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Abilify Side Effects Can Be Scary!

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Abilify (aripiprazole) is one of the most successful drugs in the pharmacy. Last year this medication had sales of over $5,000,000,000, making it the # 2 medication on the top 10 hit parade of best selling drugs (in dollars). 

One of the reasons for such popularity might be the amazing direct-to-consumer advertising campaign for Abilify. Perhaps you have seen the commercials on television.

In one, a cartoon woman complains that although her antidepressant works hard to help with her depression, it just wasn't up to the task. She still "struggled to get going, even get through the day." So, the cartoon character is seen confiding to her doctor that she has been "stuck for a long time."

The cartoon doctor recommends adding a cartoon Abilify (in the form of a big letter A with eyeballs) to the poor inadequate cartoon Rx pill antidepressant. Now the cartoon woman is seen smiling together with a smiling Abilify and a smiling antidepressant pill. They leave the cartoon doctor (who is also smiling) with the hope that the combination would make her feel better soon. Her only regret: "I wish I had talked to my doctor sooner."

Then, in the classic voice-over, we hear about some of Abilify's side effects:

"Abilify is not for everyone.

Call your doctor if your depression worsens or if you have unusual changes in behavior or thoughts of suicide...

Elderly dementia patients taking Abilify have an increased risk of death or stroke.

Call your doctor if you have high fever, stiff muscles and confusion to address a possible life threatening condition or if you have uncontrollable muscle movements as these can become permanent. High blood sugar has been reported with Abilify and medicines like it and in extreme cases can lead to coma or death.

Other risks include increased cholesterol, weight gain,, decreases in white blood cells which can be serious, dizziness on standing, seizures, trouble swallowing, and impaired judgment or motor skills."

While this long list of scary side effects is being read by the announcer we see our cartoon woman interacting with her smiling cartoon character colleagues at work and then serving lemonade to her smiling cartoon family at a backyard barbecue. It's hard to worry about life-threatening drug complications when everyone seems to be having such a good time.

Abilify was developed as an antipsychotic medication to help people with schizophrenia. For such patients it may be quite appropriate and help them maintain functionality. But it is a powerful medication with many serious side effects. To better understand how this drug and other "atypical antipsychotics" (Risperdal, Seroquel, Geodon, Zyprexa) affect people we offer some stories from real patients who have posted their comments to this website, without the distraction of smiling cartoon characters.

Judy writes:

"I was on a low dose of Abilify for a year and a half. The drug was discontinued but I still developed tardive dyskinesia of the mouth that has persisted for over a year. It is debilitating.

"My psychiatrist who prescribed it was so surprised that I developed this. He said he never had anyone else with it.

"How can he be so clueless? I can only guess that with time, he will find more people who develop serious side effects as well. The TV ad lists the side effects casually, as if they are minor, or will go away if the drug is stopped. Please warn others!"

 PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

Tardive dyskinesia (TD) can be incredibly debilitating. It results from drug-induced damage to the brain and can cause uncontrollable muscle movements such as lip smacking, tongue protrusion and grimacing. Some people develop rapid eye blinking or other involuntary movements. Most of the antipsychotic medications can cause this, and we are surprised that your psychiatrist was unaware of this potentially irreversible neurological complication.


Chica shares her experience:

"I was put on a very low dose of Abilify yet had severe weight gain and developed diabetes. I wasn't on this drug for more than 3 months. I am very disappointed and Abilify didn't help relieve my depression either."


Bryan provides this account of TD & akathisia:

"I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was placed on a mood stabilizer and antidepressant. The psychiatrist indicated that Abilify would be helpful to add to my regimen to assist towards reaching the desired therapeutic effect.

"I began to pace and was unable to sit still. I literally walked the halls for three days straight. I was desperate for relief and felt in order to keep myself safe I needed to be hospitalized during that time.

"The symptoms persisted long after the medication was taken away. I also had uncontrollable movements with my tongue and slurred speech. None of these side effects were discussed with me.

"May I strongly encourage that you develop a strong alliance with your psychiatrist. If you feel your doctors are not proactive and forthright about the effects of your meds, find a health professional who is. Your quality of life could be adversely and permanently affected."

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

It sounds as if you experienced something called akathisia as well as tardive dyskinesia. Trying to explain akathisia to someone who has not experienced it can be challenging. It is characterized by an inner restlessness that won't stop. Your description of having to walk the halls continuously just begins to get at this devastating side effect. Other people report pressure on their knees that forces them to pace nonstop or jiggle their legs for hours or even days. It is incredibly debilitating. As mentioned above, symptoms of tardive dyskinesia (uncontrollable muscle movements) can be permanent.


