1 What is Abilify?

Brand: Abilify, Abilify Discmelt

Generic: Aripiprazole

Abilify is a typical type of anti-psychotic drug. It is used for the treatment of schizophrenia and agitations caused by other mood disorders.

It works by restoring the balance of certain chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters) and, hence decreases hallucinations. It helps in making thinking much clearer and more positive, makes one overcome nervousness and allows one to take an active part in one’s life. This drug can also be used for the treatment of mood swings.

It is strictly a prescription drug available in the form of a simple tablet or a slow disintegrating one and also in the form of solution. It can be given through oral and intramuscular route, the former being preferred in controlled patients while the latter is given to severe patients.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before starting Abilify, the risks of this medicine should be compared to the good it is supposed to do. This is the work of a doctor and a patient to discuss all the aspects of the drug in detail.

  • Detailed history of a patient is extremely important prior to any medical therapy and in this case, it is preferred that a drug be started after it. Allergies or any history of allergy to any drug, food, preservatives, dyes or animal products; history of drug usage, past medical or surgical procedure should also be kept in record to predict any drug interaction.
  • Physical examination should be done before starting this drug so that any physiological or pathological condition with which this drug may interfere may be ruled out.
  • Age specific assessment is necessary to maintain a safety profile. There is lack of enough studies done to prove its effects on children. The studies done on geriatric population reveals no additional side effects as compared to young adults. This medication should not be used to treat dementia or Alzheimer in elderly. There is no evidence to prove its safety or harm in pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.
  • Drug interactions may lead to serious side effects when multiple drugs are taken by a patient at one time. Aripiprazole is contraindicated for use with amifampridine, bepridil, cisapride, dronedarone, fluconazole, mesoridazine, metoclopramide, pimozide, piperaquine, posaconazole, saquinavir, sparfloxacin, terfenadine, thioridazine and ziprasidone. If any other anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, anti-biotic, sedative, anti-viral or hormonal medication is used with this drug, doctor may change dosage of one or the other. There are also some reported interactions due to grapefruit juice, tobacco and alcohol which one should know from the consulting doctor.
  • Other medical conditions, like blood vessel disease, dehydration, heart attack, stroke, history of heart failure or rhythm problems, low blood pressure, difficulty swallowing, depression, diabetes, family history of dyslipidemia or hyperglycemia or neuroleptic malignant syndrome or neutropenia and seizures should be reported to the doctor to decrease the risk of potential side effects.

3 Proper Usage

Abilify is a prescription drug for mental disorders which is only given by trained and certified professional health care workers. To use Abilify properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

The tablet form can be easily taken as other tablets while care has to be taken while taking the disintegrating tablet. Your hands should be dry before opening the packing of the disintegrating tablet.

4 Precautions to Take

In using Abilify, there are some precautions you must take. There are certain tips to maximize the benefits and reduce the side effects of this drug which include:

  • Regular visits to the doctor should be made to check the progress.
  • Blood and urine tests may be done to check any side effects.
  • Make sure that your hands are dry before opening the packing of a disintegrating tablet.
  • Chances of stroke in patients suffering from dementia increase. It is important to inform your doctor about any symptom related to dementia.
  • Diabetics must take extra care of their blood sugar level as this drug has the tendency to increase it.
  • The combination of certain drugs like alcohol, sedatives, anti-histamine, anti-allergic, pain killers etc with aripiprazole may prove to be harmful as they increase drowsiness and make one less alert.
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is characterized by seizures, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, high fever, high or low blood pressure, increased sweating, loss of bladder control, severe muscle stiffness, unusually pale skin and tiredness. It is important to consult your physician in case of any of these symptoms.
  • Consult the doctor if any serious problem is suspected.
  • Storage of drug in a dry environment at room temperature. Keep it away from the reach of children.

5 Potential Side Effects

Make sure you meet with your doctor while using Abilify to avoid unwanted potential side effects.

Common side effects include: difficulty speaking, drooling, loss of balance, muscle trembling, stiffness, restlessness, shuffling gait, twisting movements of the body and uncontrolled movements of the face, neck, and back.

There are also some less common side effects like:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Inability to move the eyes
  • Increased blinking
  • Nervousness
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Unusual facial expressions
  • Convulsions
  • Sudden loss of consciousness
  • Uncontrolled chewing movements
  • Pale skin
  • Hives or welts
  • Itching or swelling of the eyelids

6 Related Clinical Trials