Brand & Generic Names; Drug Classes
|US brand name: Abilify|
|Generic name: aripiprazole|
|Primary drug class: Antipsychotics|
|Additional drug class(es): MoodStabilizers, Antidepressants|
Approved & Off-Label Uses (Indications)
Abilify’s US FDA Approved Treatment(s)
Schizophrenia in adults & adolescents ; Bipolar in adults & children over 10 ; as an add-on to antidepressants for depression in adults ; Irritability associated with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in pediatric patients ; and Psychomotor agitation associated with Schizophrenia or Bipolar Mania
Uses Approved Overseas but not in the US
Off-Label Uses of Abilify
When & If Abilify Will Work
Abilify’s Usual Onset of Action (when it starts working)
Faster than Seroquel, but slower than most other AAPs. I.e. 3–7 days, with 3 days more likely (but not always) when adding Abilify to an AD (or anything else) and 7 days more likely when using Abilify by itself.
Likelihood of Working
Given its activating nature, Abilify is probably more likely to work as an add-on to treat depression or bipolar disorder depression than as monotherapy for bipolar disorder.
I don’t yet have enough data for schizophrenia. This article shows 5mg a day takes 3-5 weeks to start working, and only enough better than placebo to get approved by the FDA. And that’s Seroquel territory of taking forever.
Taking and Discontinuing
How to Take Abilify
As with many APs, Otsuka & BMS recommend you just start at the target dosage. That’s 10 to 15 mg once daily for adults with Schizophrenia , 15 mg once daily for adults with Bipolar Disorder as monotherapy, and 10–15mg a day for bipolar when taken with Depakote or lithium. The maximum dosage is 30mg a day, and you should wait at least two weeks before increasing the dosage.
The only application where you start at a low dosage a move up is when you add it to an antidepressant (AD) for depression. That’s when they recommend you start at 2–5mg a day, work up to 5–10mg a day, and the maximum dosage is 15mg a day, and you should wait at least a week before increasing the dosage.
Our suggestion to discuss with your doctor: if you’re not crazy enough to be hospitalized, follow the instructions for using Abilify with an antidepressant, even if you’re taking it by itself (or with another drug) for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
How to Stop Taking Abilify (discontinuation / withdrawal)
With its long-ass half-lives, Abilify is a lot easier to discontinue than most meds, and severe rebound symptoms are less likely as well. Reduce your dosage by 5mg a day every 5–7 days. Every 3 days if you really need to withdraw faster than that.