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Abilify

(a-BILL-ih-fye)

For the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar 1 disorder, major depressive disorder, children with autistic disorder, and Tourette’s disorder

Disclaimer

The content on this page is not medical advice and should be used for informational purposes only. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage are right for you.

Last updatedJuly 27, 2021

Abilify

Abilify is an atypical antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia. It is also used to treat mania and bipolar 1 disorder.

Abilify may also be taken to manage irritability in children with autistic disorder.

It is also used to treat Tourette’s disorder.

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Generic name

Aripiprazole
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Rx or OTC

Available by prescription only

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Black box warning

Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs like Abilify are at an increased risk of death.  Abilify is not approved for the treatment of dementia symptoms.

Children, adolescents, and young adults taking Abilify may have an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior.

People of all ages should be monitored closely for new or worsening suicidal thinking and behavior while taking Abilify, especially when first starting treatment.

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When & How

  • Take once a day, with or without food.
  • Take Abilify at about the same time every day.
  • If you are taking Abilify in a tablet form, swallow whole without dividing, crushing, or chewing.
  • If you are taking a tablet that dissolves, place it on your tongue; it will dissolve without liquid.
  • Your dosage will depend on the condition being treated.
  • A lower dosage may be used when first starting Abilify, followed by increasing the dose gradually.
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Do’s

  • If you are taking a tablet with a sensor to track whether you’re taking the drug as prescribed (especially important for people with schizophrenia), you will need to wear a sensored patch and download an app to your smartphone. When the app prompts you, apply the patch to the left side of your body, above the lower edge of your ribcage.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next dose (do not double your regular dose).
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Don’ts

  • Do not stop taking Abilify without talking to your doctor; it may take 2 weeks or longer before you notice a change in symptoms.
  • Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how Abilify affects you, as it may cause drowsiness.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking Abilify, as it can increase the drowsiness that may be caused by Abilify.
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Discuss with your doctor

  • If you are allergic to Abilify or any other medication
  • Any nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, or herbal products you are currently taking, especially St. John’s wort
  • If you have ever had to stop taking a medication for mental illness because of severe side effects
  • If you develop intense or compulsive urges while taking Abilify, such as intense urges to shop, eat, have sex, or gamble
  • If you or anyone in your family has a history of substance abuse or compulsive behaviors
  • If you have diabetes or develop symptoms of diabetes while taking Abilify, such as extreme thirst, extreme hunger, frequent urination, blurred vision, or weakness
  • About assessing your risk of falls before starting Abilify, and when taking for a long time
  • If you have phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • If you are pregnant, especially if you are in the last few months of pregnancy; call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking Abilify.
  • If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the surgeon or dentist that you are taking Abilify.
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What is Abilify?

Abilify is an atypical antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia. It is also taken to manage symptoms of other conditions, including manic symptoms in patients with bipolar 1 disorder, symptoms of depression, irritability in children with autistic disorder, and symptoms of Tourette’s disorder.

Abilify helps balance levels of dopamine and serotonin, two brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that affect thinking, mood, and behavior.

It may be prescribed along with antidepressant medication when symptoms are not controlled with the antidepressant alone.

Unlike other antipsychotic medications, atypical antipsychotics like Abilify are less likely to cause side effects that impact muscle control.

Abilify is available by prescription only.

Abilify dosages
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Tablets and liquids

  • Tablets: 2 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg
  • Orally disintegrating tablets: 10 mg and 15 mg
  • Oral solution: 1 mg/mL

Similar drugs to Abilify

  • Clozaril (clozapine)
  • Geodon (ziprasidone)
  • Invega (paliperidone)
  • Risperdal (risperidone)
  • Seroquel (quetiapine)
  • Zyprexa (olanzapine)

Side effects

Disclaimer

Medications may affect individuals differently. Usage of any medication may include side effects and other interactions. Here is a list of known common side effects and interactions. This list is not exhaustive -- there may be other side effects or interactions for this medication that are not listed here. In some cases, the likelihood of side effects or interactions may increase depending on dosage. It’s important to keep in mind that in extreme cases, other serious side effects, even death, may occur. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage is right for you.

