenly as this can lead to withdrawal symptoms or other unpleasant side effects. See your doctor for any dosing changes to ensure that they are administered safely.
Indications and Usage
Abilify is the brand name of the drug aripiprazole, which is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder mania or depression. This drug may be prescribed alongside other antidepressants to help control extreme behavior in adults and teenagers. Abilify is available in tablet, disintegrating tablet and solution forms, each of which are taken once a day orally. Patients should try to take this medication around the same time every day to avoid low periods where there is not an adequate amount of medication in your system. You can take Abilify with or without food.
Those using the disintegrating tablets should not try to push them through the foil as this can cause the tablet to fall apart. Instead, cut the foil and remove the tablet gently with clean, dry hands. Take the tablet immediately to avoid leaving trace amounts of the medication on your hands. If the tablet does not dissolve quickly you may finish your dose with water.
Most patients with schizophrenia will start with a low dose of Abilify that will be increased as necessary to control your condition once the patient has been on Abilify for 3 months or longer. Adults will typically be started at 10 mg per day, which can be increased to 30 mg per day. Adolescents between the ages of 13-17 will be started on 2 mg, which can be increased up to 10 mg per day as necessary.
Those treating bipolar disorder will begin with 15 mg, which can be increased to 30 mg per day as necessary. Adolescents ages 10-17 treating bipolar disorder will be started on 2 mg per day, which will be increased in 5 mg increments as necessary. Adolescents may be paired with lithium valproate to help manage their symptoms. Patients under 6 should not be given Abilify. Those between the ages of 6-10 will need to be monitored closely to ensure their safety while using this drug.
Elderly patients with dementia have an increased mortality risk when using antipsychotic drugs. Patients with dementia-related psychosis will not see an improvement in their condition with the use of Abilify, including those with Alzheimer's disease. If you have been using Abilify previously and have started to develop these conditions, contact your doctor about how to proceed.
Abilify Side Effects
The most common side effects of Abilify are headache, nervousness, drowsiness, heartburn, dizziness, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, weight gain, increased appetite, increased salvation and pain in the arms, legs or joints. Though these side effects are not the sign of a serious condition, you should inform your doctor if they occur so they can determine if a change in your medication is necessary. You should also inform your doctor if your side effects do not lessen over time or if they are severe enough to impact your everyday life.
Other side effects include itching, tightness in the neck or throat, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, throat, hands or lower legs, rash, hives, sweating, confusion, muscle stiffness, fever, chest pain, changes in fission or irregular heartbeat. These side effects should be reported to your doctor immediately as they are a sign that you are having a negative reaction to your medication. If these side effects come on suddenly or make you feel as though you may lose consciousness, contact emergency medical services for help as soon as possible.
If you begin to experience drowsiness, weakness, widened pupils, nausea, vomiting, changes in heartbeat, movements you cannot control, confusion, seizures or loss of consciousness you may be suffering from an overdose of your medication. Contact poison control and emergency medical services immediately to get assistance, especially if you begin to have difficulty breathing. If possible, provide these services with your regular dosing size, the amount you have ingested and when you took your dose so they can determine how best to assist you.
Drugs known to interact with Abilify include heart medication, high blood pressure medication, carbamazepine, rifabutin, rifampin, ketoconazole, itraconazole, quinidine, fluoxetine, Sarafem, fluvoxamine and paroxetine. Let your doctor know if you are taking any of these medications currently so you can have your prescriptions adjusted. You may also be advised to cease the use of allergy medications, narcotic pain medications, sleeping pills, seizure medication, medicine for anxiety, and sleeping pills as these can increase your risk of side effects, especially daytime drowsiness while using Abilify.
It can be easy to become dehydrated while on Abilify. Make sure you get plenty of liquids throughout the day and focus on drinking water when performing strenuous activities that cause you to sweat. You should also talk to your doctor about grapefruit juice consumption while on Abilify. Grapefruit juice may increase your risk of side effects when paired with the chemicals in this medication.
Getting up too quickly from a lying position can make those using Abilify dizzy. Be careful to get up slowly and keep something nearby to help you steady yourself to help prevent falling or injury. This medication may also impair your judgment or reaction time. Avoid doing anything that requires you to be alert and focused until you know how Abilify will affect you. Drinking alcohol while using Abilify increases your risk that these side effects will occur.