Abilify is a brand-name prescription drug that’s used to treat certain mood disorders. Specifically, Abilify is approved to treat:

  • Schizophrenia. For schizophrenia, Abilify can be used in adults and children ages 13 years and older.
  • Manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder. For manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder, Abilify can be used in adults and children ages 10 years and older.
  • Major depressive disorder (MDD). For MDD, which is also simply called depression, Abilify can be used in adults. In this case, Abilify is used in combination with other medications. Abilify isn’t used alone to treat MDD.
  • Irritability that’s related to autism. For irritability that’s related to autism, Abilify can be used in children ages 6 years and older.
  • Tourette’s syndrome. For Tourette’s syndrome, Abilify can be used in children ages 6 years and older.

To learn more about Abilify’s approved uses, see the section “Abilify uses” below.

Abilify contains the active drug aripiprazole. It belongs to a class of medications called antipsychotics. (A class of medications describes a group of drugs that work in the same way.) Abilify comes as tablets that are taken by mouth.

Abilify and Abilify Maintena

Abilify and a medication called Abilify Maintena contain the same active drug: aripiprazole. But even though these medications contain the same active drug, they act slightly differently in your body.

Abilify Maintena is an extended-release form of Abilify. This means Abilify Maintena releases its active drug slowly, over time. Because of this, doses of Abilify Maintena only need to be taken once every 4 weeks. This is unlike the regular form of Abilify, which is typically taken once each day.

This article focuses on Abilify, not on Abilify Maintena. For more information about the similarities and differences between these two medications, see the section “Abilify vs. Abilify Maintena” below.

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of Abilify for its approved uses, see the section “Abilify uses” below.

Abilify contains the active drug aripiprazole, which is available as a generic medication. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. It’s considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

Unlike Abilify, generic aripiprazole isn’t approved for use in children. Also, Abilify comes as tablets that are swallowed by mouth. Aripiprazole, on the other hand, is available as:

  • oral tablets that are swallowed
  • oral disintegrating tablets that dissolve in your mouth
  • an oral solution

The approved uses of aripiprazole may depend on the dosage form that’s prescribed. Talk with your doctor about which dosage form is right for you based on the condition you’re treating.

Abilify can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Abilify. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Abilify, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you’ve had with Abilify, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects of Abilify can include:*

  • nausea, vomiting, or constipation
  • memory loss
  • headache
  • blurry vision or dizziness
  • upper respiratory infection, such as a cold
  • anxiety
  • feeling sleepy or having insomnia (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep)
  • restlessness or feeling like you need to move
  • rash
  • hair loss
  • sexual side effects, such as sexual urges or changes in libido

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Abilify. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or visit Abilify’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Abilify aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • Stroke in older people with psychosis (loss of touch with reality) that’s related to dementia (memory loss). Symptoms can include:
    • numbness or weakness on one side of your body
    • feeling confused
    • trouble walking
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (a rare but serious reaction to antipsychotic drugs). Symptoms can include:
    • high fever
    • rigid muscles
  • Changes in your metabolism, such as diabetes or high cholesterol. (Metabolism describes all of the chemical reactions that happen inside your body.) Symptoms can include:
    • feeling very thirsty or hungry
    • being confused
    • gaining weight
  • Feeling the urge to do unusual things or excessively do certain things. Symptoms can include:
    • binge eating
    • gambling
    • compulsive shopping
    • sexual urges
  • Decreased blood pressure when you’re standing up or sitting up, which can lead to falls. Symptoms can include:
    • dizziness
    • fainting
  • Decreased level of white blood cells or neutrophils (a specific type of white blood cell). Symptoms can include:
    • fever
    • infections that don’t go away
  • Impaired ability to think or move. Symptoms can include:
    • feeling tired
    • trouble thinking clearly
    • decreased motor skills
  • Problems with your body’s temperature control. Symptoms can include:
    • sweating
    • redness
  • Trouble swallowing. Symptoms can include:
    • pain when swallowing
    • feeling like food is stuck in your throat
    • heartburn
  • Extrapyramidal disorder (a movement disorder that’s caused by certain medications). Symptoms can include:
    • trouble speaking
    • anxiety
  • Allergic reaction.*
  • Movement disorders, such as tremors or tardive dyskinesia (TD).*
  • Increased risk of death in certain older people.†
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors in younger people.†

* For more information about these side effects of Abilify, see the section “Side effect details” below.
† For more information on these side effects, also see the section “Side effect details” below. In addition, Abilify has a boxed warning regarding these risks. A boxed warning is the strongest warning required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Side effects in children

Common side effects of Abilify seen in children using the drug include:

  • feeling sleepy
  • tremor (shaking)
  • fatigue (lack of energy)
  • nausea or vomiting
  • fever
  • feeling restless
  • blurry vision
  • dizziness
  • drooling or having more saliva than usual
  • changes in appetite
  • headache
  • stuffy nose
  • insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep)
  • weight gain
  • muscle stiffness

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug. Here’s some detail on several of the side effects this drug may cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Abilify. But it’s not known how many people had an allergic reaction to Abilify during clinical trials.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Abilify. But call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Weight gain

You may gain weight while you’re taking Abilify. However, this isn’t a very common side effect in adults taking the drug.

In clinical trials of Abilify, weight gain was reported in adults with schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder, and major depressive disorder (MDD). But weight gain wasn’t reported in any other groups of adults during the trials.

Specifically, in clinical trials, major weight gain was defined as an increase in body weight of at least 7%. Major weight gain was seen in:

  • 8% of adults taking Abilify for schizophrenia
  • 3% of adults taking placebo (treatment with no active drug) for schizophrenia
  • 2% of adults taking Abilify for bipolar mania
  • 3% of adults taking placebo for bipolar mania
  • 5% of adults taking Abilify with other medications for MDD
  • 1% of adults taking placebo with other medications for MDD

Weight gain also occurred in some children who took Abilify. For example, in clinical trials, children taking Abilify for any of its approved uses had major weight gain. This was defined as an increase in body weight of at least 7%. Major weight gain was reported in:

  • 5% of children taking Abilify for schizophrenia or bipolar mania
  • 2% of children taking placebo for schizophrenia or bipolar mania
  • 26% of children taking Abilify for irritability related to autism
  • 7% of children taking placebo for irritability related to autism
  • 20% of children taking Abilify with other medications for Tourette’s syndrome
  • 8% of children taking placebo with other medications for Tourette’s syndrome

If you have weight gain that’s bothersome to you while you’re taking Abilify, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to help you manage a body weight that’s healthy for you.

Insomnia or sleepiness

It’s possible to have sleepiness or insomnia while you’re taking Abilify. With insomnia, you’re unable to fall asleep or stay asleep. This condition may cause sleepiness during the hours that you’re awake.

If you or your child has insomnia or sleepiness after taking Abilify, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to help decrease this side effect.

Insomnia with Abilify

In clinical trials, insomnia occurred in:

No one taking Abilify for either Tourette’s syndrome or irritability that’s related to autism had insomnia.

Sleepiness and sedation with Abilify

During clinical trials, sleepiness and sedation were also common side effects in people taking Abilify. (With sedation, you have sleepiness, loss of coordination, and trouble thinking clearly.) These side effects may result from insomnia that’s caused by Abilify, which doesn’t allow people to sleep properly.

For example, in the trials:

  • 4% to 8% of adults taking Abilify had sedation
  • 2% to 4% of adults taking a placebo had sedation

Sedation was a very common side effect in children taking Abilify during clinical trials. For example:

  • 9% to 21% of children taking Abilify had sedation
  • 2% to 6% of children taking a placebo had sedation

Sexual side effects

You may have sexual side effects while you’re taking Abilify. For example, it’s possible to have sexual urges and either an increased or decreased level of libido (sex drive).

Changes in libido with Abilify

During clinical trials, people taking Abilify had both increased and decreased levels of libido. For example:

  • decreased libido occurred in 0.1% to 1% of people taking Abilify
  • increased libido was a rare side effect that occurred in less than 0.1% of people taking Abilify

But it’s not known how many people taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug) had changes in their libido.

If you have changes in libido while you’re taking Abilify, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to help you manage this side effect.

Sexual urges with Abilify

You may have compulsive behaviors, such as increased sexual urges, while you’re taking Abilify. Although it’s not very common, Abilify may cause hypersexuality (high libido) or compulsive sexual urges.

In clinical trials, it wasn’t reported how many people had compulsive sexual urges while taking Abilify.

If you notice that you’re having compulsive sexual urges, tell your doctor as soon as possible. In some cases, these urges can cause harm to yourself or others.

It’s possible that these urges may stop if your dosage of Abilify is decreased or if you stop taking the drug. So your doctor may decrease your dosage of Abilify or switch you to a different medication to help prevent these urges from happening.

