Drug FAQs » Bipolar Medication » Abilify QA

Abilify QA

A: Abilify is used mainly to treat episodes of mania, but can also be used long term to stabilize mood if you have bipolar disorder

Q: My 15 year old daughter was just prescribed Abilify, how safe is it for her to take?
My daughter has been hearing voices and seeing a little girl that isn’t there. Her psychiatrist prescribed Abilify to help with the psycosis (sp?). He is giving her 2.5 mg every other day for seven days, 2.5 mg daily for seven days and then 5 mg daily after that. I am interested in hearing from anyone who has taken or is taking this drug. I haven’t started giving it to her yet. I just wanted to get all the facts before I do.

A: Her psychiatrist’s RX looks OK to me, in my opinion, which is that of being on Abilify myself for 2 years, but I’m an adult. It is very effective for my psychotic tendencies (I’m bipolar) and in 15 years of different meds, it’s had no side effects for me personally. The dosage looks good too, very low to begin, and slowly increasing. 5mg is low but given her age and weight, sounds right to me. I worked in a pharmacy for 10 years too and this sounds appropriate. But any questions you harbor should be directed to the doctor and/or pharmacist.

Q: How many hours of sleep minimum do you need when taking Abilify?
I have been taking it for about six nights now and throughout the day I feel a combination of tired and hyper. And I hate it. And its supposed to help me concentrate but it seems to do the oppoite. Any suggestions?

A: I average about 6 hours of sleep on Abilify and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I started taking it 3 years ago and have had no side affects at all. I go to sleep at 11 and get up at 5:00 AM during the week. And I have lots of energy. I sleep longer on the weekends.

I suggest you give it a month before switching medications. Give it time to get in your system. It could be that it’s not for you. My doctor said you shouldn’t have any side affects at all with Abilify.

When I can’t concentrate, I take 1mg of Adavan. It helps me focus on one thing at a time, as I tend to be rather hyper at times.

Good Luck!!…..)(

Q: How soon will my Abilify kick in?
So, I was just put on Abilify, 2mg, to help shake this depression that will not go away. I start taking it tomorrow. Does anyone know how long it might take until I can feel a difference? Do you know if it has any side affects? Thanks guys.

A: When it comes to side effects, you should ask the dr. or pharmacist. They can be different with everyone. Just call your Dr. if anything odd comes up. That’s always the best thing to do. Some side effects go away after a few days or a couple weeks.

Q: Should I take this Abilify my friend is recommending?
I mentioned to my friend that I was having trouble sleeping, and she offered a few of her Abilify (A010 20). I’m not sure if I should take it. Any advice?
Apparently Abilify is not made as a sleep aid, but it knocks her out.

A: No, I wouldn’t. Abilify is for bipolar disorder. Not to mention, you don’t have a prescription for it. I have severe bipolar disorder, and have been on it, and it made me sleep all the time. Not just at night, and it will mess with your moods if you don’t have a mood disorder. So no, I definately wouldn’t do it. They have over the counter sleep aids at Walgreens if you want to go that route.

Q: What is abilify dose that made you gain weight?
I take it with Antidepressant and i am worried of weight gain. I am on the lowest dose, but still i am so worried. Please tell me your experience.

A: I was on Abilify for an unexplained psychotic issue (don’t worry, it is for several things). It did not make me gain weight. I think it is a very gentle but effective drug.
Hope this helps and you get better.

Q: Why do you need to avoid overheating while taking Abilify?
the info on abilify in Reader’s digest said that.

A: “Avoid exposure to extreme heat. Antipsychotics can upset your body’s temperature regulating mechanism, making you more prone to heat stroke.”
I’m on Seroquel XR and have the same warning.

Q: my friend is experiencing some weird symptoms since starting abilify? i was wondering if anyone could help?
he started on the 8th of february.
the medication is abilify.
since past monday he has been feeling a tightening in his legs.

any thoughts on what this is or if you need more information, please let me know.

A: Yes, one of the adverse reactions (side effects) of Abilify, and all antipsychotics, is that it can cause a problem called Neuropathic malignant syndome. NMS is characterized by fever, cardiac problems (irregular pulse), and muscle rigidity.

He should always review negative reactions with a doctor as soon as they are noticed, especially with antipsychotics since suicide is a major, and not that rare, side effect of those drugs.

P.S. Drugs to help with neurological disorders should never have a “give it some time” answer. While it may take some time to take effect, if there are negative reactions, unless otherwise advised by a doctor, you need to go back ASAP.

Q: What is a med related to abilify but doesnt have the same thing in it. I am allergic to abilify but it did wor?
I am on my second day of seroquel and I dont like the feelings and thoughts im having.It increased my OCD thoughts.

A: I was never put on Ambilify, cos I’m too nervous.
I LOVED Seroquel. Some people hate it, and talk about being overly sedated… That’s when the dose is way too high.

I took 25mg( the smallest pill, I think) 2-3 times a day, and 50 at bedtime.
Give it a week or two, before you judge it, it’s kind of slow to kick in, but it IS wonderful. I had slept for the 1st time, in amost a yr, when I went on it.
I have a GAD( general anxiety disorder with some occasional panic.
And although I am not Bi Polar, I must say it kept my mood wonderful.

The only kinda weird thing it did to me….. after a month or so on it, I would find myself thinking about celebrities, just before dropping off to sleep.

I’m off it now and sometimes miss it.
I was on 2mg of Lexapro as well.

The both made me eat-everything. and 4 the 1st time in my life, I am now sitting here, 20-25lbs, over Weight.
It’s all in my stomach, I look pregnant.