This from Stan:

"Abilify was a horrific drug for me. Used as an adjunct to my antidepressant regimen at the time, it seemed to 'dumb me down' severely, and was detrimental to my memory and cognitive abilities. Didn't work for me. This may be a less reported side effect."


Jewel's experience with Seroquel for insomnia:

"I am a 40 year-old female. After suffering a rare stress-induced heart attack I was given Seroquel. I wasn't asked of course or told what it was.

"I was very stressed and agree I needed the rest for sure, however I was out of it on this medication. Someone from smoking cessation came to talk to me and I would have thought it was a dream but he left paperwork beside my bed.

"I was amazed as I have never had a medicine that just literally paralyzed me physically and mentally. Had they admitted me to a facility and continue on Seroquel until I died I would have opened my mouth and took the pill and did as instructed. My ability to think and/or say no was gone. I am a single mother of 3 and they actually sent me home with a script for this stuff. No way was I going to continue taking it."


A tragic death reported by E.N.

 "Risperdal killed my mother. In 2002 she was in her mid-eighties and in assisted living. The psychiatrist on call put her on Risperdal [risperidone] because she was "argumentative."

"My mother was also a type 2 diabetic and had been on oral meds for that condition for over 20 years. She was only on Risperdal for a short time, maybe two months, when she tested very high for sugar one day. She was given an injection of insulin that evening and not checked on for several hours. At that time, she was "unresponsive" and taken to the hospital where she died a short time later, never having regained consciousness.

"The doctor said she died of natural causes. In researching her meds, I came upon the information about Risperdal being dangerous for diabetics."


There is a black box warning about Risperdal (and other antipsychotic medications):

"Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. RISPERDAL® is not approved for use in patients with dementia-related psychosis."

 

ABILIFY (ARIPIPRAZOLE) SIDE EFFECTS

  • Digestive tract distress, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, constipation, incontinence
  • Weight gain, increased appetite
  • Headache, dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Anxiety, agitation, restlessness, tremor, akathisia: uncontrollable urge to move or pace
  • Insomnia, fatigue, sedation
  • Dry mouth, excessive salivation, drooling
  • Blurred vision
  • Arthritis, muscle pain
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Fever (a potentially life-threatening symptom requiring immediate medical attention)
  • Tardive dyskinesia, uncontrollable muscle movements, lip smacking, grimacing, neck twisting
  • Stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Low blood pressure, especially when standing, dizziness
  • Diabetes, elevated blood sugar
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heart rhythms, palpitations,
  • Pancreatitis, gall bladder problems
  • Blood disorders
  • Low sodium, high potassium
  • Worsening depression, suicidal thoughts

SUDDEN DISCONTINUATION SYNDROME (WITHDRAWAL): A Dirty Little Secret!

 The track record of psychiatry has been abysmal when it comes to studying sudden withdrawal from commonly prescribed medications. It took years for researchers to discover that when patients suddenly stopped benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium) or lorazepam (Ativan) they often experienced very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ditto for antidepressants like citalopram (Celexa), duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), sertraline (Zoloft) and venlafaxine (Effexor).

Stopping atypical antipsychotics suddenly may also lead to withdrawal symptoms, but this phenomenon has not been well studied. Some possible reactions that have been reported include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, anxiety, agitation, confusion, uncontrollable muscular movements and sweating.

Because withdrawal from antipsychotic medications is underappreciated, there are few guidelines given to physicians on how to wean patients off such drugs. The FDA has not been very helpful. No one should ever stop such drugs suddenly, though. Please discuss this potential complication with a health professional before beginning this journey.

What has your experience been with medications like aripiprazole (Abilify), risperidone (Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel), ziprasidone (Geodon) or olanzepine (Zyprexa)? We recognize that such medications can be very valuable, especially for patients with schizophrenia. Others, however, may find such drugs difficult to handle. Please comment below so that other people can benefit from your story.