Restlessness

Restlessness, which is also called akathisia, is a possible side effect of Abilify. With restlessness, you may feel like you need to constantly be moving. And you also might not be able to get comfortable.

In clinical trials, akathisia was reported in:

  • 10% to 25% of adults taking Abilify
  • 4% to 5% of adults taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug)

During clinical studies, children taking Abilify also had akathisia. For example, akathisia was reported in:

  • 6% to 10% of children taking Abilify
  • 2% to 4% of children taking a placebo

However, akathisia wasn’t a common side effect in children taking Abilify for either irritability related to autism or Tourette’s syndrome.

If you or your child feels restless while taking Abilify, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to help decrease this side effect.

Movement disorders, such as tremors or tardive dyskinesia

It’s possible to have movement disorders, such as tremors or tardive dyskinesia (TD), while you’re taking Abilify. These conditions are described below.

If you have any movement disorders while you’re taking Abilify, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to decrease your side effects. In some cases, your doctor may decrease your dosage of Abilify or have you stop taking the drug.

Tremors with Abilify

Tremors are involuntary, shaking movements. In clinical trials, tremors occurred in:

In clinical trials, tremors also occurred in 10% of children taking Abilify for irritability that’s related to autism. In comparison, no children taking a placebo for this condition reported tremors. And tremors weren’t a common side effect in children taking Abilify for Tourette’s syndrome.

Tardive dyskinesia with Abilify

TD is a movement disorder that occurs in some people taking antipsychotic medications, such as Abilify. Symptoms of TD include having uncontrollable movements and jerking of your face and jaw.

It wasn’t reported how many people taking Abilify in clinical trials had TD.

It’s possible that once you develop TD, the condition may be irreversible. However, after you’ve stopped taking an antipsychotic medication, TD may improve or go away.

TD most commonly develops in older people, but it can occur in people of any age. In addition, TD is thought to be more common with longer use of antipsychotic medications. Because of this, your doctor will prescribe antipsychotic medications, such as Abilify, for the shortest amount of time at the lowest possible dosage that controls your symptoms.

Nausea

Nausea is a common side effect of Abilify. In clinical trials of people with either bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, nausea occurred in:

  • 8% to 15% of adults taking Abilify by mouth
  • 5% to 11% of adults taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug) by mouth

But nausea wasn’t reported as a common side effect in people taking Abilify for major depressive disorder (MDD).

Children taking Abilify also had nausea during clinical trials. In these studies:

But nausea wasn’t a common side effect in children taking Abilify for irritability that’s related to autism.

If you or your child has nausea while taking Abilify, talk with your doctor. They’ll be able to recommend ways to help decrease your nausea.

Hair loss

Hair loss is a very rare side effect of Abilify. In fact, hair loss wasn’t a common side effect in clinical trials of people taking the drug for any of its approved uses. In the trials, hair loss occurred in 1% or less of people taking Abilify.

If you notice hair loss while you’re taking Abilify, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to help you manage your hair loss.

Increased risk of death in certain older people

Certain older people may have an increased risk of death when taking antipsychotic drugs, such as Abilify. Specifically, older people with psychosis that’s related to dementia (memory loss) have this increased risk with Abilify. (With psychosis, you lose touch with reality and may hear or see things that aren’t really there. You may also have hallucinations or delusions.)

In fact, Abilify has a boxed warning for this risk. Boxed warnings are the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Because of this increased risk of death, Abilify should not be used by this group of people. Abilify hasn’t specifically been studied in older people with psychosis that’s related to dementia. But Abilify is similar to other drugs that have caused this side effect. Also, because Abilify hasn’t been studied in this group of people, it’s not known if the drug is effective for use in them.

If you have any symptoms of psychosis that’s related to dementia and you’re taking Abilify, talk with your doctor right away. They can recommend appropriate treatment options for your condition.

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors in younger people

Abilify may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and adults ages 24 years and younger. In fact, Abilify has a boxed warning for this risk. Boxed warnings are the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

In clinical trials of adults taking Abilify, suicide did occur. However, the exact number of suicides that happened wasn’t reported. In the trials, there weren’t any suicides reported in children taking Abilify.

Anyone who takes Abilify may be monitored by their doctor for new or worsening depression and suicidal thoughts or behaviors. If you’re taking Abilify, your doctor may also recommend that your family members also watch for any changes in your mood.

If you’re having new or worsened depression, or feeling sad or anxious, call your doctor right away. But if you’re having thoughts of harming yourself, call 911 or your local emergency service.

The Abilify dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using Abilify to treat
  • your age
  • the form of Abilify you’re taking
  • other medical conditions you may have

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Abilify contains the active drug aripiprazole. It comes as tablets that are taken by mouth. And it’s available in the following strengths: 2 milligrams (mg), 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg.

Other forms of Ability were available in the past, but they’re no longer on the market. These forms included:

  • oral disintegrating tablets that dissolve inside your mouth
  • oral solution that’s swallowed
  • injectable solution that’s injected into your muscle

Dosage for depression

Abilify is approved as an adjunct treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD), which is also simply called depression. Adjunct treatments are used in combination with other drugs to treat a certain condition. As an adjunct treatment for MDD, Abilify is used with other drugs. It’s not used alone to treat MDD.

You’ll take Abilify in addition to other depression therapy. The typical starting dosage of Abilify for MDD is between 2 mg and 5 mg once each day. Then your dose will be increased by up to 5 mg each week until your depression symptoms are decreased.

The typical maintenance dosage range of Abilify for MDD is between 2 mg and 15 mg daily. For this use, the maximum daily dose of Abilify is 15 mg.

Dosage for manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder

Abilify is approved for use in adults with manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder.

For this condition, the typical starting dosage of Abilify in adults is 15 mg once daily. If you’re taking Abilify with either valproate or lithium, your doctor may recommend a starting dosage of Abilify of 10 mg to 15 mg once daily. (Valproate and lithium are other drugs used to treat bipolar disorder.)

The typical maintenance dosage of Abilify in adults with bipolar I disorder is 15 mg once daily. However, up to 30 mg of Abilify daily may be used in some cases. And this is the maximum daily dose of Abilify for this condition.

Keep in mind that if you’re taking lithium or valproate along with Abilify, the recommended dosages of Abilify are the same as those described above. (Lithium and valproate are other drugs used to treat bipolar disorder.)

For information on Abilify dosage in children with bipolar I disorder, see the section “Pediatric dosage” below.

Dosage for schizophrenia

For adults with schizophrenia, the starting dosage of Abilify for this condition is typically 10 mg to 15 mg once daily. After 2 weeks of treatment, if you’re still having symptoms of schizophrenia, your doctor may increase your daily dose of Abilify.

The typical maintenance dosage range of Abilify for schizophrenia is 10 mg to 30 mg daily. However, dosages of 10 mg to 15 mg daily seem to be the most effective for the condition. Dosages greater than 15 mg daily may not be more effective than those less than 15 mg daily. For schizophrenia, the maximum daily dose of Abilify is 30 mg.

For information on Abilify dosage in children with schizophrenia, see the section “Pediatric dosage” below.

Dosage for irritability related to autism

Abilify is approved for use in children ages 6 to 17 years old with irritability that’s related to autism.

For information on Abilify dosages in children with irritability related to autism, see the section “Pediatric dosage” below.

Dosage for Tourette’s syndrome

Abilify is approved for use in children ages 6 to 18 years old with Tourette’s syndrome.

For information on Abilify dosages in children with Tourette’s syndrome, see the section “Pediatric dosage” below.

Pediatric dosage

Below we describe Abilify dosages for children with certain conditions that the drug is approved to treat.

Dosage for schizophrenia in children

Abilify is approved for use in children ages 13 to 17 years old with schizophrenia.

The typical starting dosage of Abilify for this use is 2 mg once daily. Then after 2 days of treatment, the child’s doctor may increase the daily dose to 5 mg. After an additional 2 days, the doctor may increase the Abilify dose to 10 mg daily.

Doses between 10 mg and 30 mg have been studied in children. However, it seems that a dosage of 10 mg daily is just as effective as a dosage of 30 mg daily. Your child’s doctor will recommend a dosage of Abilify that’s right your child.

Dosage for bipolar I disorder in children

Abilify is approved for use in children ages 10 years to 17 years old with manic or mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder.

The typical starting dosage of Abilify for this use is 2 mg once daily. Then after 2 days of treatment, the child’s doctor may increase the daily dose to 5 mg. After an additional 2 days, their doctor may increase their Abilify dose to 10 mg daily.

If the doctor believes that your child needs a higher dose of Abilify, the dosage may be increased by 5 mg each day, up to a maximum of 30 mg daily. This increase in dosage is continued until your child’s symptoms of bipolar I disorder are decreased.

