Abilify (or aripiprazole) is an antipsychotic drug that is used to treat a variety of conditions, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Tourette’s disorder, and autism spectrum disorder. This medication is also sometimes used along with other medications to treat depression. Abilify works by restoring the balance balance of neurotransmitters, which then decreases hallucinations, improves concentration, lessens nerves, and allows an individual to be more present in everyday life again.
Use and Dosage
Individuals should usually take abilify once per day and by mouth, with or without food (as directed by your doctor). Exact dosage, however, can vary from person-to-person, as it depends on your underlying medical condition, initial response to treatment, age, and other medications you are taking—therefore, it is important that you tell your doctor about all of the products you use, from prescription medications to nonprescription and herbal products. Additionally, your doctor may start you on a low dosage of this medication to reduce your risk of developing unwanted side effects, but they can then increase it as needed.
Furthermore, you should not increase your dose, use the drug more often or for longer than instructed, as it will not improve your condition or symptoms any quicker—instead your risk of side effects will increase. You also shouldn’t abruptly stop taking abilify; if you decide that you want to cease treatment, discuss it with your doctor so that they can offer their advice on the topic and gradually ween you off of the medication to prevent the worsening of any conditions.
Potential Side Effects
As with the start of most new medications, abilify may produce some unwanted side effects, which range in severity. These side effects, however, do not typically outweigh the benefits of the medication. And if they persist or worsen, a simple discussion with your doctor may lead to a simple solution so you can continue to reap the benefits of abilify. Still, it is important you’re aware of possible mild and more serious effects this medication may cause:
- Mild Effects: dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, vomiting, nausea, tiredness, blurred vision, headache, weight gain, constipation, and difficulty sleeping. If you experience any of these side effects, you should report them to your doctor promptly.
- Serious Effects: fainting, increased anxiety, suicidal thoughts, depression, difficulty swallowing, restlessness, shaking or tremors, muscle spasms, seizures, fever, persistent sore throat, difficulty controlling urges like gambling or eating. Observation of any of these serious effects demands you tell your doctor immediately.
It’s also possible to have a very serious allergic reaction to abilify—though this is rare, you should be aware of the symptoms, which include a rash, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, and severe dizziness. And if you do experience any of these symptoms, it is important you seek medical help right away.
Furthermore, this medication can cause your blood sugar to rise, which, in turn, can worsen or even cause diabetes. Talk to your doctor immediately if you observe any symptoms of this occurring, such as increased thirst or urination. You should also know that abilify may cause (in rare cases) a couple other conditions: tardive dyskinesia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Again, tell your doctor right away if you experience any symptoms of tardive dyskinesia, which includes unusual uncontrolled body movements. And if you experience any symptoms of the latter—NMS—such as fever, muscle stiffness, severe confusion, or an irregular heartbeat, seek medical help immediately.
Before Taking Abilify…
It is vital you take precautionary measures anytime you’re considering a new medication, as they have very real and direct effects on your everyday life. Before you start taking abilify it is vital you first…
- Talk to your doctor about existing allergies, as this product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions and other issues of concern.
- Consider and discuss your medical history, especially any problems with the heart, nervous system, breathing, sleeping, and/or swallowing. Additionally, a history—either personal or family—of obesity, diabetes, or low white blood cell count is of topical importance.
- Understand all of abilify’s possible side effects and risks, as dizziness or drowsiness may occur, which will affect your ability to drive, use machinery, or perform any other activity that requires alertness and clear vision. This medication can also cause you to sweat less, which means you’re more likely to get heat stroke—therefore, you should avoid performing any activities that may lead to overheating. And finally, your age may make you more sensitive to certain side effects of abilify, as older adults may be more prone to experiencing drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, swallowing issues, and other effects.