Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Abilify

(Aripiprazole)

  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Injection
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Helps control your thoughts and mood.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our bottom line

Abilify (Aripiprazole) is good for treating psychosis and mania, and can help with depression. Less likely to cause side effects than any other antipsychotic, but has a risk of suicidal thoughts for people age 24 and younger.

Upsides

  • Effective at relieving psychotic symptoms and manic episodes. All antipsychotic medicines are about equally effective.
  • More energizing than other antipsychotics.
  • Fewer side effects than any other antipsychotics.
  • Least likely antipsychotic to cause weight gain.
  • Less likely to cause heart problems compared to some 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.
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Downsides

  • Mild risk of Extrapyramidal Symptoms (EPS): Movement disorders that include stiffness, tremor, restlessness, and slow, repetitive, or involuntary movements.
  • Can cause higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people age 24 and younger.
  • 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 one that works for you and that you can tolerate.

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What to expect when you take Abilify (Aripiprazole) for Schizophrenia

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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 worsen cholesterol or blood sugar.
  • Report any unusual thoughts, inability to control muscle movements, or fever and excess sweating to your doctor.
  • Elderly people with dementia shouldn't take it.
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Side effects for Abilify (Aripiprazole)

From clinical trials of Abilify / Pediatric schizophrenia (6 to 17 years old) 

  • DrowsinessDrowsiness16% for Abilify vs.4% for placebo
  • Extrapyramidal disorderExtrapyramidal disorder14% for Abilify vs.2% for placebo
  • HeadacheHeadache13% for Abilify vs.12% for placebo
  • FatigueFatigue10% for Abilify vs.2% for placebo
  • VomitingVomiting9% for Abilify vs.7% for placebo
  • Relaxation or sleepinessRelaxation or sleepiness8% for Abilify vs.1% for placebo
  • NauseaNausea8% for Abilify vs.4% for placebo
  • Increased appetiteIncreased appetite7% for Abilify vs.3% for placebo
  • Common coldCommon cold6% for Abilify vs.3% for placebo
  • RestlessnessRestlessness6% for Abilify vs.1% for placebo

Risks and Warnings for Abilify (Aripiprazole)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Elderly patients with dementia

    Older patients with dementia-related psychosis have a higher risk of death when treated with antipsychotic medications. Abilify (Aripiprazole) is not approved to treat dementia-related psychosis.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Abilify (Aripiprazole)

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The FDA category for this medication is C. It is advised that you: Weigh risks vs. benefits
Pregnancy
Alcohol
  • I found taking it in the late afternoon helps better than before bed. Also try your best to avoid alcohol, weed (or harder drugs) and cigarettes - from personal experience it all messes with your brain and make it less effective.
Food
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • Abilify (Aripiprazole) can increase your blood sugar and cholesterol. However, Abilify (Aripiprazole) is the least likely to raise your blood sugar and cholesterol compared to other antipsychotic medications. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
  • Abilify (Aripiprazole) can cause you to gain weight. Abilify (Aripiprazole) is the least likely to cause weight gain compared to other antipsychotic medications. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
  • It made me sleepy during the day, I think, due to blood sugar fluctuations. I would recommend being aware of the amount of sugar/simple carbs you eat. Fiber is a good thing, too--high fiber foods can help.
  • All it does is makes you sick to your stomach and not able to sleep. Then when I stop I find my food & drink are being laced with it. BEWARE THIS PHARMA COMPANY IS A BUNCH OF STALKERS! DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING FROM THEM!
Sex
  • At 5 mg made me compulsive and developed a gambling problem. It also made me lazy. I cut my dosage in half and the compulsiveness was easier to control. No sexual side effects that I've noticed. Which is great compared to otyer meds. It works great for me at this dosage.
  • Sexual side effects, agitated often (dreaded taking showers because I knew I'd have to stand still for more than a few minutes which is a weird thing to dread), sensitive to light, triggered manic type thoughts and actions. However people said I was noticeably happier and more agreeable.
Sleep
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • Makes you energized. Take in the morning to avoid difficulty sleeping.
  • Makes me feel sick to the stomach. It supposedly makes you energized but after taking it I am extremely tired and weak. I take it in the morning, but I can't sleep because of it, I wake up in every single hour.
  • Came off Olanzapine due to long term issues with weight gain. I certainly didn't feel hungry on Aripiprazole but I felt manic, couldn't sleep properly and symptoms of anxiety and paranoia came back.
  • Cyclothemia treatment - worked well at 3 mg w/o side effects doc upped to 5mg to treat attention and impulsiveness and caused me to be restless, unable to focus, brain spinning constantly, couldnt sleep without meds, felt like dying would be better than feeling like this. Going off with or without docs permission.
Weight
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • Least likely antipsychotic to cause weight gain.
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • Abilify (Aripiprazole) can cause you to gain weight. Abilify (Aripiprazole) is the least likely to cause weight gain compared to other antipsychotic medications. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
  • My brain felt great, but my body did not - experienced weight gain and severe constipation.
  • Came off Olanzapine due to long term issues with weight gain. I certainly didn't feel hungry on Aripiprazole but I felt manic, couldn't sleep properly and symptoms of anxiety and paranoia came back.
  • Rapid weight gain. So not worth it.