Keep in mind that if your child is taking lithium or valproate along with Abilify, the recommended dosages of Abilify are the same as those described above. (Lithium and valproate are other drugs used to treat bipolar disorder.)

Dosage for irritability related to autism in children

Abilify is approved for use in children ages 6 to 17 years old with irritability that’s related to autism.

The typical starting dosage of Abilify for this use is 2 mg once daily. Then the daily dose can be increased to 5 mg daily after at least 1 week. Following this, the daily dose can be increased to 10 mg to 15 mg daily. At least 1 week should pass between each dosage increase.

The typical maintenance dosage range of Abilify for this use is 5 mg to 15 mg daily.

Dosage for Tourette’s syndrome in children

Abilify is approved for use in children ages 6 to 18 years old with Tourette’s syndrome.

The starting dosage of Abilify for this use is based on the child’s body weight, as follows:

  • If your child weighs less than 50 kilograms (about 110 pounds), their starting dosage of Abilify will be 2 mg daily. Then after 2 days, their doctor will increase the dosage to 5 mg daily. If after 1 week your child is still having symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome, their doctor may increase the dose to 10 mg daily.
  • If your child weighs 50 kg (about 110 lb) or more, their starting dosage of Abilify will be 2 mg daily. Then after 2 days, their doctor will increase the dosage to 5 mg daily. After 5 days, your child’s dosage will be increased to 10 mg daily. If your child is still having symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome, their doctor may increase their dose to a maximum daily dose of 20 mg.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Abilify, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose, just skip the missed dose. Then take your next dose at the usual time. Never take two doses at once to make up for a missed dose.

If you have any questions about when to take your next dose of Abilify after a missed dose, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And to help make sure that you don’t miss a dose of the drug, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Abilify is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Abilify is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Abilify to treat certain conditions. Abilify may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Abilify contains the active drug aripiprazole. It belongs to a class of medications called antipsychotics. (A class of medications describes a group of drugs that work in the same way.)

Below, we describe Abilify’s approved uses in detail.

Abilify for depression

Abilify is approved for use as an adjunct treatment in adults with major depressive disorder (MDD). An adjunct treatment is used with other drugs for a specific condition. So as an adjunct treatment for MDD, Abilify is used with other drugs. It’s not used alone to treat MDD.

MDD, which is often simply called depression, is a serious disease that affects your mood and actions. People with MDD often feel sad or anxious. This condition may affect your daily life, and you possibly may not be able to eat or sleep like usual.

Other symptoms of depression include feeling hopeless and not having interest in activities that you used to enjoy. Some people with depression may even have suicidal thoughts or behaviors, which are serious and may be life threatening.

If you have new or worsening symptoms of depression, talk with your doctor right away. Your doctor can recommend treatment options, which may include Abilify.

Effectiveness for depression

In clinical trials, Abilify was effective in treating MDD. Two different studies compared MDD treatment with Abilify to that of a placebo (treatment with no active drug).

A scale called the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) was used to determine how severe people’s depression symptoms were. Test scores on this scale range from 0 to 60. Higher MADRS scores indicate worse depression symptoms than lower scores indicate.

The studies showed that:

  • people taking Abilify had their MADRS scores lowered by 8.49 to 8.78 points
  • people taking a placebo had their MADRS scores lowered by 5.65 to 5.77 points

Abilify for manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder

Abilify is approved to treat manic or mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder. For this use, Abilify can be given to adults and children ages 10 years and older.* For this condition, Abilify is approved for use on its own. It’s also approved for use in combination with either valproate or lithium. (Valproate and lithium are other drugs used to treat bipolar disorder.)

Bipolar disorder affects your brain and causes you to have changes in your mood and behavior. With bipolar I disorder, you may have manic episodes. During these episodes, you can feel energetic or extremely irritable. And your thoughts may be racing, making it difficult for you to concentrate.

It’s also possible to have mixed episodes with bipolar I disorder. During mixed episodes, you have manic symptoms and depression symptoms at the same time.

Symptoms of depression can include feeling sad or hopeless, or lacking interest in activities that you used to enjoy. Some people with depression may have suicidal thoughts or behaviors, which are serious and may be life threatening. With mixed episodes, you can have large changes in your mood.

* For more information on Abilify’s use and effectiveness in children with this condition, see the section below called “Abilify and children.”

Effectiveness for manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder

In clinical trials, Abilify was effective in treating manic and mixed episodes of bipolar I disorder. Below, we present some of the results of these studies.

Effectiveness of Abilify compared with a placebo

Four different studies looked at treatment with Abilify compared with that of a placebo (treatment with no active drug).

A scale called the Young Mania Rating Scale (Y-MRS) was used to determine how severe people’s mania symptoms were. Test scores on this scale range from 0 to 60. Higher Y-MRS scores indicate worse mania symptoms than lower scores indicate.

The studies showed that:

  • people taking Abilify had their Y-MRS score lowered by 8.15 to 12.64 points
  • people taking the placebo had their Y-MRS score lowered by 3.35 to 9.7 points

Effectiveness of Abilify plus other drugs compared with a placebo

A clinical trial also compared treatment with Abilify plus either lithium or valproate to that of a placebo plus either lithium or valproate. The Y-MRS scale was also used in this study to evaluate people’s symptoms of mania.

This trial showed that:

  • people taking Abilify with either lithium or valproate had their Y-MRS scores lowered by about 13.31 points
  • people taking a placebo with either lithium or valproate had their Y-MRS scores lowered by about 10.7 points.

Abilify for schizophrenia

Abilify is approved to treat schizophrenia in adults and children ages 13 years and older.* Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects how you think and behave.

Many different things can cause schizophrenia. These include genetics and changes in certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals).

Usually, schizophrenia begins to affect people during their teenage or young adult years. Symptoms of schizophrenia vary, but they can include:

  • Positive symptoms. These symptoms are thoughts or behaviors that happen in people with schizophrenia but that don’t happen in people without the disease. Examples of positive symptoms include hallucinations, unusual thoughts, and changes in body movements.
  • Negative symptoms. These symptoms also affect your behavior. They may cause you to have very little or no emotion. And you may also not want to talk as often as usual.
  • Symptoms that affect your memory and ability to think. These symptoms include having trouble paying attention, remembering things, and staying focused.

* For more information on Abilify’s use and effectiveness in children with this condition, see the section below called “Abilify and children.”

Effectiveness for schizophrenia

In clinical trials, Abilify was effective in treating schizophrenia. Four different studies looked at treatment with Abilify compared with that of a placebo (treatment with no active drug).

A scale called the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) was used to determine how severe people’s schizophrenia symptoms were. Test scores from this scale range from 30 to 210. Higher PANSS scores indicate worse schizophrenia symptoms than lower scores indicate.

These studies showed that:

  • people taking Abilify had their PANSS scores lowered by 8.2 to 15.5 points
  • people taking the placebo had their PANSS scores lowered by 2.3 to 5.3 points

Abilify for irritability related to autism

Abilify is approved to treat irritability related to autism in children ages 6 years and older. For information about this condition and Abilify’s effectiveness for it, see the section “Abilify and children” below.

Abilify for Tourette’s syndrome

Abilify is approved to treat Tourette’s syndrome in children ages 6 years and older. For information about this condition and Abilify’s effectiveness for it, see the section “Abilify and children” below.

Abilify for other conditions

In addition to the uses listed above, Abilify may be prescribed off-label for other uses. Off-label drug use is when a drug that’s approved for one use is used for a different one that’s not approved. And you may wonder if Abilify is used for certain other conditions. Below is information on other possible uses for Abilify.

Abilify for anxiety disorders (off-label use)

Abilify isn’t approved to treat anxiety disorders. But sometimes it’s used off-label to treat certain anxiety disorders.

Anxiety can refer to a range of conditions, which are explained in a bit more detail below. These conditions include:

Some studies have shown that Abilify may be a treatment option for certain people with anxiety. However, in some people, Abilify may actually cause symptoms of anxiety. So Abilify may not be right for everyone with anxiety.

It’s not known what the best dosage of Abilify for anxiety is. This is because the drug isn’t currently approved for this condition.

If you have anxiety, talk with your doctor about the best options for your condition.

Off-label use of Abilify for GAD

With GAD, you may feel restless or irritable. And you may have trouble falling or staying asleep.

One study looked at how well Abilify worked in people with GAD that hadn’t responded to other medications. This study showed that there may be a benefit from Abilify treatment in people with GAD.

Off-label use of Abilify for OCD

With OCD, you may have obsessions (repetitive thoughts that you can’t control). You may also have compulsions (repetitive actions).

