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Abilify : Drug Information

What is Abilify?

Abilify is the brand name used for selling the drug known as aripiprazole. It is an antipsychotic medicine that works by changing the chemical actions in the brain.

Doctors prescribe this medicine to treat symptoms of psychotic conditions, including bipolar I disorder (also called manic depression) and schizophrenia. This drug is only safe for children older than 13 who have schizophrenia or children older than ten who have bipolar disorder.

Doctors often combine this drug with other medications to treat symptoms of major depressive disorder in adults.

This medicine can also help children under six years of age or older with Tourette’s disorder or those who show symptoms of autistic disorder, including aggression, temper tantrums, mood swings, self-injury, and irritability.

Important Information

Abilify is not suitable for older people who have dementia-related psychosis.

This medicine can induce suicidal thoughts in young people having a major depressive disorder and other psychiatric disorders. Keep track of your mood changes and report to your doctor about any new or worsening symptoms.

Though your doctor will keep track of your progress at regular visits while using this medicine, you should also be cautious. Immediately stop taking Abilify if you experience fever with stiff muscle and increased heart rate. Also, look out for uncontrolled movement, symptoms that abruptly manifest, such as weakness, numbness, severe headache, and difficulties with balance, vision, or speech.

What to know before taking Abilify?

Avoid consuming Abilify if you are allergic to aripiprazole.

This medicine can increase death risk in older people with dementia-related psychosis.

Before starting treatment with this drug, make sure to let your doctor know if you have or ever had:

  • Heart disease
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Low white blood cells count
  • Seizure or epilepsy
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Trouble swallowing
  • High cholesterol or triglycerides
  • Personal or family history of diabetes
  • A heart attack or stroke
  • OCD, impulse-control disorder
  • Addictive behavior

The liquid variant of this drug can contain up to 15 grams of sugar per dose. Diabetic people should refrain from using Abilify’s oral solution. Other forms of this medicine can also cause blood sugar levels to increase, so if you have diabetes and use it, check your blood sugar levels regularly throughout the treatment duration.

The orally disintegrating tablet of this drug can contain about 3mg of phenylalanine per pill. Let the doctor know if you have phenylketonuria before using the orally disintegrating variant of Abilify.

Using this medicine in the final trimester of pregnancy may result in health problems in the newborn. These problems can include withdrawal symptoms, feeding difficulty, difficulty breathing, limp or stiff muscles, tremors, and fussiness. You might also face withdrawal symptoms if you abruptly stop using Abilify during pregnancy. So, if you become pregnant while taking this drug, reach out to a professional, and seek medical advice.

Abilify can pass into breastmilk, making breastfeeding unsafe for the nursing infant. Try consulting a doctor about potential risks that can occur if you breastfeed while using this medicine.

How to take Abilify?

Try consuming this drug precisely as prescribed by the doctor. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Your doctor might occasionally change the recommended dose to ensure you get the best result. However, try not to alter the dosage without consulting your doctor. Avoid consuming more than the recommended quality and refrain from using this medicine for longer than the prescribed duration.

Unless your doctor told you to, don’t take this drug for more than six weeks.

Don’t crush, chew, or break the pill; swallow it whole.

While consuming this medicine’s liquid variant, make sure to use the proper dosing syringe or a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup to accurately measure the quantity. If you don’t have a specialized tool, ask your pharmacist for one.

Rember the following when taking orally disintegrating pills of this medicine – Dismelt:

  • Don’t swallow the whole table. Let the tablet dissolve in the mouth without chewing. You can drink water or other liquid to help swallow the dissolved pill.
  • Avoid taking out the pills from their packaging till you are ready to consume them.
  • Peel back the foil to take out the pill, pushing the tablet through the foil, as doing so can damage it.
  • Ensure that your hands are dry before picking up the tablet and putting it in your mouth.

Try not to stop using this medicine abruptly because suddenly stopping its consumption can cause severe withdrawal symptoms.

Abilify dosage

The typical Abilify dosage is as per the following:

Schizophrenia

  • The initial dose is between 10mg and 15mg once a day.
  • A doctor might increase or decrease the quantity based on your body’s reaction.
  • The maximum daily dose is 30mg taken once a day.

Bipolar I disorder

  • The typical dose is 15mg.
  • Take the medication once a day.
  • Avoid consuming more than 30mg of this drug in a single day.

Major depression

  • Start with 2mg to 5mg, taken once a day.
  • The doctor might gradually increase the quantity by 5mg to reach a maximum of 15mg a day.

Autistic disorder

  • Start with 2mg per day.
  • The maintenance dose is between 5mg and 15mg taken once a day.
  • A doctor can increase or decrease the quantity as required.

Tourette syndrome

  • The starting dose is 2mg taken once a day.
  • The doctor will increase the quantity to reach a daily intake of 5mg to 10mg once a day.

Overdose

When you take more than the recommended amount of Abilify, you can experience the following overdose symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Fainting
  • Drowsiness
  • Aggression
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fast or slow heart rate

If you face any of these signs after taking the drug, seek immediate medical help. Call 911 or the Poison helpline @ 1-800-222-1222.

What to avoid while using Abilify?

This drug can interfere with your reactions and thinking abilities. Be cautious of driving or undertaking any activity that requires alertness while under this drug’s influence.

Avoid standing up or sitting down too fast, or you might feel dizzy. This severe drowsiness can increase the risk of falls, fractures, and other injuries.

Mixing Abilify with alcohol can produce dangerous side effects.

Avoid getting dehydrated or overheated. Drink plenty of water or fluids in hot weather while exercising. Abilify makes it easier to get dangerously overheated and dehydrated.

Abilify side effects

When taking this medicine, try to be vigilant about Abilify’s side effects. This drug can cause mild to severe adverse symptoms based on how much of the medication you are consuming. Not everyone who uses Abilify will experience its adverse effects, but if you do, stop using the drug and inform your doctor.

Common side effects

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Uncontrolled movements
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Stuffy nose
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation or distress
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Serious side effects

  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
  • High blood sugar
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Slow white blood cell count
  • Stroke
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Compulsive behavior

Severe symptoms require immediate medical assistance. Call 911 or visit the ER if the symptoms feel life-threatening.

What drugs can interact with Abilify?

Abilify can interact with several other drugs, and different interacts can result in varying side effects. Some medications can increase Abilify’s side effects, while others can make it less effective.

Before starting the treatment with this drug, make sure to tell the doctor about all over-the-counter and prescription medications, herbal supplements, vitamins, etc., that you are taking. Communicating with the doctor can save you from potentially harmful interactions.

Interactions that increase side effects:

  • Antifungal medicines – itraconazole or ketoconazole
  • Antidepressants – paroxetine or fluoxetine
  • Quinidine

Interactions that makes Abilify less effective

  • Anti-seizure medications – phenytoin or carbamazepine

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