What is this medication?
Second Generation (Atypical) Antipsychotic
Aripiprazole/Abilify is officially indicated for acute manic or mixed episodes in bipolar disorder, adjunct for treatment resistant major depressive disorder, or schizophrenia. It may also be prescribed off-label for use in acute severe agitation or aggression, delusional disorder, delusional infestation, Huntington disease-associated chorea, or treatment resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder. (may be used for other conditions not listed)
“ALERT: US Boxed Warning
Increased mortality in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis:
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Aripiprazole is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis.
Suicidality and antidepressant drugs:
Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies. These studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with antidepressant use in patients older than 24 years of age; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressant use in patients 65 years of age and older. Closely monitor all antidepressant-treated patients for clinical worsening and for the emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Advise families and caregivers of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. The safety and efficacy of aripiprazole tablets with sensor have not been established in pediatric patients.”
How does this medication work?
Aripiprazole/Abilify is a quinolinone antipsychotic that binds various neurotransmitter receptors in the brain such as serotonin (5-HT1A, 5-HT2A, 5-HT2C, 5-HT7), dopamine (D2, D3, D4), histamine (H1), and adrenergic (Alpha1). Does not affect cholinergic receptors. Has mixed effects at the various receptors (inhibits some and activates others). Brains response to altered chemistry results in desired effects.
How should I take this medication?
Oral: 2- 30mg once daily depending on what condition it is used for and patient response
How to Take: Follow instructions provided by physician/pharmacy label, take consistently at same times each day unless otherwise directed, store at room temperature.
You Need to Avoid: Operating heavy machinery or driving at least until you know how the medication affects you. Do not stop this medication suddenly, make sure your physician is aware and can create a tapering schedule so you can come off slowly and prevent any withdrawal symptoms. This medication has many drug interactions so ask your pharmacist before starting any over the counter medications or supplements.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Before starting Aripiprazole/Abilify make sure your physician is aware of any allergies or medications you currently take, if you have cardiovascular disease, Parkinson disease, dementia, a history of seizures or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Suicidal ideation is inherent with bipolar disorder or psychotic illness so caution must be used and any major changes in personality or mood should be reported to physician immediately.
This medication also required regular blood work and follow up with your physician to monitor for adverse reactions.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of medication, try to take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, take only that scheduled dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
How should I store this medication?
Keep out of the reach of children at all times. Store at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C). Protect from light. Keep the container tightly closed. Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.
What are the possible side effects of using this medication?
Decreased HDL (good cholesterol), hyperglycemia, increased LDL (bad cholesterol), weight gain, constipation, nausea, vomiting, agitation, akathisia, anxiety, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, headache, tremor, insomnia, withdrawal syndrome, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and extrapyramidal reaction (involuntary movement)
Note- this is not a complete list of side effects, only common ones and are generally dosage dependent. When higher doses are required the physician has weighed the risks and found the benefits to be greater, however regular monitoring (blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.) is important to make sure this does not change.
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