For example, obsessions may include being afraid of germs or feeling that things need to be in a certain order. Examples of compulsions may include constantly cleaning or repeatedly checking to make sure the oven is turned off. These obsessions and compulsions from OCD can cause anxiety.

Abilify is sometimes used off-label to treat OCD that’s not responding to other treatments. These other treatments may include drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

In fact, one study showed that Abilify may help treat OCD when it’s taken along with an SSRI. So for this condition, your doctor may recommend that you take a low dose of Abilify along with an SSRI.

Off-label use of Abilify for PTSD

With PTSD, you’ve experienced a serious and traumatic event in the past. And that event may cause flashbacks and nightmares that lead to anxiety.

One review looked at information from people with PTSD who took Abilify. The review showed that Abilify may be an effective treatment option in people with PTSD.

For this use, Abilify may be used alone or with other medications for PTSD.

Abilify for sleep (under study)

Abilify isn’t approved to treat sleep disorders. But it’s currently being studied as a treatment to help people with trouble sleeping. Sleep disorders can affect people’s daily life because they’re tired from lack of sleep. For example, people with trouble sleeping may be unable to drive or focus on tasks.

One study showed that Abilify may help people with sleep disorders to fall asleep more quickly and to sleep better.

Another study looked at why Abilify may work for people with sleep disorders. Because Abilify can cause insomnia as a side effect, a dose of the medication during the day may help people stay awake. And this could cause them to feel tired at night and be able to sleep better.

If you’d like to know more about using Abilify to treat a sleep disorder, talk with your doctor. They can recommend appropriate treatment options for your condition.

Abilify for ADHD (under study)

Abilify isn’t approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But the drug is being studied for this use. With ADHD, you’re unable to pay attention. You may also have hyperactivity, which makes you unable to stay still. ADHD may also affect your ability to focus and learn.

A small 2016 study compared Abilify and risperidone (Risperdal) as treatments to help children with both autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and ADHD symptoms. The study showed that children with ASD and ADHD symptoms who took Abilify had a decrease in their ADHD symptoms.

Another study looked at people who had both ADHD and a mood disorder called disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD). DMDD causes irritability, moodiness, and temper tantrums. In this study, people took Abilify along with methylphenidate (Ritalin, Metadate). The study showed that this treatment reduced people’s ADHD symptoms, such as disruptive behavior and attention problems. The treatment also reduced people’s DMDD symptoms.

If you have questions about using Abilify to treat ADHD, talk with your doctor. They can recommend appropriate treatment options for your condition.

Abilify for psychosis (under study)

Abilify isn’t approved to treat psychosis, but it is being studied as a treatment for this condition. With psychosis, your thoughts are out of touch with what’s really happening. People with psychosis may have trouble figuring out what is real and what is imagined. Symptoms of psychosis include hallucinations and not making any sense when you’re speaking.

A review was done to see if Abilify may be a treatment option for people with psychosis. However, the review wasn’t able to determine whether Abilify was effective for this condition. Abilify is still being studied for use in people with psychosis. But a conclusion hasn’t been made about how well the drug works for psychosis.

If you have questions about using Abilify to treat psychosis, talk with your doctor. They can recommend appropriate treatment options for your condition.

Abilify and children

Abilify is approved for use in children with certain mental health conditions. Below, we describe the use of Abilify for these conditions.

Keep in mind that Abilify may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and young adults ages 24 and younger. (See the section “FDA warnings” above for more information.) Because of this risk, Abilify should be used cautiously in people ages 24 and younger.

Unlike adults, Abilify hasn’t been studied in children with major depressive disorder (MDD), which is often simply called depression. Because of this, it’s not known if the drug is safe or effective for use in children with MDD.

If you’d like to know about using Abilify in a child with MDD, talk with your doctor.

Abilify for schizophrenia in children

Abilify is approved to treat schizophrenia in adults and children ages 13 years and older. For information about this condition, see the section “Abilify for schizophrenia” above.

Effectiveness of Abilify in children with schizophrenia

In clinical trials, Abilify was effective in treating schizophrenia in children ages 13 and older. In a study, Abilify treatment was compared with that of a placebo (treatment with no active drug).

A scale called the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) was used to determine how severe schizophrenia symptoms were in the children. Test scores from this test range from 30 to 210. Higher scores indicate worse schizophrenia symptoms than lower scores indicate.

The study showed that:

  • children taking Abilify had their PANSS scores lowered by 26.7 to 28.6 points
  • children taking the placebo had their PANSS scores lowered by 21.2 points

Abilify for manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder in children

Abilify is approved to treat manic or mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder in children ages 10 years and older. For information about this condition, see the section “Abilify for manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder” above.

For this condition, Abilify is approved for use on its own. It’s also approved for use in combination with either valproate or lithium. (Valproate and lithium are other drugs used to treat bipolar disorder.)

Effectiveness of Abilify in children with bipolar I disorder

In clinical trials, Abilify was effective in treating manic and mixed episodes of bipolar I disorder in children. One study looked at Abilify treatment compared with that of a placebo (treatment with no active drug).

A scale called the Young Mania Rating Scale (Y-MRS) was used to determine how severe the children’s mania symptoms were. Test scores from this scale range from 0 to 60. Higher scores indicate worse mania symptoms than lower scores indicate.

The study showed that:

  • children taking Abilify had their Y-MRS scores lowered by 14.2 to 16.5 points*
  • children taking the placebo had their Y-MRS scores lowered by about 8.2 points

* These point decreases varied depending on the dose of Abilify the children were given.

Abilify for irritability associated with autism in children

Abilify is approved to treat irritability that’s related to autism. For this use, Abilify can be prescribed for children ages 6 years and older.

Autism is a disorder that affects a child’s behavior and ability to communicate. Autism symptoms vary across a spectrum. For example, some children with autism are able to function at a very high level, while other children with autism need more care. Autism is often diagnosed in children around the age of 2 years, when they may be having trouble with development.

Specifically, Abilify is used to treat irritability in children with autism. Irritability includes symptoms such as tantrums, injuring yourself, or having aggressive behaviors.

Effectiveness for irritability related to autism

In clinical trials, Abilify was effective in treating irritability that’s related to autism in children. Two different studies looked at Abilify treatment compared with that of a placebo (treatment with no active drug).

A scale called the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) was used to determine how severe the children’s irritability symptoms were. ABC test scores from this scale range from 0 to 174. But this study looked specifically at a subsection of the ABC that evaluates irritability, called the ABC-I. Higher ABC test scores indicate worse irritability symptoms than lower scores do.

The studies showed that:

  • children taking Abilify had their ABC-I scores lowered by 12.4 to 14.4 points
  • children taking the placebo had their ABC-I scores lowered by 5 to 8.4 points

Abilify for Tourette’s syndrome in children

Abilify is approved to treat Tourette’s syndrome in children ages 6 years and older. Tourette’s syndrome is a condition that affects your brain. It causes involuntary movements and sounds that happen repetitively. These movements and sounds are also called tics.

Examples of movement-related tics include repetitive eye blinking or head jerking. Examples of sound-related tics include those that affect speech, such as repeating things that other people are saying. In some cases, tics can be dangerous. In fact, sometimes tics may cause a person to hurt themselves.

Usually, Tourette’s syndrome begins in childhood. It often improves and may even disappear as people age into adulthood.

Effectiveness for Tourette’s syndrome

In clinical trials, Abilify was effective in treating Tourette’s syndrome in children. Two different studies looked at Abilify treatment compared with that of a placebo (treatment with no active drug).

A scale called the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) was used to determine the Total Tic Score (TTS). This score shows how severe a child’s tics are. The TTS scale ranges from 0 to 50. Higher TTS scores indicate worse tic symptoms than lower scores indicate.

The studies showed that:

  • children taking Abilify had their TTS scores lowered by 13.4 to 16.9 points
  • children taking the placebo had their TTS scores lowered by 7.1 to 9.6 points

For some of its approved uses, Abilify may be used in combination with other drugs. However, when treating major depressive disorder (MDD), Abilify is always used with other drugs. (MDD is also simply called depression.)

For MDD, Abilify is approved as an adjunct treatment. Adjunct treatments are used in combination with other drugs to treat certain conditions. So as an adjunct treatment for MDD, Abilify is only used with other drugs. It’s not used alone to treat MDD.

Below, we describe some of the drugs that may be used with Abilify. Your doctor will closely monitor you during treatment to watch for side effects from the drugs you’re taking. And they’ll also monitor how the medications are working to treat your condition.

During treatment, your doctor may increase or decrease doses of the medications you’re taking. Or your doctor may change your medication regimen altogether. Doing these things helps to ensure you’re getting the most benefit from your treatment.

If you have questions about using medications with Abilify, talk with your doctor. They can recommend an appropriate treatment plan for your condition.

