Abilify
Last Edited: April 20th, 2012

Coupons for Abilify

Abilify, know by the drug name aripiprazole, is an antidepressant and antipsychotic prescribed for clinical depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Abilify is sometimes used to treat agitation in autistic children, as well as acute episodes of bipolar mania. In most cases, Abilify is used in combination with other antidepressant and antipsychotics in adjunctive therapy. Current studies are underway to test aripiprazole's efficacy in treating cocaine and methamphetamine dependency.

Side Effects

The use of Abilify is associated with many side effects. Frequent side effects include headache, nausea, lethargy, insomnia, stuffy nose and blurred vision. Weight gain is also a common side effect, with children particularly susceptible to increased weight. Patients also frequently report muscle stiffness, restlessness and dizziness.

Serious, but less common side effects include suicidal thoughts, stroke and seizures. Abilify sometimes causes tardive dyskinesia, a permanent neurological disorder commonly seen in patients who take antipsychotic medications long-term. Involuntary movements such as, rapid eye blinking, lip puckering, and grimacing may indicate tardive dyskinesia. Patients also report difficulty swallowing and the sensation of choking.

High blood sugar is another serious condition sometimes associated with the use of Abilify. Extremely elevated blood sugar can lead to coma and death. Confusion and weakness, fruity-smelling breath, excessive thirst or need to urinate may indicate high blood sugar.

Long-term use of Abilify may cause decreased blood pressure and unhealthy changes in cholesterol levels. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a rare but serious life-threatening side effect associated with long-term use of Abilify. NMS may come on suddenly with some or all of the following symptoms: confusion, changes in pulse and heart rate, high fever, and stiff muscles.

Before Taking

Before beginning treatment with Abilify, notify your healthcare provider if you have diabetes or a family history of diabetes. Also report any current or previous cases of seizures, heart problems, stroke, high or low blood pressure, or low white blood cell count.

Women who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant should also inform their doctor before taking Abilify. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should not take Abilify due to the uncertainty of safety to the fetus or children who breastfeed.

Other serious medical health conditions should also be reported to your doctor before beginning treatment, in addition to any medications currently being taken.

Discontinuing Use

Abilify should not be discontinued suddenly. Discontinue use according to a physician's recommendations to avoid acute withdrawal symptoms including nausea, tachycardia, unexplained crying, and anxiety. Relapse and psychosis have reported with rapid-withdrawal of the drug.

Warnings

Because antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior, patients with a history of suicidal ideation should not take Abilify without close supervision.

Elderly patients affected by dementia who are treated with antipsychotic drugs have a greater risk of death than those not taking antipsychotics. Increased mortality while taking the drug included death from heart failure and pneumonia.

Patients taking Abilify should not drive, operate heavy machinery or drink alcohol. Patients should avoid heavy direct sun or strenuous workouts that over-heat the body. Abilify may disrupt the body's ability to regulate temperature. Patients participating in activities that elevate core body temperature should be advised to maintain good hydration and rest frequently.