 

 

 

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My grandmother had been under a lot of anxiety and stress, and had not been sleeping well for a while. She became highly agitated and confused, speaking gibberish. The ER doctors put her on Haldol, which caused tremors in her head and hands after a month or so. The next year, she had another similar episode and the ER doctors put her on Seroquel. She developed head nodding, and a strange tongue and lower lip protrusion movement. She has just had another episode recently, and her doctor gave her Risperdal. I am very concerned about these drugs even though she has a low dosage. They do help her sleep and keep her calm, but the side effects are scary and can be permanent. They should be weaned off very slowly as soon as they are no longer needed.

my friend was on Prozac without much relief, the doctor added Abilify and his face froze up, his tongue acted swollen, it was hard to speak, he was disoriented, I insisted he was over-medicated, the doctor insisted he was extremely depressed, I got on the internet and asked friends, one mentioned the tardive dyskinesia and sure enough, with the "name" of what I knew was going on, I was able to speak to his doctors on his behalf and they removed the Abilify, then they cut the Prozac in half, and he began to get better slowly, I was so afraid when I read on line that the face issues could be permanent, thank God it was not, can't believe they hand this stuff out like candy and then want to argue with the effects... so until I could "prove" he was over-medicated by knowing the "name" of what was happening TD, they might have tried another drug on top of that!

As a school psychologist I have seen this drug and the list of others used with very young children. Often the children who were already aggressive and difficult to manage became worse or suffered many of the side effects that were noted. I am wondering what readers experience has been with young people on these medications.

My son, who suffered schizophrenia for over 20 years, participated in an early trial of aripiprozole in Terrell state hospital in Texas. He reported homicidal thoughts & no lessening of symptoms. He killed a dog and then himself. I couldn't believe it when I saw this drug being pushed onto patients through TV commercials years later.

I have never seen homicidal thoughts listed as a contraindications for this drug--it makes tardive dyskinesia, which is listed, look very insignificant.

I wonder how many other horrible consequences of taking this drug have not been reported as it went through the "approval" process? I would really like to hear of other failures to inform patients & their families (maybe even on TV advertising) about the most horrible consequences that are possible.

My son was participating in an official pre-approval study conducted by a state mental hospital which was designed to discover problems with the drug, & his significant problem was duly reported. Mental illnesses, including depression, deserve true respect for the patient, & unsafe drugs have for years been commonly prescribed. Maybe money spent on advertising could be used to discover better more humane alternatives than the present methods.

The pharmaceuticals are often stupefying & merely the least debilitating of the choices physicians have to chose from. Perhaps the research process should be completely separate from the pharmaceutical industry so there would not be such an imperative to push a drug through to the commercial, including the television, market presumably due to the cost of research & then initiating unfathomably expensive marketing schemes. (This is pretty delusional to even wish for.)

Non-drug treatments might be considered worthy of researchers attention if they didn't have to worry about the overwhelming presence of pharmaceutical companies in obtaining funding for treatment ideas that wouldn't be lucrative for the companies. A bit long, but I'm glad to have an opportunity to speak. MLR

My 77 year old husband was on Abilify, among other medications, for perhaps 2 years, to help him with treatment resistant severe depression... he developed Parkinsonian side effects (mincing foot steps, tiny handwriting, extremely slow movements, stooped posture). All of these symptoms had alternative explanations, given his recent medical history, so we did not associate these symptoms with the medication.

A relative who is a psychiatrist observed him and let us know these symptoms might be related to the Abilfiy. After consultation with the treating psychiatrist he was taken off the medication, and all of these symptoms have resolved! However, his depression worsened markedly and he developed the tardive dyskenesia (involuntary open mouthed tooth clenching).

I am happy to report that 6 months later the TDK is gone most of the time, and with a new antidepressant he is better than ever. I do think the doctor took him off the Abilify too quickly (about a 10 day taper)--perhaps he would not have had the depression relapse and TDK with a slower withdrawal.

Thank you for asking me to relate some of my experience with antipsychotics. I was first under psychiatric treatment when 17 years old and put on very large doses of Thorazine. (1 gm. I believe) I was diagnosed as having an acute psychotic episode and many months later with bipolar affective disorder (type 1). I experienced severe akathisia and could not sit down and paced most of the day in the psychiatric hospital even with Cogentin prescribed.

I have been tried on most of the antipsychotics except the newer ones because Zyprexa does work well for me. In many ways, I owe having a life outside of a psychiatric hospital due to that medication and some very good psychiatrists. So, I am not anti-medication because I know how awful psychosis is. It is like living a waking nightmare. That being said, the side-effects can be horrendous. Akathisia, when deliberately induced in political prisoners, is considered actual torture. It feels like you want to jump out of your skin constantly and drives me to want to pace constantly.