Abilify with antidepressants

Your doctor may prescribe Abilify along with antidepressants to treat your condition. Some examples of antidepressants that may be taken with Abilify include:

Abilify with mood stabilizers

Your doctor may prescribe Abilify along with mood stabilizers to treat your condition. Some examples of mood stabilizers that may be taken with Abilify include:

  • lithium
  • divalproex (Depakote)
  • lamotrigine (Lamictal)

Abilify with stimulants

Your doctor may prescribe Abilify along with stimulants to treat your condition. Some examples of stimulants that may be taken with Abilify include:

  • lisdexamphetamine (Vyvanse)
  • mixed amphetamine salts (Adderall)
  • methylphenidate (Ritalin, Metadate)

Abilify with other antipsychotics

Your doctor may prescribe Abilify along with other antipsychotic drugs to treat your condition. Some examples of other antipsychotics that may be taken with Abilify include:

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Abilify, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed below are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Alternatives for depression

Examples of other drugs that may be used as adjunct treatment* for depression include:

* Adjunct treatments are used in combination with other drugs to treat certain conditions. Abilify is approved as an adjunct treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD), which is also simply called depression. This means that Abilify is only used with other drugs for MDD. It’s not used alone to treat MDD.

Alternatives for manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder include:

Alternatives for schizophrenia

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat schizophrenia include:

  • chlorpromazine
  • fluphenazine
  • haloperidol (Haldol)
  • asenapine (Saphris)
  • cariprazine (Vraylar)
  • clozapine (Clozaril)
  • olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • risperidone (Risperdal)
  • aripiprazole (Abilify Maintena)
  • paliperidone (Invega)
  • lithium

Alternatives for irritability related to autism

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat irritability that’s related to autism include:

  • risperidone (Risperdal)
  • clozapine (Clozaril)
  • haloperidol (Haldol)
  • sertraline (Zoloft)

Alternatives for Tourette’s syndrome

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat Tourette’s syndrome include:

You may wonder how Abilify compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Abilify and Abilify Maintena are alike and different.

Ingredients

Both Abilify and Abilify Maintena contain the same active drug: aripiprazole. But even though these medications contain the same active drug, they act slightly differently inside your body.

Abilify Maintena is an extended-release form of Abilify. This means Abilify Maintena releases its active drug slowly, over time. Because of this, doses of Abilify Maintena only need to be taken once every 4 weeks. This is unlike the regular form of Abilify, which is typically taken once each day.

Uses

Abilify is approved to treat:

Abilify Maintena is approved to treat schizophrenia in adults. It’s also approved to treat bipolar I disorder in adults. However, Abilify Maintena isn’t approved for use in children.

Note: For more information about the approved uses of Abilify, see the section “Abilify uses” above.

Drug forms and administration

Abilify comes as tablets that are taken by mouth once daily.

Abilify Maintena comes as a powder that’s mixed with liquid and given as an intramuscular injection. You’ll receive doses of Abilify Maintena from a healthcare provider. The typical dosage of this drug is 400 mg given once each month.

Side effects and risks

Because Abilify and Abilify Maintena both contain the same active drug, their mild and serious side effects are the same. One exception is that while Abilify may cause headaches, Abilify Maintena doesn’t cause them.

Also, because Abilify Maintena is an injectable medication, you may have pain at your injection site after receiving a dose of the drug.

For more information on other side effects that Abilify may cause, see the section “Abilify side effects” above.

Effectiveness

Abilify and Abilify Maintena have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used to treat schizophrenia in adults.

In some cases, you may actually start out by taking Abilify. Then if your condition responds well to the drug, you may start taking Abilify Maintena instead. One study looked at people who took Abilify and then transitioned to Abilify Maintena. These people had more benefit in decreasing their schizophrenia symptoms when they switched to Abilify Maintena.

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. But separate studies have found both Abilify and Abilify Maintena to be effective in treating schizophrenia.

Costs

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Abilify costs significantly less than Abilify Maintena. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan and your location. The cost also depends on whether you receive doses of either drug from a pharmacy or a medical facility.

Abilify and Abilify Maintena are both brand-name drugs. There is currently a generic form of Abilify available that’s called aripiprazole. However, there isn’t a generic form of Abilify Maintena available. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics cost.

Like Abilify Maintena, discussed above, other medications are also prescribed for similar uses as Abilify is. Here we look at how Abilify and Rexulti are alike and different.

Ingredients

Abilify contains the active drug aripiprazole, while Rexulti contains the active drug brexpiprazole.

Uses

Both Abilify and Rexulti are approved to treat schizophrenia. For this use, Abilify can be prescribed for adults and children ages 13 years and older. However, Rexulti is only approved for use in adults.

Abilify and Rexulti are also both approved for use in adults as adjunct treatments for major depressive disorder (MDD), which is also simply called depression. As adjunct treatments, Abilify and Rexulti are each used with other drugs for MDD. Abilify and Rexulti aren’t used on their own to treat MDD.

In addition, Abilify is approved to treat:

Note: For more information about the approved uses of Abilify, see the section “Abilify uses” above.

Drug forms and administration

Abilify comes as tablets that are taken by mouth once daily.

Rexulti is also available as tablets that are taken by mouth once daily.

Side effects and risks

Abilify and Rexulti both contain medications that treat schizophrenia and MDD. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects, but some different ones as well. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with Abilify, with Rexulti, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Abilify:
    • nausea or vomiting
    • headache or blurry vision
    • insomnia (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep)
  • Can occur with Rexulti:
    • no unique mild side effects of Rexulti
  • Can occur with both Abilify and Rexulti:
    • restlessness or feeling like you need to move
    • upper respiratory infection, such as a cold
    • constipation
    • dizziness
    • anxiety
    • feeling sleepy
    • sexual side effects, such as sexual urges or changes in libido

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Abilify, with Rexulti, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

* Abilify and Rexulti both have a boxed warning regarding these risks. A boxed warning is the strongest warning required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Effectiveness

Abilify and Rexulti have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used to treat schizophrenia. And these medications can also each be used in combination with other drugs to treat MDD.

The use of Abilify and Rexulti in treating schizophrenia has been directly compared in a clinical study. In this study, a test called the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) was used to determine how severe people’s schizophrenia symptoms were.

Higher PANSS scores indicate worse schizophrenia symptoms than lower scores indicate. In this study, if people’s PANSS scores were lowered by at least 30% after starting the drug, the people were said to have responded to treatment.

This study showed that:

  • 60.9% of people taking Rexulti responded to treatment
  • 48.5% of people taking Abilify responded to treatment

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies for MDD. But separate studies have found both Abilify and Rexulti to be effective in treating MDD.

Costs

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Abilify generally costs less than Rexulti. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Abilify and Rexulti are both brand-name drugs. There is currently a generic form of Abilify, called aripiprazole. But there’s not currently a generic form of Rexulti available. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

Like Rexulti, discussed above, other medications are prescribed for similar uses as Abilify is. Here we look at how Abilify and Latuda are alike and different.

Ingredients

Abilify contains the active drug aripiprazole, while Latuda contains the active drug lurasidone.

Uses

Both Abilify and Latuda are approved to treat schizophrenia in adults and children ages 13 years and older.

In addition, Abilify is approved to treat:

Latuda is also approved to treat:

  • MDD that’s related to bipolar I disorder in adults and children ages 10 years and older. For this condition, Latuda can be used alone.
  • MDD that’s related to bipolar I disorder in adults. For this condition, Latuda can be used in combination with either lithium or valproate. (Lithium and valproate are other drugs used to treat bipolar disorder.)

Note: For more information about the approved uses of Abilify, see the section “Abilify uses” above.

Drug forms and administration

Abilify comes as tablets that are taken by mouth once daily.

Latuda is available as a tablet that’s taken by mouth once daily.

Side effects and risks

Abilify and Latuda both contain drugs to treat schizophrenia. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects, but some different ones as well. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with Abilify, with Latuda, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Abilify:
    • constipation
    • anxiety
    • sexual side effects, such as sexual urges or changes in libido
  • Can occur with Latuda:
    • runny nose
  • Can occur with both Abilify and Latuda:
    • nausea or vomiting
    • feeling sleepy or having insomnia (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep)
    • restlessness or feeling like you need to move
    • dizziness or blurred vision
    • upper respiratory infection, such as a cold
    • rash

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Abilify, with Latuda, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

* Abilify and Latuda both have a boxed warning regarding these risks. A boxed warning is the strongest warning required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Effectiveness

Abilify and Latuda have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used to treat schizophrenia in adults and children ages 13 years and older.

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. But separate studies have found both Abilify and Latuda to be effective in treating schizophrenia.

