Abilify (aripiprazole) is an atypical antipsychotic. It stabilizes dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain to help control your thoughts and affect mood.
While it's not clear how Saphris (asenapine) helps to treat bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, it changes the amount of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, two chemicals that are known to regulate mood.
› Abilify (aripiprazole) can make you gain weight, which can also increase your blood sugar and cholesterol. If you're at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholestetrol, talk to your doctor how to lower your risk.
› People on medicines like Saphris (asenapine) have had weight gain and higher blood sugar to the point of having diabetes. Your doctor will work with you to stop that from happening.
Upsides and benefits
› Effective at relieving psychotic symptoms and manic episodes.
› More energizing than other antipsychotics.
› Fewer side effects than other antipsychotics.
› Studies show that it can also be helpful for depression, especially in women, if your symptoms don't go away with an antidepressant alone.
› Available as a generic, which is cheaper.
› Saphris (asenapine) can be used to treat bipolar disorder in children age 10 or older, and schizophrenia in children age 12 or older.
› You don't need water to take Saphris (asenapine); the pill dissolves in your mouth right away.
› Compared to other medicines, the side effects of Saphris (asenapine) are milder.
Downsides and risks
› Mild risk of extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS), a movement disorder that includes stiffness, tremor, restlessness, and slow, repetitive, or involuntary movements.
› You might need routine blood tests to check how the medicine is affecting your body.
› All antipsychotics come with side effects that make them difficult to take. You might need to try a few different medicines until you find the one that works for you and that you can tolerate.
› Saphris (asenapine) is only available as a brand name.
› Compared to other medicines, Saphris (asenapine) can cause changes in your hormones and make you sleepy.
› You have to take Saphris (asenapine) twice a day, which can be hard to remember.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
› Takes 4 to 6 weeks to see full effects on thoughts and mood.
› Makes you energized. Take in the morning to avoid difficulty sleeping.
› For the first week, avoid activities that require you to be alert.
› May increase cholesterol or blood sugar.
› Report any unusual thoughts, inability to control muscle movements, or fever and excess sweating to your doctor.
› Available in pills that you take daily, and as a monthly injection.
› To take Saphris (asenapine), place the pill under your tongue and let it dissolve completely. Don't chew or swallow the pill, and don't eat or drink for 10 minutes after you take it.
› You might feel numbness or tingling in your mouth or throat after you take Saphris (asenapine). This usually goes away after an hour.
› Don't drive or do anything requiring concentration until you know how Saphris (asenapine) affects you.
› Don't stop taking Saphris (asenapine) suddenly without talking to your doctor first because it can be very dangerous.
› If you miss a dose of Saphris (asenapine), take it as soon as you remember, unless it’s time for your next dose; don't take 2 doses at the same time.
› Keep Saphris (asenapine) in your pantry away from heat, moisture, and light. Don't store it in your bathroom's medicine cabinet.