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Has anyone been prescribed ABILIFY alone? Not as an add-on to an anti-depressant?


slattery 14 March 2012

No, I think I read on a website that an anti-psychotic can be used as a bipolar drug on it's own... plus I see that abilify is also considered to be the anti-depressant "balance" for those suffering from bipolar. So yes, this can be done; whether the anti-psychotic drug is abilify, zyprexa, risperidone or seroquel. The abilify literature DOES state that it is also an anti-depressant, albeit that it is also used as a safeguard against psychosis... so I guess that it has dual properties. And I must say that based on my experience, this drug is STREETS ahead when contrasted with zyprexa, in terms of the absence of side effects. Except that I unfortunately ran into health problems along physical lines (and I think that those started with YEARS of being over-medicated on zyprexa!) it is a NICE drug to take. You don't get nastily sedated, very minor if no weight gain, and just for me, you feel good on the drug. So if this is what your dr. is doing, it sounds like it's common practice. And besides which, the fewer drugs you can get away with taking, the better, right? Kathleen

Votes: +0
Bsteinbrueck 14 March 2012

I agree that more medication does not equal better results. It just complicates everything even more than it already is.
I also agree that it is possible to use Abilify for bipolar disorder. However, antipsychotic medications have a whole lot more possible long term or permanently damaging side effects compared to other options such as mood stabilizers like Lamictal.
Literature may state that Abilify can also act as an antidepressant, but that does not change the fact that it is an antipsychotic medication as well. I know these kinds of meds are needed in certain cases, but because of the risks that come with them, it only seems right to use them as a last resort.

MORE IMPORTANTLY: Bipolar type two is VERY different from bipolar one. It is much less common for an antipsychotic to be beneficial to someone with type two. Not that it CAN'T be, but other, less severe options need to be tried first. If someone has tried other options with no success, then it may be necessary to see if the antipsychotic helps them.

slattery 14 March 2012

Oh yeah sure, I absolutely agree all right with your statement that if it was a toss-up between a mood stabilizer or an anti-psychotic, the mood stabilizer's the way to go. But I was just trying to bear in mind that the dr. may have a particular objective in mind... i.e. there must be a REASON why he'd prescribe an anti-psychotic w/anti-depressant qualities over a plain old mood stabilizer. After all, the patient never gets to see his/her records, & there may be further commentaries documented/observed by the dr. which the patient is not privy to. You see, the problem here on is that none of us are psychiatrists, and all WE are doing is dishing out layman's advice from a fellow patients' point of view... and the danger there is that not being experts with MD degree's, we just don't totally know why a doctor makes a particular decision to render a specific drug.


So that's why I always try to just cite my experience with the consumption of particular drugs, rather than second-guessing any given doctor's decision for his/her patient.
And yes I do know that there is quite a difference between bipolar I and bipolar II... the former being the most severe form of the condition, subject to mania's and psychoses at times. I had my own bad experience just recently as a bipolar I person; having dropped abilify off my drug list in Nov, & relying on the lowest dosage of depakote, a mood stabilizer (500mgs). Well, it didn't work out so well... had a hypomania in Jan which lasted nearly 2 weeks, so I had to double the depakote dosage. Just as you stated, the abilify caused me to acquire high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, & I now have gallstones as they feed off cholesterol. So yes there are risks to taking an anti-psychotic, and you need to analyze whether the benefits concerning their consumption outweigh the risks. I have been a long-term anti-psychotic user for nearly 9 years now, so I did suffer some negative effects. So we'll see how I get by on just a mood-stabilizer alone... to be continued lol!
If the questioner's doc was agreeable to the use of a mood-stabilizer (and if it's bipolar II, sure it remains an open question as to why not?) I DID hear that lamictal is particularly good for the depressive phase of bipolar. Depakote is more popular for the manic angle.

bettervedder 15 March 2012

Thank you for writing, Kathleen!
This is very helpful.

bettervedder 15 March 2012

Wow! You girls are great. I'm very appreciative of all of your advice.

slattery 15 March 2012

Great bettervedder! Our aim is to please here, lolol! Good luck with sorting this dilemma out. And my further bit of advice is that trying to establish a good rapport & open lines of communication with your doctor is really important to his/her being able to make a guess @ which drug is best suited for you. Kathleen

Bsteinbrueck 15 March 2012

Yes! Be open with your doctor and don't be afraid to ask questions! They don't know how you're feeling till you tell them. And you have the right to understand your treatment.