Costs

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Abilify costs significantly less than Latuda. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Abilify and Latuda are both brand-name drugs. There is currently a generic form of Abilify available that’s called aripiprazole. But there’s no generic form of Latuda available at this time. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

It’s possible that your body may become dependent on Abilify. But keep in mind that Abilify isn’t a controlled substance. (Controlled substances are more likely than other medications to cause dependence.)

With dependence, your body needs the drug in order to feel normal. Abilify may cause dependence because it affects hormones inside your brain. And once your body adjusts to the changes caused by Abilify, you may become dependent on the drug.

Because Abilify may cause dependence, it’s possible that you’ll have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drug.

However, keep in mind that dependence of Abilify has not been studied in humans. So it’s not known for sure if everyone who takes the drug will become dependent on it.

It’s important to talk with your doctor about Abilify withdrawal and dependence if you have a history of drug misuse. Because this medication may cause dependence and withdrawal symptoms, your doctor may recommend a different medication for you that has a lower risk of these complications.

Withdrawal symptoms of Abilify

The withdrawal symptoms that may occur in people who suddenly stop taking Abilify aren’t known for sure. This is because there aren’t any human studies that show the withdrawal symptoms that may occur. Also, it’s not known how soon after stopping Abilify you’ll have withdrawal symptoms, or for how long they’ll last.

However, in one case, after stopping Abilify “cold turkey” (abruptly), a man had withdrawal symptoms. His symptoms included dizziness, nausea, anxiety, and muscle twitches. He also had insomnia (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep).

This case points out that it’s important to avoid abruptly stopping Abilify. But keep in mind that this case only involved one person. So it’s not known how common withdrawal symptoms from Abilify might be in other people.

Additional withdrawal symptoms of Abilify may include:

Even though Abilify withdrawal hasn’t been studied in humans, it has been seen in animal studies. However, animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in humans.

Also, keep in mind that each person’s body may react differently to medications. And depending on what other medications you’re taking with Abilify, your withdrawal symptoms may be different than those listed above.

If you have questions about withdrawal symptoms from Abilify, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to stop taking Abilify

If you’re planning to stop taking Abilify, talk with your doctor first about how to taper off of the drug. With tapering, your doctor will slowly decrease your dose of the drug so that your body can adjust to the lower dose over time. Tapering off of Abilify can help decrease your risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Keep in mind that the lowest dose that Abilify tablets are made in is 2 mg. So if you’re taking 2 mg of Abilify daily and you’re planning to stop taking it, your doctor may just have you stop taking your daily dose.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Abilify.

Will Abilify make me feel “high”?

No, that’s unlikely. In fact, feeling “high” wasn’t reported as a side effect of Abilify during clinical trials.

Abilify affects the levels of two brain chemicals called dopamine and serotonin. Serotonin is important in controlling your mood and behavior. Dopamine is important in regulating how you think and feel. Having high levels of dopamine may cause an altered mental state and a feeling of being “high.”

It’s believed that certain mental health conditions may cause you to have too much dopamine or serotonin in your brain. Examples of these mental health conditions include schizophrenia, mania, irritability related to autism, and Tourette’s syndrome. And Abilify is approved to treat each of these conditions.

Abilify may work to treat certain mental health conditions by balancing dopamine and serotonin levels. This way, you don’t have too much or too little of the brain chemicals, making your thoughts and behaviors easier to control.

Because Abilify balances your dopamine and serotonin levels, it shouldn’t make you feel “high.” However, if you do feel “high” or have an altered mental state while you’re taking Abilify, call your doctor. They can recommend whether you need medical attention.

Is Abilify used to treat anxiety?

Yes, sometimes Abilify is used off-label to treat anxiety. But keep in mind that Abilify isn’t approved to treat anxiety. With off-label use, a drug that’s approved for certain conditions is used for another condition.

For more information about how Abilify is used for anxiety, see the section “Abilify Uses” above. And if you have questions about whether Abilify may be helpful in treating your anxiety, talk with your doctor.

Can Abilify make me have dangerous impulses?

Yes, Abilify may cause you to have dangerous impulses or urges. Examples of impulses you may have while you’re taking Abilify include urges to:

  • gamble
  • have sex
  • shop
  • eat or binge eat

Gambling is the most common urge that’s experienced with Abilify treatment. But all of these urges can be harmful, so you should tell your doctor, a family member, or a friend if you notice any impulses.

In addition, your family and friends should also be keeping an eye out for any new impulses you may develop. This is important for them to do because you might not notice certain urges developing.

As soon as any urges or impulses are noticed, your doctor will likely decrease your dosage of Abilify. Or your doctor may have you stop taking the medication altogether.

If you’re concerned about having impulses or urges while you’re taking Abilify, talk with your doctor. They can discuss with you the risks and benefits of treatment.

What effects does Abilify have on the brain?

It’s not known exactly how Abilify works inside your brain. However, it’s believed that the drug may work on receptors (attachment sites) for certain brain chemicals. These brain chemicals include dopamine and serotonin.

Dopamine is important in regulating how you think and feel. And serotonin is important in controlling your mood and behavior.

It’s believed that certain mental health conditions may cause you to have too much dopamine or serotonin in your brain. Examples of these mental health conditions include schizophrenia, mania, irritability related to autism, and Tourette’s syndrome. And Abilify is approved to treat each of these conditions.

Abilify may work by balancing your dopamine and serotonin levels. This way, you don’t have too much or too little of the brain chemicals, which makes your thoughts and behaviors easier to control.

Can you take Abilify by snorting the drug?

No, you should never take Abilify by snorting the drug. Abilify is meant to be taken by mouth. When it’s taken by mouth, the drug is processed in your stomach before it enters your bloodstream. This way, the drug isn’t released all at once into your bloodstream.

However, when you snort a drug through your nose, the drug goes directly into your bloodstream. This means that you’ll have a higher level of the drug in your body than you should within a very short period of time.

Snorting any type of drug that isn’t intended for intranasal use is risky. For example, snorting certain medications increases your risk of side effects from the drug because you’ll have more drug in your blood than you’re supposed to. In addition, snorting drugs can cause problems inside your nose, such as swelling or infections. And in some cases, snorting drugs can even cause a hole to form between your nostrils.

You should never snort drugs that aren’t meant to be taken through your nose. If you have questions about the best way to take your doses of Abilify, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Can Abilify be used to treat bipolar II disorder?

Yes, sometimes Abilify is used off-label to treat bipolar II disorder. But keep in mind that Abilify isn’t approved to treat bipolar II disorder. (With off-label use, a drug that’s approved for certain conditions is used for another condition.)

On the other hand, Abilify is approved to treat manic or mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder. Bipolar disorder affects your brain and causes you to have changes in your mood and behavior.

With bipolar I disorder, you may have manic episodes. During these episodes, you can feel very energetic or extremely irritable. And your thoughts may be racing, making it difficult for you to concentrate. It’s also possible to have mixed episodes with bipolar I disorder. With mixed episodes, you have both manic symptoms and depression symptoms at the same time. This causes large changes in your mood.

However, with bipolar II disorder, your most common symptom is major depression. With bipolar II disorder, you’ll also have hypomania, which is a less severe condition than the mania seen with bipolar I disorder.

It’s important to remember that Abilify is approved to treat manic or mixed episodes of bipolar disorder. Because people with bipolar II disorder mostly have depressive symptoms, Abilify may not work as well for them.

If you have questions about using Abilify to treat bipolar II disorder, talk with your doctor. They can recommend whether Abilify may be an option to treat your condition.

Does Abilify give you energy?

No, Abilify won’t make you feel more energetic than usual. In fact, for some people, Abilify may actually make them feel more sleepy than usual.

Some drugs called stimulants may make you feel more energetic than usual. But Abilify isn’t a stimulant drug. Instead, it’s an antipsychotic drug.

If you have any questions about side effects that Abilify may cause, see the section “Abilify side effects” above, or talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

It’s not known exactly how Abilify works inside your brain. However, it’s believed that the drug may work on receptors (attachment sites) for certain brain chemicals. These brain chemicals include dopamine and serotonin.

Dopamine is important in regulating how you think and feel. And serotonin is important in controlling your mood and behavior.

It’s believed that certain mental health conditions may cause you to have too much dopamine or serotonin in your brain. Examples of these mental health conditions include schizophrenia, mania, irritability related to autism, and Tourette’s syndrome. And Abilify is approved to treat each of these conditions.

Abilify may work by balancing your dopamine and serotonin levels. This way, you don’t have too much or too little of the brain chemicals, which makes your thoughts and behaviors easier to control.

What drug class does Abilify belong to?

