What is Abilify?
Abilify is the brand name for the generic drug Aripiprazole and is an antipsychotic medication that is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and irritability with autism by changing the way certain chemicals and hormones are created and transmitted in the brain.
This drug was developed by Otsuka, a Japanese Pharmaceutical Company. It's currently being marketed in the United States through a joint effort by Otsuka America and Bristol-Myers Squibb. It's other brand name is Aripiprex. Currently, there are no generic versions of Abilify as the market patent doesn't officially run out until around April 20th, 2015.
Abilify is available in 2mg, 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, and 50mg tablets, 10mg and 15mg orally disintegrating tablets, 1mg per 1mL oral solution, and 9.75mg per 1.3mL single dose vial for injection. It may be taken as a short-term measure or physicians may choose to prescribe the aripiprazole long-term if the benefits of the medication outweigh the risk of side effects of Abilify. Abilify should only be used in children after a complete history has been taken and as part of a total treatment plan.
Abilify is prescribed for four different purposes related to mental and emotional health. It's used as an additional treatment for adults with Major Depressive Disorder who aren't responding well to their other anti-depressants. It's used as a treatment for preventing or reducing manic or mixed episodes in adults and kids between the ages of 10 and 7 years who have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I. It's used in the treatment of Schizophrenia in adults and kids between the ages of 13 and 17 years old. Finally, Abilify is used to treat irritability in Autistic kids between the ages of 6 and 17 years old.
When aripiprazole is used in combination with other medications, it is approved to treat major depressive disorder in adults. Abilify is often prescribed to autistic children and adults because it has been shown to reduce the irritability that is often present with autism. Abilify works by changing the way certain chemicals are transmitted and used in the brain, often reducing psychotic episodes in schizophrenics and periods of mania in those suffering with bipolar disorder.
How Abilify Works
Abilify works by changing how natural chemicals act within the brain. It binds to brain receptors, preventing other molecules produced by the body from binding to those receptors.
However, Abilify is a partial agonist, meaning that it is only partially effective at binding to these receptors. It still allows some of the natural substances in the brain to activate receptors. Abilify can be used on its own to prevent overstimulation of the brain's receptors or it can be used with another drug to halt understimulation. When used with another medication, Abilify acts as competition, preventing these drugs from completely blocking the brain receptors.
Warnings and Precautions During Use
A special warning has been issued for patients with dementia as they have an increased risk of death on Abilify and also a higher risk for strokes and mini-strokes. People up to the age of 24 years who are suffering from depression should also be aware that they may have an increased risk of suicidal feelings and behavior when taking depression medication. This increased risk generally occurs when patients first start taking the drugs or when their doctors adjust the dosage. Patients of all ages should be alert to the possibility of this occurring. Contact your doctor immediately if suicidal feelings develop.
Other symptoms to be alert for include: depression returning or getting worse, anxiety, restlessness, panic attacks, insomnia, aggression, irritability, recklessness and mania.
When talking with your doctor about trying Abilify you should mention all other medications and supplements you are currently taking, even if it for a different ailment. Patients should also tell their doctor if they have heart disease, heart problems, problems with blood pressure, had strokes or seizures, low white blood cell count or problems swallowing. Tell the doctor if you have ever had to stop taking your medication because of a previous severe reaction. If you or your family has diabetes, also tell the doctor. Abilify does have sugar in it.
This medication can also make you dizzy, lightheaded, drowsy or make it difficult for your body to cool off when overheated.