How Long Does it Take for Vraylar to Work?

How Long Does it Take for Vraylar to Work?

In this blog post, we will answer the question, “How long does it take for Vraylar to work?” We will explore the common and adverse side effects of Vraylar. Finally, we will know more important details of the drug, including its usage and workings.

Vraylar (generic name, cariprazine) is an atypical antipsychotic medication that is commonly prescribed for schizophrenia. It is also used to treat bipolar mania and bipolar depression.

Before proceeding, keep in mind that you must keep your physician informed of how your body and mind react to the medication for the first several weeks. It may take a few weeks to notice any visible differences. The physician will then assess if Vraylar is ideal for you. 

How Long Does it Take Vraylar to Work?

Schizophrenia

It typically takes somewhere between a week or two for some symptoms of schizophrenia to improve and two and three months for Vraylar to be completely effective. 

It typically takes a week or two for psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking to get better, and sometimes, they may not entirely vanish; and

It may take around the same time (a week or two) for motivation levels to rise as well as the urge to be in the presence of others.

Remember that symptoms are likely to improve with time as long as you are consuming the drug as recommended. 

Bipolar disorder

For manic episodes, it can take up to 3 weeks for patients to feel any improvement in their symptoms.

On the other hand, for depressive episodes, it may take a month and a half for patients to notice changes in their symptoms. Moreover, they are gaining traction as they do not entail the danger of a shift to mania, hypomania, or rapid cycling, which is yet to be seen even in conventional antidepressants.  

Common Side Effects of Vraylar

Several side effects have been reported, some of which include:

Sleepiness or drowsiness

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Restlessness (also known as akathisia)
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Movement retardation
  • Digestive issues
  • Constipation 
  • Involuntary movements, like twitching or jolting
  • Increased salivary production

Typically, a majority of these side-effects disappear within a few weeks. However, if they remain or are of severe intensity, consult your physician at once.

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Adverse Side Effects of Vraylar

There are rare yet adverse side effects associated with Vraylar. Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following. Some of the adverse side effects include:

  • Issues related to body temperature regulation, usually in heat or while performing physical activity. There may be:
    • Dryness of the skin
    • Heatstroke
    • An absence of sweat
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome, which is an uncommon and adverse reaction to antipsychotic medications. You may experience symptoms like:
    • Rapid breathing
    • Confusion
    • Drowsiness
    • Fever
    • Palpitations 
    • Muscle stiffness
  • Seizures, the symptoms of which could be:
    • Unconsciousness followed by confusion
    • Uncontrollable muscle spasms
    • Falling 
  • Orthostatic hypotension (i.e., blood pressure lowers while attempting to get up), symptoms of which can be:
    • Fainting
    • Dizziness or light-headedness when getting up 
  • Allergic reactions
  • Problems with swallowing
  • A higher probability of fatality in older populations owing to dementia
  • Tardive dyskinesia (body spasms that occur after a long period of consumption of the drug)
  • Ideations or attempts of suicide

In the case of suicidal ideations or attempts, immediately contact your physician or reach out to your national helpline. Find the hotline of your region at www.suicide.org.  

Important Information About Vraylar

Generic Name

Cariprazine 

Drug Class

  • Vraylar is an atypical antipsychotic and is an antagonist or a partial agonist at the dopamine receptor;
  • It is also known as a third-generation antipsychotic and is a prospective mood stabilizer.

Used to Treat

  • Schizophrenia
  • Mania 
  • Bipolar depression
  • Maintenance of bipolar disorder
  • Treatment-resistant depression
  • Disorders related to impulse control
  • Behavioral issues in children and adults
  • Dementia-related behavioral issues

Dosage

The typically recommended dosage includes:

Schizophrenia: 1.5-6 mg q.d. (i.e., once a day)

Mania: 3-6 mg q.d.

The drug can be consumed with or without food. It has a long half-life (i.e., stays in your blood for an extended period). Therefore, missing a dose or two might not be as dangerous as in other antipsychotic drugs. Overdose is unlikely with this medication.

Non-Addictive

Vraylar is non-addictive, and there is an unlikely chance of the drug being exploited. Therefore, it is not a controlled substance. Controlled substances are restricted by specific regulations for their prescription. Vraylar does not carry risks of misuse or addiction. 

Effectiveness

This drug is beneficial for the treatment of schizophrenia. It is also used for treating bipolar disorder and its associated manic and depressive episodes. 

Generic

Vraylar is unavailable in generic form and is sold as a brand-name drug. Generic drugs are less expensive and are designed to be exact in terms of dosage, safety, means of consumption, and the like as the brand-name drug. 

Instructions for Consumption

  • You must consume the drug as recommended by your physician. Consult your physician for any queries.
  • The prescribed dosage is typically based on the severity of the condition and response to treatment. If you are on any other medication, including prescribed drugs, herbs, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs, convey it to your doctor as this also determines the dosage. 
  • Do not take more than the advised amount as a higher dosage does not improve your symptoms faster. Moreover, the risk of side-effects increases with a dose more than the recommended one.
  • You must inform the doctor every time you need a refill. 
  • Your physician might advise beginning this drug at a low dose and gradually increase the amount to minimize side-effects and associated risks.
  • After several weeks, if your condition has not improved, tell your doctor immediately. They will either increase the dose or change the drug altogether. 