Abilify belongs to a class of drugs called antipsychotics. (A drug class describes a group of medications that work in the same way.) Specifically, Abilify is a second-generation antipsychotic. Second-generation antipsychotics are a newer class of antipsychotic drugs. They cause fewer side effects than the first-generation antipsychotics do.

Because there are many different mood disorders, there are also many different drug classes used to treat them.

For example, mood stabilizers, such as lithium, are drugs that help make your mood more consistent. Abilify doesn’t belong to the class of drugs called mood stabilizers.

In addition, Abilify is also not an antidepressant medication. However, when it’s used to treat depression, Abilify is used in combination with antidepressants. Examples of antidepressants that are used with Abilify include:

However, Abilify isn’t an SSRI or an MAOI.

Also, even though Abilify may cause symptoms of withdrawal if the drug is stopped abruptly, Abilify isn’t a controlled substance, such as a narcotic. (Controlled substances are more likely than other drugs to cause dependence and withdrawal.) For more information about possible dependence and withdrawal from Abilify, see the section “Abilify withdrawal and dependence” above.

How long does it take to work?

Abilify begins working within a few hours of when you’ve taken a dose of Abilify.

However, Abilify works best when there’s a consistent amount of drug in your body. And Abilify reaches this point after you’ve taken a daily dose for about 14 days.

So you may have some symptom relief in the first day or so after your first dose of Abilify. But you’ll see the most benefit from the drug about 14 days after you’ve started taking it.

Alcohol may cause dizziness, sleepiness, or trouble focusing. It may also decrease your blood pressure. Abilify can also cause these same side effects.

Because of this, you should talk with your doctor before drinking any alcohol while you’re taking Abilify. Drinking alcohol and taking Abilify may increase your risk of these side effects. So your doctor may recommend that you avoid consuming alcohol while you’re taking Abilify.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Abilify can lead to serious side effects. Do not use more Abilify than your doctor recommends.

In clinical trials, both intentional and accidental overdoses of Abilify in children and adults did occur. However, there weren’t any deaths reported in people who overdosed on Abilify alone.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an Abilify overdose can include:

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Abilify can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain foods. But it’s not known to interact with any herbs or supplements.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Abilify and other medications

Below are lists of medications that can interact with Abilify. These lists don’t contain all the drugs that may interact with Abilify.

Before taking Abilify, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Abilify and benzodiazepines

Abilify may interact with drugs that belong to a class of medications called benzodiazepines. (A class of drugs describes a group of medications that work in the same way.)

Examples of benzodiazepines include:

Both Abilify and benzodiazepines can cause tiredness. They may also both cause a decrease in blood pressure, especially when you’re sitting up or standing up. Taking Abilify with a benzodiazepine may worsen these effects.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you take Abilify along with a benzodiazepine. However, because of the increased risk of side effects when doing this, your doctor will monitor your blood pressure. They’ll also make sure you aren’t too sleepy.

If needed, your doctor may adjust your dosage of either Abilify or the benzodiazepine drug. Doing this can help to lower your risk of side effects.

If you have any questions about the interactions between Abilify and benzodiazepines, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Abilify and certain antidepressants

Abilify may interact with certain antidepressant drugs. But keep in mind that when Abilify is prescribed for depression, it’s always used in combination with an antidepressant. And Abilify may sometimes be used in combination with an antidepressant for other conditions as well.

It’s important that you tell your doctor about all other medications you’re taking with Abilify. This way, your doctor can determine if there are any drug interactions that may affect you.

Specifically, Abilify may interact with certain antidepressants that belong to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). A class of drugs describes a group of medications that work in the same way.

Examples of SSRIs that may interact with Abilify include:

Taking either of these drugs with Abilify may increase the level of Abilify in your body. And this could increase your risk of side effects from Abilify. If you’re taking either paroxetine or fluoxetine with Abilify, your doctor may decrease your dosage of Abilify to help prevent increased side effects.

If you have questions about interactions between Abilify and certain antidepressants, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Abilify and drugs that affect its level in your body

Abilify is broken down in your liver by enzymes (certain proteins). Specifically, it’s broken down by enzymes called CYP3A4 and CYP2D6.

Taking Abilify with any drugs that affect these enzymes can alter the level of Abilify in your body. In some cases, the level will be increased, but in other cases, it will be decreased. Below, we describe these possible interactions with Abilify.

If you’re taking one of the medications listed below with Abilify, your doctor may adjust your dosage of either Abilify or the other drug.

If you have any questions about which drugs may interact with Abilify, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Abilify and strong CYP3A4 inhibitors

Some medications inhibit (block) the action of CYP3A4 from breaking down Abilify. When this occurs, the level of Abilify in your body will be increased. And you may have an increased risk of side effects from Abilify.

Examples of drugs that block the action of CYP3A4 include:

  • itraconazole (Sporanox), an antifungal drug
  • clarithromycin, an antibiotic

Abilify and strong CYP2D6 inhibitors

Some medications inhibit (block) the action of CYP2D6 from breaking down Abilify. When this occurs, the level of Abilify in your body will be increased. And you may have an increased risk of side effects from Abilify.

Examples of drugs that block the action of CYP2D6 include:

Abilify and strong CYP3A4 inducers

Some medications induce (prompt) CYP3A4 to work faster than usual. When this occurs, the level of Abilify in your body will be decreased. And in this case, Abilify may not work as well to treat your condition.

Examples of drugs that induce CYP3A4 to work faster than usual include:

Abilify and certain blood pressure medications

Abilify may interact with certain blood pressure medications, causing your blood pressure to become too low. This effect happens because Abilify can also decrease your blood pressure.

The combination of Abilify with a blood pressure medication can even cause very low blood pressure that may become dangerous.

Examples of blood pressure medications that may interact with Abilify include:

If you’re taking any blood pressure medications, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist before starting Abilify. They can recommend whether it’s safe for you to take the drugs together.

Abilify and recreational drugs

Abilify can interact with some recreational drugs, which may increase your risk of side effects from Abilify.

Examples of recreational drugs that may interact with Abilify include:

  • marijuana (also called weed)
  • heroin
  • alcohol (For more information about using alcohol with Abilify, see the section “Abilify and alcohol” above.)

In addition, pain medications may also interact with Abilify. Pain medications aren’t necessarily recreational drugs. But sometimes they’re used in ways they’re not prescribed to be used in. Or they’re not used by the people they were prescribed for.

In these cases, the pain medications would be considered recreational. Examples of pain medications that are sometimes used recreationally include:

All of the recreational drugs listed above may cause your heart rate to be slower than usual. These drugs may also cause decreased blood pressure, sleepiness, and slowed breathing. Abilify can also decrease your blood pressure and cause sleepiness. So taking recreational drugs with Abilify may increase your risk of these side effects.

It’s important to know that the lists above don’t include all the recreational drugs that may interact with Abilify. Be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking. Even tell them about any medications you’re taking that aren’t prescribed for you. In some cases, it may be dangerous to take recreational drugs while you’re taking Abilify.

Abilify and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Abilify. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Abilify.

Abilify and foods

Abilify is known to interact with grapefruit, which is described below. If you have any questions about consuming grapefruit or any other foods with Abilify, talk with your doctor.

Abilify and grapefruit

Abilify is broken down in your liver by enzymes (certain proteins). Specifically, Abilify is broken down by enzymes called CYP3A4 and CYP2D6. Anything that affects these enzymes can alter the level of Abilify in your body.

Grapefruit blocks CYP3A4 from breaking down Abilify. When this occurs, the level of Abilify in your body is increased. And you may have an increased risk of side effects from Abilify.

Your doctor will recommend that you avoid eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice while you’re taking Abilify. Doing so will help to ensure that you don’t have too much Abilify in your body.

It’s not known if Abilify is safe to take during pregnancy.

Pregnancies that are exposed to antipsychotic medications, such as Abilify, don’t appear to have an increased risk of birth defects. And they also don’t appear to have an increased risk of miscarriage.

However, in women who’ve taken antipsychotic medications during their third trimester of pregnancy, their newborn babies may have:

Animal studies have shown that, if used during pregnancy, Abilify may cause:

However, in these studies, animals were given much higher doses of Abilify than humans are given. In addition, animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in humans.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before starting Abilify. They can discuss with you the risks and benefits of using this drug during pregnancy.

Pregnancy registry for Abilify

If you do use Abilify during pregnancy, there’s a pregnancy registry that you’re encouraged to join. A pregnancy registry collects information about any effects that a drug may have on pregnancy. The information is then studied to determine whether the drug is a safe option for use during pregnancy.

If you’d like to know more about this registry or want to enroll in it, visit the registry website or call 866-961-2388.

It’s not known if Abilify is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Abilify.

For more information about taking Abilify during pregnancy, see the section “Abilify and pregnancy” above.

