Can you augment Zoloft with Abilify? (3 research studies confirmed) 

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In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Can you augment Zoloft with Abilify?”. Zoloft (Sertraline) is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants and can be used for the management and treatment of mild to severe episodes of depression. 

However, in recent clinical practices, Abilify (Aripiprazole) can be paired with Zoloft to augment the effects of this antidepressant. This is all we are going to cover in this blog. 

Can you augment Zoloft with Abilify?

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Yes, you can augment Zoloft with Abilify, but only if recommended by your healthcare provider. Abilify and some other atypical antipsychotics are now used in clinical practices for the augmentation of antidepressants. 

This combination can work wonders for some people and can significantly help in the management and treatment of the major depressive disorder (MDD). However, you should always consult your healthcare provider for such matters. 

Although it can be beneficial for a huge number of people, only your doctor can determine if this combination is the best possible choice for your condition or not. Never start two or more medicines together without your doctor’s approval. 

What does research suggest? 

Several research studies have investigated the effects produced by the combined use of Zoloft and Abilify. A 2015 study investigated Abilify augmentation in the management of major depressive disorder (MDD). 

The study concluded that this has become a frequent practice in clinical settings and it provides promising results. This practice is more common in case of patients who do not respond properly to initial therapy with antidepressants. 

Even the strongest of antidepressants may not be adequate for the treatment of persistent depression and augmentation by Abilify can significantly help recover such patients. 

However, the study stated that more research is necessary to determine the exact and the most appropriate way of using Abilify and other atypical antipsychotics that can be used for the purpose of antidepressant augmentation. 

The study also revealed that the use of Abilify itself can be beneficial in the treatment and management of MDD as the drug does possess some antidepressant properties. 

There are other atypical antipsychotics as well that can be used for the purpose of augmentation, like Quetiapine, but not every atypical antipsychotic can be used. 

A 2011 study performed a clinical trial and included 41 patients in this study. The study design was based on the use of low-dose Abilify with the standard dose of Zoloft. All of the test participants were divided into two groups, 21 people in the Abilify group and 20 people in the placebo group. 

After four weeks, the data was observed, which showed significant differences in people in the Abilify group. Such people showed better therapeutic outcomes and their social activities increased, as compared to the placebo group. 

The study finally concluded that low-dose Abilify can indeed be used to augment the normal and standard dose of Zoloft. However, still researchers stated that they want more data to understand completely how to incorporate this idea in clinical settings. 

This is because some people dropped out of the study because of the occurrence of side effects. This indicates that the combination of Zoloft and Abilify may not work for everyone. Not every human body can tolerate Zoloft, let alone the combination of an antidepressant with antipsychotic medication. 

A 2018 double-blind study compared the effects of Abilify + Zoloft and Zoloft alone in the management and treatment of symptoms associated with major depressive disorder (MDD). 

The study planned to determine if the combination does hold enough clinical importance to be incorporated in practical clinical settings or not. 412 test participants were included in the study. 209 patients were included in the Abilify + Zoloft group, whereas 203 patients were included in the Zoloft placebo group. 

The results were compared. It was observed that the combination group of Abilify and Zoloft showed a far better antidepressant response as compared to the group that only received Zoloft. Patients in the former group were significantly improved and they tolerated the combination well. 

The study concluded that the only way of making this combination clinically applicable is to adjust the doses. When the doses are adjusted, the combination will become effective as well as safe for the people who can tolerate the two drugs at higher doses. 

When the placebo group was observed, the monotherapy with Zoloft was not enough for the treatment and management of MDD and the patients were not satisfied with the treatment. 

What are the benefits of augmenting Zoloft with Abilify? 

The augmentation of Zoloft with the help of Abilify can be quite beneficial in the following ways:

  • Faster onset of action of Zoloft 
  • Better management of MDD and PTSD
  • Lesser activating side effects of Zoloft

Faster onset of action of Zoloft 

One of the major benefits of using Abilify with Zoloft is the faster onset of action of this antidepressant. It is a known fact that antidepressants take time to work. No matter how severe your depression symptoms are, your antidepressant will take 4 to 6 weeks to kick in. 

