Aripiprazole side effects (A brief guide)

In this brief guide, we will review and examine the medical use of aripiprazole, types of presentation, side effects and safety information.

Aripiprazole side effects

The most common side effects of aripiprazole include anxiety, nausea, dizziness, insomnia, vomiting, and constipation.

In addition, other known side effects worth mentioning are basal ganglia disease, lethargy, tremor, limb pain, fatigue, drowsiness, and urinary incontinence.

Other less common side effects include but are not limited to blurred vision, headaches, inability to move the eyes, increased blinking or spasms of the eyelid, pounding in the ears, sticking out the tongue, trouble with breathing or swallowing. 

IMPORTANT: If you experience muscle stiffness, fever, severe tiredness, sweating, severe confusion, irregular or fast heartbeats or dark urine you should seek urgent medical assistance. 

If you know or suspect someone has overdosed (has enlarged pupils, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, vomiting, and increased light sensitivity) has trouble breathing or is passing out act immediately by calling emergency services.

Medical use of Aripiprazole

Aripiprazole (Abilify, Abilify Maintena) is a second-generation antipsychotic (newer), that when compared to the first-generation antipsychotics (older), cause fewer sexual side effects and less severe neuromuscular problems.

Also, some of the benefits of taking aripiprazole are decreasing hallucinations, improving concentration, agitation resulting in a significant improvement in the quality of life of the consumer 

This type of medication can only be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional and can be indicated for the treatment of certain psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depression, Tourette’s syndrome and irritability associated with autistic disorder. 

Additionally, it is important that before you start getting treated with aripiprazole, your doctor should have full access to your entire medical history (including family-related conditions) especially if you know you have any of the following medical conditions:

  • Problems with blood flow in the brain: such as cerebrovascular diseases or if you have had a stroke.
  • Heart problems: such as low blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart failure or irregular heartbeat.
  • Nervous system conditions: such as dementia, NMS or seizures.
  • Obesity.
  • Low white blood cell count.
  • Swallowing problems.
  • Sleep apnea: breathing difficulties while you are sleeping.

How to take Aripiprazole

It is recommended to read the patient information leaflet that comes in the box (see the Warning section) and ask any questions you might have to your doctor or pharmacist before taking aripiprazole.

This medication is usually taken once daily by mouth with or without having eaten.

However, there is also a liquid form, where it is important to carefully measure to ensure you are taking the appropriate dosage. 

The dosage will depend on how you respond to the treatment, your age, medical condition and also if you are taking other medications.

Even though, taking the medicine will make you feel better is important to keep taking it until your doctor indicates you should.

​Brand names and dosage

  • Abilify

Tablets: 2 mg, 5mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg

  • Abilify Maintena

Extended-release injectable suspension: 300 mg, 400 mg

  • Aristada Initio (aripiprazole lauroxil)

Extended-release injectable suspension: 675 mg

  • Aristada (aripiprazole lauroxil)

Extended-release injectable suspension: 441 mg, 662 mg, 882 mg

  • Generic name: aripiprazole, aripiprazole lauroxil 

Interaction with other drugs or substances

Higher risk of side effects

Aripiprazole side effects can increase when interacting with other chemicals such as:

  • Ketoconazole or itraconazole (antifungal drugs).
  • Antidepressants such as fluoxetine or paroxetine.
  • Quinidine.

Loss of treatment effectivity

When combined or taken simultaneously with certain drugs, it can reduce the effectiveness to treat your condition.

An example of these drugs are:

  • Anti-seizure medications such as phenytoin or carbamazepine.

Important considerations when taking aripiprazole

General considerations:

  • You can take the drug with or without food.
  • Make sure you take it at the times indicated by your physician.
  • You are allowed to cut/crush the oral tablet or the orally disintegrated table but you cant cut/crush or chew the oral tablet with sensor.
  • Avoid getting overheated or dehydrated (low fluid levels) while taking this drug. Aripiprazole can make it harder for your body to maintain a normal temperature. This can make your temperature rise too high.
  • Ideally, try to keep your medicine at room temperature and in a closed container to avoid exposing it to heat or moisture. 

If you missed a dose…

If you miss a dose, try taking it as soon as possible but if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose, do not take two pills and take the next one as scheduled and 

Aripiprazole and pregnancy

If you are planning to get pregnant or you suspect you are, notify your doctor so he/she can advise you and let you know about the possible risks. 

Why is knowing about aripiprazole side effects important?

It is extremely important to be aware of the side effects of aripiprazole, especially if you are taking them or know someone that does. 

Consequently, being aware of the signs and symptoms can potentially help to avoid unnecessary problems or even save your life or someone else’s. 

Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)

Is Abilify dangerous?

Abilify has been considered dangerous by many users and has caused several lawsuits.

Allegedly, consumers have indicated it causes compulsive behaviors (such as gambling) as well as deadly side effects 

Does Abilify affect you sexually?

Abilify has been reported by consumers to affect you sexually by diminishing your libido, causing erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, arousal difficulties, and absent or delayed sexual release.

What is the most common side effect of Abilify?

The most common side effect of Abilify in adults (in clinical trials (≥10%)) have been reported as nausea, constipation, dizziness, headaches, anxiety, vomiting, akathisia, difficulties when trying to sleep and restlessness.

What does aripiprazole do to the brain?

What Aripiprazole does to the brain is to balance dopamine and serotonin levels deriving in a major improvement in your mood, thinking, and other behavioral symptoms.

Can Abilify worsen anxiety?

Abilify can worsen your anxiety if taking the wrong way without following your doctor’s instructions.

They usually recommend that users with a mood disorder taking other drugs should begin using aripiprazole in lower doses and stay monitored for the possible presence of symptoms like increased anxiety, akathisia or suicidal thoughts.

If those symptoms appear, they could ask you to discontinue using this drug.

Recommended reading

  1. Understanding Abilify (aripiprazole): An Easy-to-Read Guide to Uses, Side Effects, Withdrawal, and More
  2. Focus On: Neurophysiology: Electroencephalography, Aripiprazole, Thalamus, Rapid eye movement Sleep, Neuroplasticity, Electromyography, Synapse, Brainstem, … magnetic Stimulation, Axon, etc.
  3. Aripiprazole Lauroxil; Complete Self-Assessment Guide
  4. ABILIFY (Aripiprazole): Treatments of Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Irritability associated with Autism
  5. Aripiprazole; Complete Self-Assessment Guide

References

Antipsychotics A-Z

Drugs.com

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Mayo Clinic

Web MD

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