I have gone for three days straight pacing in my apartment without sleep, with my feet swollen to the extreme, while taking the maximum amount of the antipsychotic prescribed--but it still was not enough. I did get prescribed more antipsychotic and finally the manic episode subsided, but I lost my psychiatrist in the process because I was so demanding. He was the man who taught me how to regulate my medication under his direction and medicate for manias and hypo-manias. I will be forever grateful to him because I can and do know when I start an episode and have to take antipsychotics (and also to the psychoanalyst who taught me to know my warning signals many years ago, the late,great Dr. Roy Alan Ginsburg of Stanford Univ.) My current psychiatrist has truly gone the extra mile with me in helping me manage my illness. He put me on Zyprexa and it is the best antipsychotic I have taken.

I still do have psychosis when in manias but they are lessened significantly and eventually subside. When I was hospitalized before, my doctor, who taught nursing students about psych meds, used to have them talk to me about my experiences with medications. I was in manic psychoses, but I could and did teach them and they always thanked me, so I feel grateful to be able to write something here. I now am on a regime where my dose of Zyprexa is from 0-40 mg. Since you are pharmacists, you know what a span that is and it is indicative of the severity of my affliction. I adhere to a macrobiotic plan of eating and it has greatly helped to balance my mood disorder, but I still must be vigilant for manias and I *must* medicate accordingly when they occur.

My number one warning signal is my sleep. I live alone and although I graduated college, I have been considered disabled because at the drop of the hat, I can go into a mania in which I do not function and believe things that are unreal. Although I have no history of violence, I become fearful of most anyone and just retreat into the living nightmare world of the disease.

I cannot take antidepressants because they all make me go manic and have had to find ways to cope with severe depression. I have been helped by macrobiotics, working with horses, therapy and most especially my faith, The Summit Lighthouse. The rosary has helped me endure this affliction and I would suggest that there is no medication that can ever be developed that will help more. Still, I was encouraged by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, co-founder of my church, to stay under the care of a psychiatrist and take my medication as directed. This was invaluable advice for me because I as I told my previous psychiatrist once, "if I was not able to regulate my medication under your direction, I would have to be permanently hospitalized in a state hospital." He said, "that is right."

So, there you go--this is a long piece, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to work with your doctor if you have as a severe psychiatric condition as I have. That is what my spiritual teacher taught me and I would like to pass it on--and also how much macrobiotics can help. I attended a week-long program at the Kushi Institute in 2003 and it was a life-changing experience, I was on daily Zyprexa at that point and gradually am not on any except for during manic episodes. At Kushi, they, too, emphasized working with my doctor, I'd like to add. I used to be 240 pounds and now am 145 and have a 100/70 blood pressure and 122 total cholesterol and am 54 years old, so those numbers would mean something to you as well. I am exceedingly grateful to be able to bear witness to my journey here. Thank you so much!

I have flipped between Risperdal and Seroquel. The Seroquel especially has been a Godsend to me except for the continuing tremors. Seroquel keeps me calm and slows my BP mind down so I can think. Unfortunately, I also take Depakote- which I hate-I'm surprised I don't have Diabetes from this drug that has made me gain 60lbs in the first year.

My doc refuses to let me off of it. My current cocktail is Seroquel generic, Seroquel XR, Depakote brandname (the generic tore up my stomach like sandpaper) and Lithium. The Seroquel XR exacerbates the diarrhea the other drugs gave me so during certain times of the month I cannot leave the house. I hate all these drugs with a passion and I am sure they have taken 20 years off my life.

People with High end Mental diseases need mechanical solutions to our illnesses, such as surgery not moneymakers, like "medicine". We are hated and shunned in society and no one wants to stand up for people like us. The general public thinks "Oh take a drug and you'll be fine" but in actuality we acclimate to all drugs eventually- some quickly, some not. This means a whole new battery of drugs must be tested and changed throughout our lives.

This is assuming you can get the Chronically Mentally Ill, Homeless people, those in Prison and those who fall through without any care (Jared Loghner). I am also convinced that these drugs at the very least should be tested for women as we acclimated to medicine differently. BTW I tried Geodon and Zyprexa. They gave me hallucinations. Yuck! Scary!

I was prescribed Zoloft (sertraline) in 1997 for OCD and moderate depression. As the years went by, I gained weight and started falling more often; maybe once or twice a month. Eventually I broke my leg near my ankle while walking across a lawn! After a while, I also realized how passive I had become and it started to really bother me.

