Abilify (Aripiprazole)

(℞) Prescription Required

    Abilify (Aripiprazole) Dosage and Side Effects

    ABILIFY is used to treat psychotic conditions, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  It may also be used to treat major depression in adults and agitation in children with autism.

    Proper Use of this medication

    ABILIFY must be taken exactly as directed by your doctor and pharmacist. Your dosage may change depending on your response to the medication. 

    Schizophrenia:

    Usual adult dose:

    • 10 mg or 15 mg once a day, without regard to meals.  However, your doctor may prescribe a lower or higher dose to a maximum of 30 mg once a day.

    Usual adolescent (15-17 years of age) dose:

    • 10 mg once a day, without regard to meals. At the start of treatment, your doctor will prescribe a lower daily dose (2 mg) and will increase the dose to 5 mg once a day after 2 days and to the target dose of 10 mg once a day after 2 additional days. Depending on how well you respond and tolerate the 10 mg dose, your doctor may prescribe a lower or higher dose, to a maximum of 30 mg once a day.

    Manic or Mixed Episodes in Bipolar I Disorder:

    Usual adult dose:

    • 15 mg once a day, without regard to meals.  However, your doctor may increase the dose to 30 mg once a day.

    Usual adolescent (13-17 years of age) dose:

    • 10 mg once a day, without regard to meals. At the start of treatment, your doctor may prescribe a lower daily dose (2 mg once a day) and may increase the dose to 5 mg once a day after 2 days and to the target dose of 10 mg once a day after at least 2 additional days. Depending on how well you respond and tolerate the 10 mg dose, your doctor may prescribe a lower or higher dose, to a maximum of 30 mg once a day.

    The maximum dose should not exceed 30 mg once a day.

    Depression:

    Usual adult dose:

    • 2-5 mg once a day taken with the antidepressant you are already taking.  Depending on your reaction to the initial dose your doctor may alter the dosage to a maximum of 15 mg a day.
    • take ABILIFY at the same time each day- with/without food.

    Do not change or discontinue the daily dose of ABILIFY without first consulting your doctor. Although ABILIFY cannot cure your condition, it can help relieve your symptoms.

    Do not give ABILIFY to anyone else.

    ABILIFY is not for use in children under 13 years of age for the treatment of manic or mixed episodes in bipolar I disorder, or for use in children under the age of 15 years for the treatment of schizophrenia.

    Side Effects

    The most common side effects of ABILIFY are:

    • feeling of restlessness (akathisia)
    • drowsiness
    • shaking (tremors)
    • abnormal movements
    • nausea, vomiting, upset stomach
    • dizziness
    • constipation
    • headaches
    • insomnia
    • anxiety
    • weight gain
    • increase in the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood (hyperglycemia). Symptoms are: feeling thirsty/hungry, frequent urges to urinate, feeling weak or tired, nausea, feeling confused, & fruity smelling breath.
    • decrease in the amount of white blood cells.
    • difficulty swallowing, which may lead to aspiration and choking.
    • decreased blood pressure. Symptoms can include: lightheadedness or fainting when rising too quickly from a sitting or lying position.
    • hypersexuality (uncontrollable and/or inappropriate sexual behaviour of severity or duration that causes distress).
    • an urge to gamble.
    • increased sleepiness/drowsiness- avoid driving a car or operating machinery

    Your doctor may require frequent blood tests to monitor your blood sugar, cholesterol, and white cell counts.

    Warnings and Precautions

    Do not use ABILIFY:

    • for children with Bipolar 1 Disorder under 13 yrs of age
    • children with schizophrenia under 15 yrs of age

    BEFORE you use ABILIFY talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you:

    • are taking any other medicines (prescriptions or over the counter medicines).
    • are pregnant, think you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not take ABILIFY if you are pregnant unless you have discussed this with your doctor.
    • are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed. Breast-feeding mothers should not take ABILIFY.
    • have high blood sugar or a family history of diabetes.
    • have a low white blood cell count.
    • have ever had blackouts or seizures.
    • have involuntary, irregular muscle movements, especially in the face.
    • suffer from heart disease or have a family history of heart disease, stroke or “mini” stroke.
    • have a history of any problems with the way your heart beats or if you are taking any medicines that may have an impact on the way your heart beats.
    • suffer from abnormal (high) blood pressure or have rapid heart beat and a drop in blood pressure when getting up.
    • are an elderly patient suffering from dementia (loss of memory and other mental abilities), you or your carer/relative should tell your doctor if you have ever had a stroke or “mini” stroke.
    • have risk factors for developing blood clots such as: a family history of blood clots, age over 65, smoking, obesity, recent major surgery (such as hip or knee replacement), immobility due to air travel or other reason, take oral contraceptives (“The Pill”).
    • exercise vigorously or work in hot, sunny places.
    • drink alcoholic beverages or use recreational drugs.
    • have ever abused drugs.
    • suffer from lactose intolerance or have hereditary galactose intolerance or glucose-galactose malabsorption, because ABILIFY tablets contain lactose.

    Other Warnings & Precautions:

    • thoughts of suicide may increase
    • effects on newborns:  seek medical attention if newborn has difficulty breathing, overly sleepy, has muscle stiffness/or floppy, is shaking or having difficulty feeding.

    Interactions with this medication

    Notify your doctor & pharmacist of all the prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking.

    Your doctor may need to change your dose of ABILIFY, if you are taking the following: (these medicines may lead to higher concentrations of aripiprazole in your blood).

    • ketoconazole (antifungal),
    • quinidine (antiarrhythmic);
    • paroxetine (antidepressant)
    • fluoxetine (antidepressant)
    • carbamazepine - (it may lead to lower concentrations of aripiprazole in your blood, making ABILIFY less effective).
    • any blood pressure medications
    • effects of alcohol could be made worse while taking ABILIFY-recommended that you do not drink alcohol while taking ABILIFY.

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    The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.