Abilify or aripiprazole is a well-known drug used to treat certain mental or mood disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or Tourette’s syndrome.
Its efficacy on aggressive behavior and severe mood swings is quite high and along with other medications, serves as a treatment to major depressive disorder in adults and strong symptoms of autism.
This drug is not approved in psychotic conditions related to dementia for it may cause sudden death or pneumonia in adults with dementia. Also there is evidence of depression and suicidal thoughts in some individuals while taking the drug, therefore this medicine need to be taken with extreme caution and control.
Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert. This medication may impair reactions as a suppressor of the nervous system.
There is evidence of toxicity causing possible teratogenic effects on the fetus with the use of this drug, during the first trimesters of pregnancy, so it is not highly recommendable to use it. Also, there have been cases of hypertonia, hypotonia, respiratory distress, feeding problems and other complications in babies exposed to this type of drugs. They vary in severity. While some are treatable, others are really chronic. As usual, it’ll always depend on your doctor’s orders.
This drug should ONLY be used during pregnancy if the potential benefits justify the potential risks to the fetus. Its use is also not recommended while breastfeeding a child. The effects in the nursing infant are currently unknown but it’s absolutely better, not to take any risks in these regards. So here comes an important decision to make: a) to discontinue breast-feeding or b) to discontinue the drug, (it’s important to consider how important the use of the drug is to the mother according to her condition in general)
You need to have in mind that some side effects may not need medical attention. In fact, as your body adjusts to the drug while you’re on treatment, it’s totally normal to have some side effects that may eventually go away. However, if they continue or get worse, you should consult with doctor.
Some common side effects:
Serious side effects:
If any of these signs occur, stop using Abilify immediately and call your doctor.
Low blood cells causing fatigue, fever, sudden weakness, etc.
Suicidal thoughts and self-harm
Severe muscle stiffness
Uncontrolled movements of the arms and legs
Tightness in the chest
The recommended dose to start with ABILIFY is: 10 or 15 mg administered once-a-day with or without food. However, dosage varies according to a person’s medical condition, response to treatment, age, and other medications used at the time.
It’s vital for you to follow your doctor’s instructions strictly and carefully, telling him or her, as well, about all the products you’re currently using (prescription drugs, other types of drugs, and herbal products). Mixing them could be fatal, that’s why you need to be very careful.
The medicine is available on many handy presentations such as: pills, tablets and oral solutions. There’s also an injection for intramuscular use only. Of course, doses vary on its presentation as well. It’s not the same when it’s a shot than when it is a pill. Always ask your doctor for more information on these topics.
It takes some time before the drug starts to have its effect on the body, for that reason, dosage increase should generally not be made before 2 weeks, giving time to the body to adjust and achieve stability to proceed. Please, do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve; in fact it may only get worse.
Don’t stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Nevertheless, your dose may need to be gradually decreased, if that’s the case, do it gradually, abrupt change could also lead to risky side effects and unnecessary problems.
Take it as soon as you remember but skip it if it’s almost time to take your scheduled dose again. Do not take extra medicine to make up for the forgotten dose.
The symptoms of overdose may include:
irregular heartbeat or pulse
loss of strength
In case of suspected overdose, contact the emergency room right away.