advertisement
Updated 11 February 2013

Aripiprazole

Aripiprazole is indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia and is also used in the treatment and prevention of further episodes of the manic phase or bipolar depression.

0

Aripiprazole is the active ingredient of Abilify.

General information

Aripiprazole is indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia, a severe mental disorder characterised by unpredictable thoughts and behaviour and a withdrawal from reality, and is also used in the treatment and prevention of further episodes of the manic phase or bipolar depression.

This medication does not cure any of these conditions, but merely keeps them under control. For it to be effective, you need to take it regularly and not skip a dose.

In some persons aripiprazole may cause an increase in blood sugar. Diabetics are especially at risk and should undergo regular testing. Aripiprazole may also cause an abrupt drop in blood pressure in some. Be careful when suddenly getting up, as this medication may leave you light-headed or even cause you to faint. Be extra careful if you are taking medication for high blood pressure.

This medication may also cause your body to overheat. Be cautious in hot weather or when doing exercise, and ensure you take plenty of fluids.

How does aripiprazole work?

Aripiprazole is thought to work by changing the activity of serotonin and dopamine, chemical messengers in the brain. It reduces conditions under which a person might lose touch with reality.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 5

Available as: tablets

What does it do? Aripiprazole treats schizophrenia and manic episodes

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Available as a generic ? No

Available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Dietary advice: Aripiprazole can be taken with or without food.

Stopping this medicine: Do not discontinue this drug without consulting your doctor. Symptoms may recur with premature discontinuation.

Prolonged use: Long-term use is associated with tardive dyskinesea, a condition marked by involuntary movement of the face and body, which may be permanent.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you are diabetic,
  • you have a heart or circulatory problem,
  • you are being treated for high blood pressure,
  • you have epilepsy,
  • you have liver disease, or
  • you are taking any other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: Safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established for children under the age of 18.

Elderly: Caution is advised in the elderly, especially in those patients with dementia.

Driving and hazardous work : Caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how it affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Dizziness, drowsiness

x

x

Anxiety

x

x

Nausea/vomiting

x

x

Dry mouth

x

x

Constipation

x

x

Blurred vision

x

x

Headache

x

x

Insomnia

x

x

Tremors

x

x

Weight gain

x

x

Involuntary movement of the face and body

x

x

Restlessness and agitation

x

x

Change in heart rhythm

x

x

Rash

x

x

Fever

x

x

Interactions:

Drug interactions:

Medicines used to treat high blood pressure

Enhance blood pressure-lowering effect

Tricyclic antidepressants

Increased sedation

Benzodiazepines

Increased sedation

Antihistamines

Increased sedation

Fluoxetine, paroxtine

Possible reduced effect of aripiprazole

Itraconazole, ketoconazole

Possible reduced effect of aripiprazole

Quinidine

Possible reduced effect of aripiprazole

Carbamazepine

Possible risk of aripiprazole toxicity

Phenobarbital, phenytoin

Possible risk of aripiprazole toxicity

Rifampicin

Possible risk of aripiprazole toxicity

St John's wort

Possible risk of aripiprazole toxicity

Erythromycin

Possible change in heart rhythm

Cisapride

Possible change in heart rhythm

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you are diabetic, have a heart or circulatory problem, are being treated for high blood pressure, have epilepsy or if you have liver disease.

Overdose action

An overdose of this medication can be serious Seek immediate emergency medical attention. Side effects may include drowsiness, confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 15-30mg once a day

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 
advertisement

Get a quote

advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Live healthier

Medical bills »

GP and money Cut medical bills Medical savings account

Medical scheme: what is a self-payment gap?

Have you exhausted your day-to-day benefits and moved into your self-payment gap? Here's what it means.

Allergy alert »

Allergy myths Cold or allergy? Children and allergies

Allergy facts vs. fiction

Some of the greatest allergy myths and misconceptions can actually be damaging to your health.