What is Abilify?

Abilify is a medication that is used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia in adults and children ages 13 and older. The medication comes in tablet, solution, and disintegrating tablet form. Abilify is also sometimes prescribed to treat symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, autistic disorder, and Tourette’s disorder.

When did the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve the medication?

Abilify was first approved by the FDA to treat schizophrenia in 2002.

 

Is there a generic version of Abilify?

Yes, the generic name for the medication is aripiprazole and is available for purchase in the United States.

 

Are there any major differences between Abilify and other antipsychotics used to treat Abilify?

Abilify belongs to the class of medications known as atypical antipsychotics or second generation psychotics. Atypical antipsychotics generally have fewer side effects than conventional antipsychotics. Talk to your doctor about what might work best for you and the costs and benefits of taking the medication. Some people may need to try several different antipsychotics before they find the most effective with the fewest side effects.

 

Can children take Abilify?

Abilify should not be given to child younger than 13 years old for treatment of schizophrenia. Talk to your child’s doctor about the risks of using the medication. Adolescents are at higher risk for suicidal thoughts when taking the medication.

  

Are there potential interaction issues for people taking Abilify and any other drugs?

There are hundreds of drugs which are known to interact with Abilify in major, moderate, or mild ways, so let your doctor know what other medications you are taking before you begin taking the medication. Some of these medications include antidepressants, antifungals, antihistamines, HIV protease inhibitors, medications for anxiety, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, mental illness, motion sickness, Parkinson’s disease, seizures, ulcers, or urinary problems, sedatives, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers.

 

Are there any other medical conditions that would make someone ineligible for Abilify therapy?

Talk to your doctor about other medical conditions before you take Abilify, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, low white blood cell count, tardive dyskinesia, dementia, seizures, neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), or a history of suicidal thoughts.

 

What is the typical dose that would be prescribed to someone taking Abilify?

Starting dosages typically range from 10 to 15 mg daily for adults with schizophrenia and 2 mg daily for adolescents with schizophrenia. A daily dosage above 30 mg is not recommended.

 

  

What do I do if I miss a dose?

Take the dose of Abilify when you remember, but skip the missed dose if it it’s almost time for your next dose. You should never take extra doses of the medication to make up for missed doses.

 

What side effects can Abilify cause?

The side effects of Abilify can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Heartburn
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • constipation
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Stomach pain
  • Excess saliva
  • Pain in arms or legs

 

It also is recommended that you wait to drive or operate machinery until you know how the medication affects you. Report major side effects to your doctor immediately, which can include seizures, chest pain, fever, uncontrollable body movements, changes in vision, irregular or changes in heartbeat, hives, sweating, confusion, muscle stiffness, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or tightening of neck muscles. Adolescents taking the medication may be at high risker for developing suicidal thoughts. You can also report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online.

 

What are the potential long-term effects of taking Abilify?

Your doctor should monitor for progression of potential long-term side effects, which can include tardive dyskinesia (TD). All antipsychotics are associated with increased risk of cardiac death due to irregular heartbeat, so your doctor may recommend an EKG.

 

Is it safe for a woman who is pregnant, about to become pregnant, or nursing to take Abilify?

There have been no controlled human pregnancy studies on the effects of Abilify, but it may cause medical problems in infants if taken during the last few months of pregnancy. It is not known whether the drug can be transferred via breast milk and harm a baby. Therefore, talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are nursing before you take Abilify.

 

Can symptoms occur if Abilify is discontinued?

It’s important not to discontinue use of the drug if you feel better. Maintain contact with your doctor and seek medical attention if necessary when discontinuing the drug. Withdrawal symptoms of Abilify can include nausea, diaphoresis, tachycardia, lightheadedness, headaches, tremors, flu-like symptoms, and anxiety.

 

What should I do if I overdose on Abilify?

An overdose of Abilify could be fatal, so seek immediately help or call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 if you overdose. Overdose symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, weakness, widening of pupils, confusion, involuntary movements, changes in heartbeat, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

 

Is Abilify habit-forming?
Abilify has no habit-forming potential, but it is not recommended that you discontinue use of the drug before talking with your doctor, as withdrawal symptoms can occur.

 

How much does Abilify cost?

According to goodrx.com, 30 capsules of 5mg of Abilify cost approximately $1000.

 

Are there any disadvantages to Abilify?

The biggest disadvantages of Abilify are the potential long-term side effects, which include tardive dyskinesia. In 2016, the FDA also released a statement that compulsive behaviors are also associated with the use of the medication.

 

DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider.  This article mentions drugs that were FDA-approved and available at the time of publication and may not include all possible drug interactions or all FDA warnings or alerts. The author of this page explicitly does not endorse this drug or any specific treatment method. If you have health questions or concerns about interactions, please check with your physician or go to the FDA  site for a comprehensive list of warnings.

 

 

 

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Last Updated: Feb 22, 2017