slattery 15 March 2012

Yes Bsteinbruek, that is a very valid point. You most certainly DO have the full right to ascertain what kind of a diagnosis your psychiatrist is making, & why he/she thinks a particular drug is the right one for you. I made that mistake over a six-year period; never asking questions, and unquestioningly taking two particular drugs a "quack" prescribed for me. She was hostile and belligerent each time I pointed out that I seemed to be suffering very negative impacts from this combo, and it was very much to my detriment. In retrospect, she could have KILLED me if I hadn't abruptly bolted her care, as I was a near-walking heart attack by the last time I saw her, having stacked on as much as 100lbs, plus having chest and arm pains constantly.


Well lucky for me, I took control of my own situation, lost all the obscene weight, and started from the drawing board all over again - this time with a new and innovative doctor who LISTENS to my opinions, my critiques of side effects, asks me how I feel, and who works in sync with my internist to make sure that he's doing right by me in terms of my physical health as it pertains to these drugs.
So to a degree, I find that finding the right PSYCHIATRIST is a whole lot more important than searching for the right drugs. Because by default, if you have the right guy working sincerely for your best interests, they are going to make a very good guess at which pills are the right one's for you, based on the personal interest they take in asking you questions, and being open to the feedback that you give them. And it may take a whole lot of trial and error before you find the doc that's right for you, that you have confidence in, and somebody who is not just a prescription-pad scribbler.
And just a footnote to this... after years of anti-psychotic pill consumption in conjunction with a mood-stabilizer, when I was led to believe that this is something you must do for bipolar I for life, it's actually not true! The current understanding is that you take the anti-psychotic combined with the mood stabilizer during a crisis, plus for a limited time after that. But just like you said, because the anti-psychotics carry with them some very nasty side effects after years of long-term usage, it seems to be increasingly the norm for doctors after a given amount of time to take a chance on a mood stabilizer alone. Of course in doing so... ceasing the anti-psychotic - you run the risk of a new mania or worse a psychosis - but MY position is, so be it, it comes with the territory of this illness. Mania's don't last permanently, but diabetes, tardive dyskesia and the other goodies attached to the anti-psychotics DO if you take them for too long a period. So with this condition, it's really important to know your facts about it, and to freely discuss things with your dr.

Bsteinbrueck 16 March 2012

Agreed. I hope bettervedder reads the whole thing and isn't scared away by the length lol. Because you make all good points that they could benefit from!
Let us know if you have any more questions, bettervedder :)

slattery 16 March 2012

ha, ha Bsteinbruek, guess I didn't feel like chatting on the telephone last night, and started sounding off on you & the poster lol!!! Well, now that I've gotten THAT off my mind, NEXT... (ha, ha, ha!!! )

Bsteinbrueck 14 March 2012

Are you being treated for depression only? Abilify is an antipsychotic medication so it CAN be used without an antidepressant, but not to treat depression. Are you on any other medications at all? And what are you being treated for?
Answering those questions will help the people on here help you.
Let us know :)

Votes: +0
bettervedder 14 March 2012

Hi. Thank you for writing.
I was diagnosed with Bi-polar 2 recently. I spend approx. 75 percent of the time with debilitating depression. My upswings are never a problem. I just feel great & can accomplish alot. I'm not on any other medications. That's why the prescription seemed strange to me.

Bsteinbrueck 14 March 2012

May I ask your age? And when were you diagnosed? Did you have a different diagnosis before this one? Depending on your answers, I may have a LOT of insight to share with you. Let me know! I'll friend you so you can private message me if you'd like.

bettervedder 14 March 2012

Thank you, B! I added you as a friend :-) I'm new, so I hope it worked. Let me know. AND Thank you again!!

christle 13 Aug 2013

I am 40... I have been on too many anti depressants to list my last one I just got of was viibrd I have chronic depression will ambilify work without an antidepressant?? my doctor didn't prescribe one with it just the abilify but I mostly here this is used as an add-on?

Wristycat 28 March 2014

I am a 35 yr old female and I hv bn diagnosed w/bi polar typ 2 .. I also suffer from severe anxiety And I'm now on abilify alone, and I feel great and I hv bn on almost all medications.. My last one was cymbalta. I also take benzo's for my anxiety. So I was just wondering if it is normal to get such good results being on this med alone...

Thanks, cat free discount card

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