In my questions tonight, u will read I have no appetite and THAT is really weird for me,

Really try the Saeroquel, BUT if not, try Gabapentin300mg3x a day,or a little more if u want. Neurontin( gabapentin) will never hurt ya. I was on it while gettting off Lex a Seroquel.
Abd my doc says I can take it anytime to calm me,

Another suggestion I have, it take the Seroquel, and Neurontin together.

Also, some people hate zypexa or geodon, but Geodon is not a weight gainer, and some patients like it very much.

Q: What would happen to somebody who stopped taking Abilify, Klonopin and Lexapro?
What would the side effects be? If somebody suddenly stopped taking one or all of these pills after a while, what kind of side effects would occur?

A: Klonipin is a benzodiazepine and abrupt withdrawal may cause restlessness, tremors, sweating, GI symptoms (nausea/vomiting) cramps, even seizures.

Lexapro is a serotonin re uptake inhibitor, stopping this med suddenly can cause severe headaches, lethargy, anxiety, confusion, possibly also nausea and vomiting…

Stopping abilify abruptly may cause insomnia, possibly some similar symptoms.

Also, whatever you are taking these meds for will most likely get worse: i.e. If you are taking abilify for bipolar disorder, abrupt withdraw may cause hypomania or mania, withdrawal of lexapro will probably cause depression to return, and withdrawal of klonipin most likely will cause a return of anxiety and/or panic attacks.

I recommend talking to a doctor if you want to get off your meds, some of these withdrawal symptoms are very serious. The doctor will help you taper off safely.

Q: Does Abilify make you want to run around your house alot?
Sitting isnt an option anymore. I go crazy if I sit too long in one spot. Anyone on Abilify going through this like me?

A: This is probably a side effect of the Abilify. I’ve had this. It’s a medical term called akathisia. There are medications that can help with this. Two that I know of are Cogentin and Artane.

Another option (if it keeps symptoms under control) is reducing the dosage of the Abilify. But like I mentioned, you have to be careful not to reduce the dose to where it causes symptoms to return.

I hope I’ve been of some help and I wish you best of luck. I’ll provide some links about akathisia in the sources so you can read up on it. I think that’s what it might be.

Of course I’m no medical professional so speak with the doctor first about it before adjusting your medications. Best of luck.

Q: Does Abilify work, especially in conjunction with Celexa?
Is Abilify all hype, or does it actually work?

A: I am sure that Cassie meant well, but my experience is different. I suffer from major depression and antidepressants alone were not providing any relief.

At a low dose, Abilify is used to boost the effectiveness of an antidepressant. At a higher dose, it is used for schizophrenia, and at an even higher dose, it is used for bipolar disorder.

I attend a support group for people with depression and bipolar disorder. One of the first things I learned is that a psychiatric med that is wonderful for one person may not work at all for someone else.

Abilify and Lamictal have helped me when many antidepressants failed. (Lamictal is usually used for bipolar disorder.) Unfortunately, finding the correct med or combination of meds is sometimes a matter of trial and error.

So Abilify has helped me (in combination with Lamictal), but there is no guarantee how it will affect you. I suggest starting it at a small dose and watching out for unpleasant side effects.

By the way, this is what the Mayo Clinic has to say about the use of off label meds: “Off-label use of drugs or medical devices isn’t unusual. By some estimates, more than one out of every five drugs prescribed in the United States is for off-label use. Don’t be alarmed. It’s usually safe and effective to use drugs or medical devices off-label.”

Q: How much does Abilify cost monthly without if you don’t have health insurance?
Here is the wikipedia info if anyone was wondering what it is. Thanks for any help I get.

A: Check out www.drugstore.com. Abilify ranges from $373 to $508 depending on how many milligrams you take.

Q: if i titrate up slowly on abilify will that stave off akathisia?
iv taken abilify before so i know that akathisia is going to be a problem. im looking for the best way to avoid akathisia without getting all the cognitive side effects from beta blockers, benzos and anti-cholinergics.

A: Well I don’t know if this would ward off akathisia but the slowest route you can go (and I know you may not need the highest dose (30mg) of abilify but want to use that as an eg.) but if you were to titrate up using the pills, here’s the slowest way you can do it that I’m aware of.

1mg – split 2mg pills in half.
2mg
2.5mg – split 5mg pills in half
4mg – taking 2 2mg pills
5mg
6mg – 3 2mg pills
7mg – 5mg + 2mg pill
7.5 mg – splitting a 15mg pill (or 1 5mg pills and 1/2 a 5mg pill)
10mg – can’t figure out how to more slowly go from 7.5 to 10
– Then after that I think it’s mainly up to the doctor to titrate the dose as slow as it can go –
But pill wise it’s 15mg, 20mg, and then 30mg.

I hope this helps out a little and I wish you the best of luck.

Remember that it doesn’t hurt if you need to take a benzo, anticholenergic or beta blocker during the initial adjustment period if you must. You can always attempt at a taper off of it when everything stabilizes.

Good Luck,
Andy

Q: Has anybody had bad side effects with abilify?
Abilify gives me a loose bladder. I want to get off it, but my psychiatrist thinks I should stay on since there’s no other medication really that is acceptable.

A: If I was you. I mean it I’d tell Dr. find something else it’s not worth it. Abilify and myself don’t and I mean don’t get along. It made my skin crawl to the point I was screaming. I was trying to take off the skin on my arms. I ended up getting a shot of some type of reverse for side affects. Don’t let your doc tell you that. Have you tried serquel???? That has been the greatest thing since lithum. They use it as a catch all but I swear by it.
I hope this helps!!!!

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