Generic Name: aripiprazole (AR-i-PIP-ra-zole)
Brand Name: Abilify
Aripiprazole is an antipsychotic. It may increase the risk of death when used to treat mental problems caused by dementia in elderly patients. Most of the deaths were linked to heart problems or infection. Aripiprazole is not approved to treat mental problems caused by dementia.
Antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or actions in children, teenagers, and young adults. However, depression and certain other mental problems may also increase the risk of suicide. Talk with the patient's doctor to be sure that the benefits of using aripiprazole outweigh the risks.
Families and caregivers must closely watch patients who take aripiprazole. It is important to keep in close contact with the patient's doctor. Tell the doctor right away if the patient has symptoms like worsened depression, suicidal thoughts, or changes in behavior. Discuss any questions with the patient's doctor.
Aripiprazole is used for:
Treating agitation caused by schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Aripiprazole is an atypical antipsychotic. Exactly how it works is not known. It affects certain substances in the brain.
Do NOT use aripiprazole if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in aripiprazole
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using aripiprazole:
Some medical conditions may interact with aripiprazole. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have a history of heart problems (eg, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack), low blood pressure, blood vessel problems, or stroke
- if you have a history of low white blood cell levels, including low white blood cell levels caused by any medicine
- if you have a history of seizures, dementia, Alzheimer disease, depression or other mental or mood disorders, or suicidal thoughts or attempts
- if you have trouble swallowing or a history of neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS)
- if you are dehydrated, have low blood volume, or are taking medicine for high blood pressure
- if you or a family member has a history of diabetes or you are very overweight
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with aripiprazole. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Anticholinergics (eg, benztropine, methscopolamine) because the risk of overheating may be increased
- Benzodiazepines (eg, lorazepam), clarithromycin, imidazole antifungals (eg, ketoconazole), quinidine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (eg, fluoxetine), or voriconazole because they may increase the risk of aripiprazole's side effects
- Carbamazepine, hydantoins (eg, phenytoin), or rifampin because they may decrease aripiprazole's effectiveness
- Alpha-blockers (eg, terazosin) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by aripiprazole
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if aripiprazole may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use aripiprazole:
Use aripiprazole as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Aripiprazole is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using aripiprazole at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use aripiprazole. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
- Aripiprazole is for injection deep into the muscle only. Do NOT inject aripiprazole under the skin or into a vein.
- Do not use aripiprazole if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
- Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
- If you miss a dose of aripiprazole and you still have agitation, follow your doctor's dosing instructions. Contact your doctor immediately if you are unsure of what to do if you miss a dose. Do not use aripiprazole more often than prescribed. Do not use 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use aripiprazole.
Important safety information:
- Aripiprazole may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or lightheadedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use aripiprazole with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Do not drink alcohol while you are using aripiprazole.
- Check with your doctor before you use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using aripiprazole; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
- Aripiprazole may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
- Do NOT use more than the recommended dose or use more often than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
- Children, teenagers, and young adults who take aripiprazole may be at increased risk for suicidal thoughts or actions. Watch all patients who take aripiprazole closely. Contact the doctor at once if new, worsened, or sudden symptoms, such as depressed mood; anxious, restless, or irritable behavior; panic attacks; or any unusual change in mood or behavior, occur. Contact the doctor right away if any signs of suicidal thoughts or actions occur.
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a possibly fatal syndrome that can be caused by aripiprazole. Symptoms may include fever; stiff muscles; confusion; abnormal thinking; fast or irregular heartbeat; and sweating. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms.
- Some patients who take aripiprazole may develop muscle movements that they cannot control. This is more likely to happen in elderly patients, especially women. The chance that this will happen or that it will become permanent is greater in those who take aripiprazole in higher doses or for a long time. Muscle problems may also occur after short-term treatment with low doses. Tell your doctor at once if you have muscle problems with your arms; legs; or your tongue, face, mouth, or jaw (eg, tongue sticking out, puffing of cheeks, mouth puckering, chewing movements) while taking aripiprazole.
- Do not become overheated or dehydrated in hot weather or while you are being active; heatstroke may occur.
- Aripiprazole may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
- Aripiprazole may raise your blood sugar or increase your risk of developing diabetes. High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
- Diabetes patients - Aripiprazole may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
- Aripiprazole may cause weight gain in some patients. You may need regular weight checks while taking aripiprazole.
- Lab tests, including fasting blood sugar levels and complete blood cell counts, may be performed while you use aripiprazole. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use aripiprazole with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially uncontrolled muscle movements or seizures.
- Aripiprazole should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if aripiprazole can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using aripiprazole while you are pregnant. Using aripiprazole during the third trimester may result in uncontrolled muscle movements or withdrawal symptoms in the newborn. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor. It is not known if aripiprazole is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking aripiprazole.
Possible side effects of aripiprazole:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Dizziness; drowsiness; headache; nausea; vomiting.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); abnormal thinking; chest pain; confusion; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, sore throat; increased sweating; involuntary movements of the tongue, face, mouth, jaw, arms, legs, or back (eg, chewing movements, puckering of mouth, puffing of cheeks); loss of control over urination; loss of coordination; muscle tremor, jerking, or stiffness; new or worsening mental or mood problems (eg, anxiety, depression, agitation, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being, inability to sit still); one-sided weakness; seizures; severe or persistent restlessness; shortness of breath; suicidal thoughts or attempts; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; symptoms of high blood sugar (eg, increased thirst, urination, or appetite; unusual weakness); trouble swallowing; trouble walking; unusual bruising; unusual tiredness or weakness; vision or speech changes.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include aggression; confusion; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; loss of consciousness; seizures; severe drowsiness, dizziness, or vomiting; tremor; trouble breathing; unusual mental changes.Proper storage of aripiprazole:
Aripiprazole is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using aripiprazole at home, store aripiprazole as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep aripiprazole out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about aripiprazole, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Aripiprazole is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take aripiprazole or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about aripiprazole. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to aripiprazole. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using aripiprazole.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.