With my doctor's blessing I tapered off the Zoloft. It took about nine months, but I think the gradual method is the best. I became aware of my "angry" self and started getting help to deal with my emotions. I have also lost about 65 pounds as a good side effect of this decision.

If you want to learn more about psychiatric drugs, side effects and withdrawal I would like to recommend Peter R. Breggin's latest book - Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal (2013). He has written a number of books - google his name or visit - peterbreggin.org.

I also like Robert Whitaker´s books:
The anatomy of an epidemic
Mad in America (I think there`s a site with the same name)

There are several videos, but the only one I can think of rigth now is - "Who Cares in Sweden". Google "Who Cares in Sweden" or visit artimus.se.
You will find the video under "produktioner". it's divided in 3 parts and I think it`s good to see them little by little (total of 3 hours).

I would also like to recommend davidhealy.org.

I started to learn things about psychotropic drugs when my father was drugged at a nursing home ten years ago. Some years later, a friend of mine was given Risperdal for sleeping problems, but by then I knew it had to stop. I couldn't have "fought that battle" if it weren't for the Internet, the information, patient stories and the books that I found there.

Last, but not least, remember psychiatric problems can also be due to disease (non psychiatric) and side effects.

I am a licensed clinical social worker in private practice with over 25 years in mental health. In the last few years I have encountered clients who were prescribed Abilify and Seroquel for depression by their primary care practitioners (not psychiatrists). In my opinion, each time it has not been an effective medication. I have worked in medical settings and witnessed company pharmaceutical representatives market these drugs (among others) as "experts" to the doctors. It is a business and it is marketing to encourage doctors with tactics that increase pharmaceutical company profits. Even in private practice, there are times I can make a good guess which reps have been through the area. Thank you for this article and your frankness.

My oncologist prescribed Effexor for the severe hot flashes caused by cancer treatment. It was very effective for that, but it caused total sexual dysfunction. Because of that I decided to stop taking it. I knew to taper off the drug slowly, but even so, I wound up nearly psychotic and suicidal. I am mortified when I think back on what I put my husband and family through because of that drug. I have never found such a simple solution for the original problem, but Effexor was definitely not worth the risks. These anti-depressants are potentially very, very dangerous. It sounds like the anti-psychotics are even worse.

I was first diagnosed 36 years ago; my problem was hearing voices. I was heavily over-drugged by my bad first doctor (a decade of traumatized women later, the other doctors ran him out of town). My second doctor tried a number of drugs, but finally reverted to Stelazine, one of the drugs I was on when I came to him. My third doc recommended risperidone, which I have taken since 1997. Risperidone is effective for me, and much less stupefying than Stelazine. Docs seem to come and go, but the three since then have all kept me on risperidone.

Until the last few years, I was refused counseling and told to just take my pills. I wasn't getting better, however. In 1984, shortly after I started with my second doctor, I learned about a self-help group for mentally ill people called GROW, which I found very helpful for more than six years.

Starting about 1985, I began trying various strategies that my husband calls mind-management. Here’s an early one: Rather than constantly trying to silence/ignore the voices, every day or two I would sit down and convene a conference with them, to find out what I was thinking and feeling. Both my doc and my husband were horrified with this tactic, but I got lots better. I continued to experiment on myself and found what worked for me. I got even better.

In 2008, I told my then-doctor I wanted to try reducing the risperidone. With mind-management, I had had more than a year of success at preventing voices altogether. I described my proposed protocol to the doctor, and he made some dosage recommendations. I was much more cautious than he was; I took five years of careful, patient self-monitoring to reach zero. I had no difficulty with voices during those five years. The mind management skills were working fine. They continued to work fine at zero.

Then symptoms appeared that I had never experienced before in such magnitude: mood swings, and problems with what I call sensory overload. I toughed it out, but the mood swings became worse. Since this was outside my previous experience, mind management couldn't take over fast enough. After four and a half months at zero, I went back on risperidone, choosing the dosage which had been successful a year before reaching zero (1/8th of the original dose). I remain at that level, and I’m quite stable now. But it took six months for me to trust that I was okay.

