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Abilify is a medication doctors commonly prescribe to treat various mental health disorders. Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are common diagnoses that require treatment with Abilify often in combination with other medications.
Most mental illness is due to chemical imbalances in the brain. Abilify works to restore the natural balance of the brain chemicals that control mental health and cognitive abilities.
Abilify falls into the classification of antipsychotic medications. Abilify reduces the occurrence of hallucinations in patients taking Abilify. Abilify also improves the ability of patients to concentrate on necessary tasks. Abilify helps patients feel better about themselves and less nervous. Abilify helps patients better participate in the everyday activities of life. Abilify can also help prevent mood swings in patients or decrease the occurrence of mood swings.
Occasionally doctors prescribe Abilify to treat aggressive behavior and agitation in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other various forms of dementia. Doctors prescribe Abilify for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s only when other medications are not working to treat the aggressive behavior and agitation.
When doctors prescribe Abilify to elderly patients with dementia the risk of serious side effects such as stroke, pneumonia and heart failure increase. Families of patients with dementia should discuss other methods of treating the aggressive tendencies and agitation of the patient.
Patients with diabetes may see the disease worsen due to possible spikes in blood sugar. In rare cases diabetic coma can occur. People on anti-diabetic medication may need to adjust their diet and all people with diabetes should check their blood sugar regularly to monitor for high blood sugar levels.
Abilify may cause drowsiness or dizziness so patients should use caution when operating heavy machinery or driving while taking Abilify. Patients should get up slowly from seated positions to avoid falling due to potential dizziness and lightheadedness.
Abilify can increase a patient’s risk of developing heat stoke. Patients should take care to avoid situations where they may overheat, such as exercising in hot weather and sitting in hot tubs. Before beginning Abilify, patients should tell the doctors of any medical history that includes low blood flow to the brain, dehydration, cardiovascular diseases, nervous system issues, obesity, trouble swallowing and any history of drug or alcohol abuse.
Abilify is available as a dissolvable tablet or as an oral solution. Patients take either form by mouth. Patients should take Abilify with food and not on an empty stomach. Doctors may start patients on a lower dose of Abilify and then gradually increase the dose of the medication. Doctors gradually increase the dosage of Abilify in an effort to prevent the side effects associated with the medication.
Patients taking the dissolvable tablet form of Abilify should not crush or split the tablet. Patients taking the oral solution form of Abilify should measure the medication out using a medicine cup or spoon.
Common side effects of Abilify include dizziness, lightheadedness, vomiting, nausea, excessive salivation, weight gain, blurry vision and constipation. Rare but serious side effects include pounding heartbeat, mood changes that include depressive and suicidal thoughts, restless feelings, shakiness, weakness, mask like facial expressions, swelling of the ankles or feet, trouble swallowing and muscle spasms or muscle stiffness.
Seek medical treatment immediately if any of the following side effects occur seizures, confusion, fast heartbeat, fever, muscle stiffness, change in urine amounts or excessive sweating.
Rarely serious nervous system conditions develop in patients taking Abilify.
Patients taking aripiprazole should not take Abilify. Patients should notify their physician of any medications they are taking that can increase the risk of seizures or drowsiness. Patients should also tell their doctors and pharmacists of any medications they are taking that treat high blood pressure, diuretics, drugs that affect liver enzymes that may remove aripiprazole from your body, calcium channel blockers and dopamine agonists.
Symptoms of an Abilify overdose include very fast heartbeat and loss of consciousness. Seek immediate medical attention if a there is suspicion of an Abilify overdose.
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