It’s not known whether Abilify is safe to take while you’re breastfeeding. However, some information shows that Abilify does pass into breast milk. And there are reports showing that mothers who take Abilify have decreased milk supply and that their babies have decreased weight gain.

If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, talk with your doctor before taking Abilify. They can discuss with you the risks and benefits of using this drug while you’re breastfeeding.

You should take Abilify according to your doctor’s or healthcare provider’s instructions.

Abilify should be taken once daily. Never change your dosage schedule or stop taking Abilify without first talking with your doctor.

When to take

The manufacturer of Abilify hasn’t stated the best time of day to take its drug. However, it’s best to take it at the same time each day. Doing so helps there to be a consistent amount of the drug in your body.

If you have sleepiness from Abilify, your doctor may recommend that you take your dose at bedtime. However, if you have problems sleeping while you’re taking Abilify, it may be best for you to take the drug in the morning. This way it shouldn’t affect your sleep as much.

If you have questions about the best time of day to take Abilify, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

And to help make sure that you don’t miss a dose of Abilify, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Taking Abilify with food

Abilify can be taken with or without food.

Can Abilify be crushed, split, or chewed?

Abilify oral tablets should be swallowed whole. They shouldn’t be crushed, split, or chewed.

Aripiprazole, Abilify’s generic drug, is available in other forms that may be easier to take if you have trouble swallowing pills. If you’d like to know more about this generic medication, talk with your doctor.

As with all medications, the cost of Abilify can vary. To find current prices for Abilify in your area, check out GoodRx.com.

The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Before approving coverage for Abilify, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Abilify, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you’d like to know about other ways to lower the cost of Abilify, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Generic version

Abilify is available in a generic form called aripiprazole. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs. To find out how the cost of aripiprazole compares to the cost of Abilify, visit GoodRx.com.

If your doctor has prescribed Abilify and you’re interested in using aripiprazole instead, talk with your doctor. They may prefer one version or the other. You’ll also need to check your insurance plan, as it may only cover one or the other.

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warnings

This drug has boxed warnings. These are the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

  • Increased risk of death in certain older people. Certain older people may have an increased risk of death when taking antipsychotic drugs, such as Abilify. Specifically, older people with psychosis that’s related to dementia (memory loss) have this increased risk. (With psychosis, you lose touch with reality and may hear or see things that aren’t really there.) Because of this risk, Abilify should not be used by this group of people.
  • Increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in younger people. Abilify may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children or adults ages 24 years and younger. Anyone who takes Abilify may be monitored by their doctor for new or worsening depression and suicidal thoughts or behaviors. If you’re taking Abilify, your doctor may also recommend that your family members also watch for any changes in your mood. If you’re having new or worsened depression, you should call your doctor right away. But if you’re having thoughts of harming yourself, call 911 or your local emergency service.

Other precautions

Before taking Abilify, talk with your doctor about your health history. Abilify may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Seizures and convulsions. Abilify may increase your risk of seizures or convulsions if you’ve had seizures in the past. If you have a history of convulsions or seizures, talk with your doctor before starting Abilify. They may recommend a medication other than Abilify for you. If you do take Abilify, your doctor may monitor you more often than usual to be sure you’re not having seizures or convulsions.
  • Suicide. Younger people taking Abilify have an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. (See the section “FDA warnings” just above.) In addition, people with bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, or other disorders affecting their brain also have an increased risk of suicide. While you’re taking Abilify, your doctor will monitor you for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. But be sure to tell your doctor right away if you have any thoughts of suicide or other changes in your thoughts or behaviors.
  • Diabetes. Abilify can cause changes in your metabolism that may lead to having an increased blood sugar level or diabetes. If you already have high blood sugar or diabetes, be sure to tell your doctor before starting Abilify. Your doctor will monitor your blood sugar level more often than usual while you’re taking Abilify. This helps them to ensure that your level doesn’t become too high.
  • Low or high blood pressure. Abilify may affect your blood pressure, causing it to become either too high or too low. In addition, your blood pressure may become especially low when you move from sitting to standing or from lying down to sitting up. If you already have trouble with your blood pressure, Abilify may make it worse. Your doctor may have you monitor your blood pressure more often than usual while you’re taking Abilify.
  • Heart problems or stroke. Rarely, Abilify may cause stroke and certain heart problems, including heart attack. If you have a history of heart problems, talk with your doctor before taking Abilify. Depending on your health history, your doctor may recommend a medication other than Abilify for you. In some cases, you may be able to take Abilify, but your doctor may monitor your heart health more often than usual.
  • Low white blood cell level. Abilify may lower your white blood cell level, which can increase your risk of infections. If you already have a history of low white blood cell level, you may have an even higher risk of infections. In this case, your doctor may recommend a medication other than Abilify for you. But if your white blood cell level isn’t too low, your doctor may just monitor the level while you’re taking Abilify.
  • CYP2D6 poor metabolizers. If you have a condition that stops your body from breaking down drugs properly, talk with your doctor. Abilify is broken down by an enzyme (certain protein) in your liver called CYP2D6. If your CYP2D6 enzyme doesn’t work as well as it should (a condition that’s sometimes called CYP2D6 poor metabolizer), Abilify may build up in your body. And this can cause serious side effects. If you have certain problems with your CYP2D6 enzyme, your doctor will start you on a lower dosage of Abilify than usual. Your doctor may also monitor you more often than usual for side effects from Abilify.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Abilify or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Abilify. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you. If you’re unsure about your medication allergies, talk with your doctor.
  • Pregnancy. It’s not known if Abilify is safe to take during pregnancy. For more information, please see the “Abilify and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not known if Abilify is safe to take while breastfeeding. For more information, please see the “Abilify and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Abilify, see the section “Abilify side effects” above.

When you get Abilify tablets from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle or box. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Abilify should be stored at room temperature (77°F/25°C). If necessary, the drug can be stored between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C) for a short period of time. Abilify tablets should be stored in a tightly sealed container away from light. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as in bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Abilify and you have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information on how to dispose of your medication.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Abilify oral tablets are indicated to treat:

  • schizophrenia in adults and children ages 13 years and older
  • manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder in adults and children ages 10 years and older
  • major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults, as an adjunct treatment
  • irritability related to autism in children ages 6 years and older
  • Tourette’s syndrome in children ages 6 years and older

Administration

Abilify is given orally once daily. Abilify should be given at approximately the same time each day to maintain a consistent drug level. It can be given without regard to food.

Mechanism of action

It is not known exactly how Abilify works to treat psychiatric disorders. However, it is believed that the drug acts as a partial agonist on both the dopamine 2 receptor (D2) and 5HT1A serotonin receptor.

Schizophrenia, mania, and irritability are all believed to be caused by high dopamine and serotonin levels. Partially agonizing these receptors reduces dopamine and serotonin activity and may return a person to a less manic or irritable state.

In addition, Abilify may also antagonize the 5HT2A receptor.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

Peak concentrations of Abilify oral tablets occur at about 3 to 5 hours post-dose.

Abilify and its metabolite, dehydro-aripiprazole, are highly protein bound. The half-life of Abilify is approximately 75 hours. The half-life of dehydro-aripiprazole is approximately 94 hours. The drug reaches steady state levels after 14 continuous days of dosing.

Abilify is eliminated via the cytochrome P450 system. Specifically, Abilify is eliminated through dehydrogenation and hydroxylation by CYP2D6 and CYP3A4. CYP3A4 also mediates N-dealkylation.

About 55% of the drug is excreted in feces, and 25% is excreted through urine.

Contraindications

Abilify is contraindicated in people with hypersensitivity to the drug.

Misuse, withdrawal, and dependence

Abilify is not a controlled substance. However, it is possible that people may develop dependence on Abilify while taking it. Dependence of Abilify has not been studied in humans. Therefore, it is not known if everyone who takes the drug will become dependent upon it. Although withdrawal has not been studied in humans, it was present in animal studies.

Because people may become dependent on Abilify, the drug may cause withdrawal symptoms when stopped. Withdrawal symptoms may include headache, nausea, or increased heart rate. It is not known how soon these withdrawal symptoms come on or for how long they may last. However, in one case, a man experienced Abilify withdrawal symptoms for approximately 2 weeks.

Due to the risk of withdrawal, Abilify should not be abruptly stopped. Rather, people taking the drug should be instructed to contact their prescriber to discuss discontinuing the medication before actually doing so.

If a person desires to stop Abilify treatment, doses of the drug should be tapered, thus decreasing the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

People with a history of drug misuse should be monitored more frequently than usual during Abilify therapy. In some cases, other medications may be more suitable for people with a history of drug misuse.

Storage

Abilify should be stored at room temperature (77°F/25°C). If necessary, the drug can be stored between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C) for a short period of time. Abilify should be stored in a tightly sealed container away from light. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.