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How to Make the Most and What to Expect of Abilify Therapy?

Prescribing any medication, especially those which interfere with human nervous system (and Abilify is an example of such medication), a doctor evaluates all the potential benefits and possible risks of a medicine. Using the medication correctly is the first step to increase its effectiveness and reduce side effects risks. The tips below will help a person make the most of Abilify oral tablets treatment and get himself familiar with the potential complications of the therapy.

How to Use Abilify?

Abilify should be taken in strict accordance with the label information and doctor’s instructions. Usually, the starting dose for treating bipolar disorder is 30 mg taken daily with or without food. Once a patient achieved improvements and his bipolar depression symptoms stabilized for at least 6 consecutive weeks, a doctor may recommend reducing the daily dose of a medication or discontinuing the further treatment.

It is important to mention that Abilify is usually used as a short-term treatment (not longer than 6 weeks). If a doctor decides to continue the therapy, he should regularly evaluate the patient’s symptoms and tolerability of the drug.

By the way, Abilify was also approved for use as an adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder. In this case, the recommended starting dose is either 2 mg or 5 mg tablets of Abilify for patients already taking antidepressants.

What Adverse Reactions Can Appear while on Abilify?

The most common side effects associated with the use of Abilify are headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, anxiety, lightheadedness, tiredness, and sleep disturbances. According to clinical studies, about 11 % of participants, who received Abilify, discontinued the treatment because of the side effects. Among participants, treated with placebo or sugar pills, there were also 9 % of people, who decided to discontinue the treatment because of the same reason.

Black box warning was added to Abilify label because of the increased mortality in elderly people with dementia-related psychosis. Analyses of seventeen placebo-controlled trials in these patients revealed a risk of death in the Abilify-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times that seen in placebo-treated patients. That is why Abilify is not approved for treating elderly people with dementia-related psychosis.

Convulsions, difficult or fast breathing, rapid heartbeat, muscle rigidity and mental changes may also occur while taking Abilify. Though such symptoms are rare, these may be a sign of neuroleptic malignant syndrome, so a patient should be taken to hospital emergency room urgently. Tardive dyskinesia (symptoms include lip smacking or puckering, rapid or worn-like movements of the tongue, uncontrolled chewing motions, uncontrolled arm or leg movements) have also been reported in some patients, treated with Abilify.

How to Make the Most of Abilify Treatment?
  • Take Abilify only in the prescribed dose. Try to stick to the regimen of taking the medication at the same time every day. This will increase the effectiveness of the medicine and reduce side effects risks.
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  • Make healthy changes to your lifestyle. Avoid smoking, alcohol, and illegal street drugs. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Stick to the healthy diet balanced with fruits, vegetables, and fish and grains. Avoid sugar, coffee and chocolate.
  • Involve yourself into some interesting and joyful activity: think about your hobby.
  • Family and friends support can be of great help in treating bipolar depression. So, stay in contact with your relatives, friends, try to visit some suppport group with people, who also suffer from bipolar depression. Sharing your personal experience in fighting the disease can be of great help to other people too.

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