After that, it starts to make changes in your system and help you recover from the symptoms. However, you may start to suffer from side effects, but the good part is bound to come in about a month and a half. With Abilify, this time period is reduced. 

This is because Abilify enhances the effects of Zoloft and other SSRIs. It makes them work quicker than these antidepressants normally do and you begin to notice differences in your mental health condition way earlier. 

This is why there has been so much research on the augmentation of Zoloft with the help of Abilify. The experts believed that this could be a clinical breakthrough and can significantly help those patients who suffer from a persistent type of depression or other mental illnesses that don’t respond well to antidepressant therapy alone. 

Better management of MDD and PTSD

As we have just discussed, Abilify itself can be beneficial in the treatment and management of MDD as the drug does possess some antidepressant properties, and it can be a good addition to the MDD treatment regimen. 

This is because MDD does not respond to monotherapy with antidepressants. Most doctors either increase the dose of the antidepressant or combine the two antidepressants together. Both of these treatment plans have complications of their own. 

There is a certain limit to which the dose of an antidepressant can be increased. These meds are not so easy to deal with, even at lower doses sometimes. This is why most people can not bear the higher doses, not without the occurrence of disturbing and unbearable side effects. 

As far as the combination of antidepressants is concerned, they do possess some risks too. Some of them possess the risk of serotonin syndrome, which occurs when there is too much serotonergic activity in your brain. 

Some can not be paired because of the way they work and the side effects they produce. This is why the addition of Abilify, an atypical antipsychotic, can significantly help reduce the use of two antidepressants together and just a low dose of Abilify can augment your antidepressant. 

Lesser activating side effects of Zoloft

Zoloft and some other antidepressants are known to cause side effects in the early course of their treatment. These side effects are pretty common and they occur irrespective of the initial dose. The most common ones are anxiety and sleep disturbances. 

The concomitant use of Abilify can help control these side effects by enhancing your sleep cycle and reducing early Zoloft-induced anxiety. If we closely look at it, there are a lot of benefits of this combination and the two can significantly help people with major depressive disorder (MDD). 

However, the only way to ensure a safe and effective therapeutic outcome is to use these meds properly. Improper usage and non-adjusted doses can not only result in therapeutic failure but can also exacerbate the symptoms associated with your MDD. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed the augmentation of Zoloft with Abilify. This could be a great combination, but you should only use it if prescribed by your healthcare provider. Abilify and some other atypical antipsychotics are now used in clinical practices for the augmentation of antidepressants. 

This combination can work wonders for some people and can significantly help in the management and treatment of the major depressive disorder (MDD). However, you should always consult your healthcare provider for such matters. 

The only way to ensure a safe and effective therapeutic outcome is to use these meds properly. Improper usage and non-adjusted doses can not only result in therapeutic failure but can also exacerbate the symptoms associated with your MDD. 

FAQs: Augmenting Zoloft with Abilify

Can Zoloft and Abilify be taken together?

Yes, you can take Zoloft and Abilify together, but only if prescribed by your healthcare provider. Abilify and some other atypical antipsychotics are now used in clinical practices for the augmentation of antidepressants. This combination can work wonders for some people and can significantly help in the management and treatment of the major depressive disorder (MDD). However, you should always consult your healthcare provider for such matters.

What antidepressant goes well with Abilify?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the common antidepressants which go well with Abilify and other atypical antipsychotics. The combination of these two is now quite frequently prescribed in clinical settings because of the added benefits. One of the major benefits of using Abilify with SSRIs is the faster onset of action of this antidepressant. The concomitant use can also be used in the management and treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Why is Abilify added to antidepressants?

Abilify is added for the augmentation of antidepressants. This practice is more common in case of patients who do not respond properly to initial therapy with antidepressants. Even the strongest of antidepressants may not be adequate for the treatment of persistent depression and augmentation by Abilify can significantly help recover such patients. However, more research is necessary to determine the best way to use them. 

Is Abilify better than Zoloft?

Abilify and Zoloft are two separate medications. Abilify is an atypical antipsychotic medication, whereas Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). However, both of them can be used for the management and treatment of depression. The combination of these two meds can significantly help people with major depressive disorder (MDD). 

References 

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