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Side Effects of Aripiprazole (Abilify, Maintena)


Description: Abilify (generic aripiprazole)‎ is an antipsychotic medication which works by changing the actions of chemicals in the brain. It is used for the treatment of mental disorders such as: schizophrenia, manic or mixed episodes that happen with bipolar I disorder, major depressive disorder when Abilify is used in conjunction with antidepressant medicines, and irritability associated with autistic disorder (Tourette’s disorder).

Black Box Warning and Serious Side Effects of Abilify

Abilify has numerous serious adverse effects, and carries a Black Box Warning, issued by the FDA in 2006. Patients may experience serious side effects of antipsychotics while taking aripiprazole, including stroke in elderly people (cerebrovascular problems) which can be fatal, risk of death in elderly people who have lost touch with reality (psychosis) due to confusion and memory loss (dementia), and increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, and young adults within the first few months of treatment, particularly those who have (or have a family history of) bipolar disorder, which is also known as manic-depression. Additionally, aripiprazole use can cause increase in blood sugar resulting in diabetes. Extremely high blood sugar can lead to coma or death. Your healthcare provider should check your blood sugar and weight before you start aripiprazole and during your treatment, especially if you have diabetes or risk factors for diabetes (such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes).

Common Side Effects of Abilify

According to the Abilify label as reported by the FDA (December 2014), the most common side effects of Abilify in adults include insomnia, headache, restlessness, blurred vision, upper respiratory illness restlessness/need to move (akathisia), nausea, dizziness, vomiting, anxiety, constipation. Abilify side effects in children are stuffy nose, fatigue, insomnia, headache, nausea, vomiting, weight gain, uncontrolled movement, and increased saliva or drooling.

Understand Your Risks with the Rxight® Genetic Test

The science of pharmacogenetics allows patients to learn their own personal genotype and its effect on medication metabolism. This genotype includes the DNA that code for metabolic enzymes which process Abilify. Rxight® pharmacogenetic testing by MD Labs provides patients with their genotype in one convenient test panel, along with a detailed analysis of their metabolism of hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medication across 50 pharmacological classes, which will be reviewed with you by a pharmacist trained in pharmacogenetic testing and to guide your prescriber in finding the safest and most effective dose for you.

Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

Read more about Rxight® pharmacogenetics