Abilify: A New Medication Comes to Market (January/2003)
Abilify is a new anti-psychotic for schizophrenia, which may end up being used for mania, tics, aggression and psychotic depression.
Presently, it is quite new and early studies reported close testing in a few thousand patients. Currently, there are about 40 studies published on the medication.
What is unique about Abilify?
One of the problems with some medications, especially psychosis and mania medications is that many cause weight gain. Some cause profound weight gain. Abilify does not seem to have this problem. Some physicians are reporting large weight losses when patients are changed from current anti-psychotics to Abilify. A belly over 34 inches in a woman and 39 inches in a man (using an honest tape measure), is a very deadly thing. Therefore, Abilify may be helpful in not adding other illnesses like diabetes to mentally struggling people.
Some current anti-psychotic medications cause a slight slowing of the pace maker impulse through the heart (QTc interval), but it appears Abilify is safe in this regard.
Some individuals need to be careful when standing up fast since the body adjustment center may act slightly slower when you take Abilify. If you feel dizzy when standing discuss this with your physician. While this is not uncommon in many medication classes, it should not be ignored.
It appears to only be slightly sedating.
Effects on muscles and the creation of movement disorders, such as stiffness, new restlessness, and involuntary tongue, lip and finger movements, which are always possible in drugs from this general class, appear to be minimal.
It helps both the hallucinations and delusions of schizophrenia, but also problems of withdrawal and emotional dullness.
Abilify has a unique dual mechanism of effecting the D2 receptor and two Serotonin receptors.
Generally, the "recommended dose" is 10-30 mg. per day. As always, if able, I would have day one be a 1/2 of the smallest pill, which would be 1/2 of a 10 mg or 5 mg. If YOU DO NOT FEEL ill, the second dose could be given in 12 hours if YOU FEEL FINE.
Prolactin, which can go up with many antipsychotics and hurt bone and give males little breasts, appears to stay the same or go down with Abilify.
While your doctor should check a drug interaction sheet, this appears to be minimal with Abilify.
Glucose levels and lipid levels may go down in those taking Abilify.
Since it has not been used in millions yet, I would recommend taking a liver protectant to help remove the drug.
I could write more but this is just meant as a short introduction.
To Your Health!
James Schaller, MD, MAR