Headache

27% of people experience headaches

Agitation

19% of people experience agitation

Insomnia

18% of people experience insomnia

Anxiety

17% of people experience anxiety

Nausea and vomiting

15% of people experience nausea and vomiting

Lightheadedness

11% of people experience lightheadedness

Constipation

11% of people experience constipation

Akathisia (restless movement disorder)

10% of people experience akathisia (restless movement disorder)

Dizziness

10% of people experience dizziness

Dyspepsia

9% of people experience dyspepsia

Weight gain

8% of people experience weight gain

Fatigue

6% of people experience fatigue

Restlessness

6% of people experience restlessness

Tremor

6% of people experience tremor

Somnolence (sleepiness)

5% of people experience somnolence (sleepiness)

Dry mouth

5% of people experience dry mouth

Extrapyramidal disorder (movement disorder)

5% of people experience extrapyramidal disorder (movement disorder)

Full list of side effects

Blood and lymphatic

  • Thrombocytopenia

Cardiac

  • Bradycardia, palpitations
  • Atrial flutter, cardio-respiratory arrest, atrioventricular block, atrial fibrillation, angina pectoris, myocardial ischemia, myocardial infarction, cardiopulmonary failure

Vision

  • Blurred vision
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Diplopia (double vision)

Gastrointestinal

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dyspepsia
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

General

  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Dry mouth
  • Cough
  • Pain
  • Myalgia
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Asthenia (weakness or lack of energy)
  • Peripheral edema (swelling)
  • Chest pain
  • Face edema

Liver

  • Hepatitis
  • Jaundice

Injury, poisoning

  • Fall
  • Heat stroke

Metabolic

  • Weight gain
  • Anorexia
  • Hypokalemia
  • Hyponatremia
  • Hypoglycemia

Musculoskeletal

  • Muscle weakness, stiffness, or tightness
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Decreased mobility

Nervous system

  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Akathisia
  • Somnolence
  • Tremor
  • Extrapyramidal disorder
  • Parkinsonism
  • Memory impairment
  • Cogwheel rigidity
  • Hypokinesia
  • Bradykinesia
  • Akinesia
  • Myoclonus
  • Abnormal coordination
  • Speech disorder
  • Grand Mal convulsion

Long-term complications

  • May increase the risk of diabetes; people with schizophrenia already have an increased risk of diabetes.
  • May cause weight gain, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides
  • May result in a condition called tardive dyskinesia that causes involuntary movements; this syndrome may be irreversible even after a person stops taking the drug.

Safety notes

  • Atypical antipsychotics like Abilify have been associated with metabolic changes, including hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), high lipid levels, and weight gain.
  • May cause diabetes. Call your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms of diabetes.
  • May cause compulsive symptoms including intense urges to shop, eat, have sex, or gamble. Tell your family or friends about the possibility of compulsive symptoms, as they may notice these before you do.
  • Be careful with vigorous exercise or exposure to extreme heat, as Abilify can make it harder for your body to cool down.
  • Abilify may cause side effects that increase your risk of falls.
  • There’s a rare risk of potentially fatal neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) from taking Abilify or other atypical antipsychotics.

What else you should know

  • Abilify may help control symptoms but will not cure your condition. Continue to take Abilify even when you feel better.
  • Abilify may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting if you get up too quickly from lying down, especially when you first start taking it. To help stop this from happening when getting out of bed, sit up for a minute before standing.

Abilify interactions

Disclaimer

Medications may affect individuals differently. Usage of any medication may include side effects and other interactions. Here is a list of known common side effects and interactions. This list is not exhaustive -- there may be other side effects or interactions for this medication that are not listed here. In some cases, the likelihood of side effects or interactions may increase depending on dosage. It’s important to keep in mind that in extreme cases, other serious side effects, even death, may occur. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage is right for you.

Tell your doctor if you are taking any of these medications or supplements

  • Taking certain drugs that affect the CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 metabolic pathways may change the action of Abilify or the other drugs that you are taking. Tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking during treatment, including over-the-counter medications.
  • Antihypertensive drugs
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Your doctor may want to adjust your dose of Abilify if you are taking certain drugs at the same time, or if you are known to metabolize drugs differently based on certain genetic traits.

Tell your doctor if you have any of these pre-existing conditions

  • Heart disease or stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy

Abilify pricing

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