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Aripiprazole : Drug Information

What is Aripiprazole?

Aripiprazole is an antipsychotic medication that doctors prescribe to treat psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder (manic depression). It is unknown if aripiprazole is effective or safe for children younger than 10 with bipolar disorder or children younger than 13 with schizophrenia.

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

This medicine can also help children who are 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

Aripiprazole 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.

Do not abruptly stop taking aripiprazole, or you could experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Try not to do activities or tasks that require you to be alert, like driving or have clear eyesight until you realize how aripiprazole affects you.

This drug can cause high blood sugar or diabetes, high cholesterol, and weight gain. These may increase the chance of heart and brain blood vessel disease.

This drug also leads to low white blood cell counts that may lead to a higher chance of infection, which are rarely deadly. Let your doctor be aware if you have ever had a low white blood cell count. Immediately call your doctor if you have signs of infection like fever, chills, or sore throat.

What to know before taking aripiprazole?

Avoid consuming aripiprazole if you are allergic to it.

Aripiprazole may increase death risk in older adults with dementia-related psychosis and is unapproved for this use.

Before starting treatment with aripiprazole, make sure to let your doctor know if you have 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
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Impulse-control disorder
  • Addictive behavior

Aripiprazole may induce suicidal thoughts in some people. Your family or other caregivers need to be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor needs to check your progress at regular visits.

The liquid variant (oral solution) of this drug may contain up to 15 grams of sugar per dose. Diabetic people should refrain from using aripiprazole’s oral solution.

Aripiprazole can also cause blood sugar (hyperglycemia) levels to increase. SO, check your blood sugar levels regularly while you are taking aripiprazole if you have diabetes.

The orally disintegrating tablet form of this drug may contain over 3 milligrams of phenylalanine per tablet. Let the doctor know if you have phenylketonuria before taking Abilify Discmelt.

Using the antipsychotic drugs in the last three months 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 your medicine during pregnancy. So, if you become pregnant, do not stop taking this medicine without seeking your doctor’s advice.

If you are pregnant, doctors may list your name on a pregnancy registry to track aripiprazole’s effect on the baby.

Consult your doctor about potential risks that can occur if you breastfeed while using this medicine.

How to take aripiprazole?

Take aripiprazole, specifically as prescribed by the doctor. Follow the directions on the prescription label and read all instruction sheets or medication guides. Your doctor might occasionally change the recommended dose to ensure you get the best result. However, try not to modify the dosage without consulting your doctor. Avoid consuming more than the recommended quantity 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 medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon) to measure the quantity accurately.

Remember the following when taking an orally disintegrating tablet form of this medicine:

  • Avoid taking out the pills from their packaging until you are ready to consume them.
  • Don’t swallow the whole tablet. Let the tablet dissolve in the mouth without chewing.
  • As the tablet dissolves, swallow several times.
  • Have a glass of water after the tablet dissolves completely.

Try not to stop using this medicine abruptly because suddenly stopping its consumption can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Consult your doctor on how to stop using this medicine safely.

Get your progress checked by your doctor regularly.

Store Aripiprazole at room temperature away from moisture and heat. You can use the Aripiprazole liquid for up to 6 months after opening, but not after the expiration date on the medicine label.

Aripiprazole dosage

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.

Agitated state

  • The typical dose is 9.75 mg IM once.
  • The maintenance dose is 5.25 to 15 mg IM once.
  • The maximum daily dose is 30mg taken once a 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

By consuming more than the recommended amount of aripiprazole, you may 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 or call the Poison helpline @ 1-800-222-1222.

What to avoid while using aripiprazole?

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 aripiprazole with alcohol can produce dangerous side effects.

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

Aripiprazole side effects

If you encounter signs of an allergic reaction to aripiprazole such as hives, swelling of your face, tongue, lips, or throat, difficulty breathing, then seek emergency medical help.

Immediately call your doctor if you have:

  • Distress, or restless feeling
  • Severe agitation
  • The mask-like appearance of the face, trouble swallowing, problems with speech
  • Twitching or uncontrollable movements of your lips, tongue, eyes, face, arms, or legs
  • Thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself
  • Seizure (convulsions)
  • Severe nervous system reaction – high fever, very stiff (rigid) muscles, confusion, sweating, tremors, fast heartbeats, feeling like you might pass out.
  • Low blood cell counts – fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores, skin sores, sore throat, cough, trouble breathing, feeling light-headed.
  • High blood sugar – dry mouth, increased thirst, fruity breath odor, increased urination.

You may experience an increase in sexual urges, unusual urges to gamble, or other intense cravings while taking this medicine. Talk with your doctor if this occurs.

Common aripiprazole side effects may include:

  • Uncontrolled muscle movements, anxiety, feeling restless.
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation
  • Increased appetite
  • Headache, dizziness, drowsiness, feeling tired.
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Stuffy nose, sore throat

The above is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur as well. Contact your doctor for medical advice about possible side effects. Consider reporting the side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What drugs can interact with aripiprazole?

Aripiprazole can interact with several other drugs, and different interactions can result in varying side effects. Some medications can increase aripiprazole’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.

You may ask your doctor or pharmacist questions about drug interactions that may affect you.

Interactions that increase side effects:

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

Interactions that makes aripiprazole less effective

  • Anti-seizure medications – phenytoin or carbamazepine

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