How It Works

Patients with schizophrenia are known to have dopamine abnormalities.

Vraylar is a partial agonist at the dopamine 2 (D2) receptor, which implies that this drug typically decreases dopamine levels when it is present in high amounts, and hence, improving positive symptoms like hallucinations and delusions.

On the other hand, it increases dopamine when it is found at low levels, which improves negative symptoms.  

The drug helps bring back the balance of specific neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. It decreases hallucinations, provides better clarity in thoughts, decreases agitation, and boosts motivation, activity, and self-esteem. 

Termination

Although not much literature exists on this matter, it is recommended that the drug be tapered, especially in cases where a new antipsychotic is to be started.

With that said, because of its long half-life, the drug may be stopped abruptly.  

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Conclusion

In this blog guide, we learned the answer to “How long does it take for Vraylar to work?” We understood the typical and severe side effects of the drug. Lastly, we outlined some crucial information regarding the medication.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How Long Does it Take for Vraylar to Work?

When is it ideal for taking Vraylar during the day?

Vraylar can be consumed at any time during the day. However, individuals report that taking Vraylar at a specific time of the day aids in the management of particular side-effects. For example, consuming Vraylar during the morning hours is shown to help those individuals who undergo agitation or restlessness due to the drug. 

Does Vraylar cause weight loss?

No, Vraylar does not cause weight loss. Your physician is bound to monitor your weight while you’re on the drug, and if you notice any weight gain, consult with your doctor. 

What is Vraylar used to treat?

Vraylar is commonly used to treat schizophrenia and sometimes bipolar disorder. It belongs to the class of atypical antipsychotic medications. You may experience side-effects, such as:

  • Drowsiness
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Fatigue 
  • Agitation 
  • Weight gain
  • Dizziness

Can Vraylar cause weight gain?

Yes, Vraylar can cause weight gain, as reported by clinical studies. The researchers found that individuals with schizophrenia who were on this medication gained, on average, more than 2 pounds in a span of 6 weeks. The group that received the placebo gained less than 1 pound.  

What are the common signs of bipolar disorder?

The common signs of bipolar disorder include one or more episodes of mania or hypomania. Manic behavior can manifest as: 

  • An uneasy mood, which commonly feels pleasant initially after a depressive episode but turns erratic afterward;
  • Anger; 
  • Feel on edge;
  • Impulsive and risky behaviors because of clouded judgment;
  • Sleep disturbances; and
  • A flight of ideas or racing thoughts along, which makes you change topics rapidly or want to multitask

What is the half-life of Vraylar?

The half-life (the duration of a drug to decrease by half in the blood) of Vraylar is around three weeks, which is a lengthy period.

Does Vraylar cause drowsiness?

Vraylar can cause drowsiness. In clinical studies of patients with bipolar disorder, more than 6% of the participants on the medication reported sleepiness as opposed to 4% of the participants given a placebo. 

How is Vraylar rated as a drug?

Vraylar is rated a 5.8 on ten on average by users treated for bipolar disorder. Almost half of the 226 reviewers gave positive feedback, while 35% gave negative ones.  

How is Vraylar different from Abilify?

Abilify is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). On the other hand, Vraylar is commonly used only for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  

Can you consume alcohol while on Vraylar?

No, you should not consume alcohol while on Vraylar, as it can result in adverse consequences. There may be increased drowsiness and fatigue if you drink alcohol while taking Vraylar. 

Is there a difference between bipolar I and bipolar II disorder?

Bipolar I disorder is known to entail intense episodes of depression and mania, while bipolar II disorder entails less severe bouts of hypomania and major depression.

How can you manage weight gain while consuming antipsychotic medications?

You can manage weight by consuming antipsychotic medications that have a lower probability of weight gain. Along with this, you need to lead a relatively healthy lifestyle and can also take an adjunct like topiramate and metformin. These factors can help manage weight induced by antipsychotics.     

Is there a medication for bipolar disorder that leads to weight loss?

Yes, topiramate typically leads to weight loss in those individuals consuming it for bipolar disorder. The drug is used as an adjunct to other medications in people with mood disorders. 

What are the risk factors for developing bipolar disorder?

There are several risk factors for developing bipolar disorder, including:

  • A family history of bipolar disorder
  • Extreme stress or exposure to a traumatic event, like the death of a close one
  • Abuse of alcohol or other drugs

Is Vraylar useful for depression?

Vraylar is used to treat depressive episodes in people with bipolar disorder. 

References

https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/long-vraylar-cariprazine-work-3547877/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/vraylar#generic

http://cdn.neiglobal.com/content/pg/live/cariprazine.pdf

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Ananya Ramesh is a mental health professional with a master's degree in clinical psychology. She has unconditional passion and sincerity toward working with psychologically distressed populations, specifically young adults and middle-aged people. Apart from this, she takes an abundant interest in producing and refining content related to mental health, psychology, and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Outside of work, she enjoys reading and sketches portraits.