For me, risperidone has been of great service. I do have side effects, such as some involuntary muscle movements. I also have gained some 50 additional pounds (beyond the 40 pounds on earlier medications). I experience "bruising," which the doc acknowledges sometimes means hemorrhagic stroking. But with all my previous drug history, it is hard to know where to assign these effects. My current dose is so low it is at the margin of what one doc called the therapeutic threshold. Sometime in the future I may take another try at reaching zero. In the meantime, although effects of taking drugs for so long are still with me, I am grateful for the control risperidone provides. It lets me lead a fairly normal and satisfying life.

I was put on Abilify 2 years ago for off-label treatment of trichotillomania: compulsive hair-pulling. I did not have anxiety or depression or any mental conditions prior to this.

The Abilify itself worked great; I thought it was a miracle pill. It improved my mood which had already been great, and reduced my chronic hair-pulling significantly. When I started gaining weight, I considered stopping until I could get a better job to afford a gym membership and the pill itself--it was kind of pricy even with insurance. So I just stopped. My doctor knew this, and did not warn me to titrate; she didn't tell me anything about the drug, its effects, its withdrawal dangers, nothing. And I was so desperate to stop pulling, I didn't do any research. I wanted to believe only good things about this pill.

By that point I was on 10-15 mg a day. About a week after stopping, I experienced the worst 5 days of my life: constant adrenaline, physical but not mental anxiety, a racing and pounding heart all day, constant urges to weep and vomit out of nowhere, no appetite, depression and a feeling of "what's the point of life," and shakiness. I took 5 mg of Abilify hoping to stop this on Day 3, but it did nothing except cause depersonalization--I felt like I was living in a dream, going through the motions, and nothing, not even myself, was real.

This ended on Day 5 just as suddenly as it began. I was in college at the time, about to graduate, and my doctor attributed it to stress. Never mind the fact I was happy to leave school, and was coping with my normal "what am I going to do after I graduate" stress just fine before that.

Fast-forward two years later and these episodes are still going on. 3-10 days, on average (sometimes 1, sometimes as high as 3 weeks) of all the symptoms I've described above, except depersonalization, plus headaches, a "burning" feeling in my brain, like an internal fever; dark urine that I now worry may be rhapdomyolysis (a documented symptom, one of many, of discontinuing Abilify); morning insomnia, bruxism (night-time teeth grinding), and an INCREASE in my hair-pulling, as well as the development of dermatillomania, compulsive skin picking, on my scalp.

Between these episodes, I have 2-3 weeks on average of complete normalcy. Not mania--but just happiness with normal sadness and stress triggered by normal things. I'm myself again. Then, out of nowhere, one morning I wake up in another episode and have to suffer until it's gone.

Finding a doctor to take me seriously has been hard--they all think it's generalized anxiety disorder, but agree flippantly that Abilify could have done this. I'm terrified I will be this way the rest of my life. Had I known at ALL what Abilify could do, or that it wasn't in fact a miracle drug--that it started to treat schizophrenia--I would have gladly lived with my hair-pulling as it was for the rest of my life.

The damage Abilify has done to my body and brain is not worth anything it did while I was on it. To anyone considering this for their trich, or anything but serious psych disorders (and even then perhaps), RESEARCH EVERYTHING. To me, this was NOT worth it. As unhappy as pulling my hair made me, it was nothing close to this misery I'm in now.

My child was on risperidone, I believe at 2 mg / day, for aggression and agitation associated with ASD. We tapered off, due to movement side effects, over a period of 3 weeks (reducing .5 mg / week).

It was 3 weeks of pure hell - worse mood swings and aggression. If I had to do it again I'd try to reduce the dose even more gradually than that. He has been off it for at least a year now and I am just stopping the anti-side effect meds to see if they're totally gone. One of his providers recently suggested trying Abilify, and I am very hesitant.

I was prescribed Abilify and Paxil for depression in my freshman year of college. I was on my way to class and both my legs became frozen, I literally could not walk normally and started walking as if both my legs were crippled. It was a terrifying experience and my judgement also was significantly impaired. I have lived with severe depression my whole adult life and do not take any medications, I prefer to muddle through it. Horrific Experience.

I have deppression and when I suffer from it I take a prozac type 20 mg on top of Abifily. In the UK I think it is more given to, when one has psychological symptoms. When you hallucinate and not when you are simply just depressive. Where both medications together work very well and for very strong depression and I took this for 1 to 3 days and then it was gone. I think it is a waste of money to give Abifily out for simple depression.
What annoyed me is that you are told that you take these medications for life and anti depressants for a very long time. Both together for a long time make me too weak, I can't go to work then.

I am off Abifily as my hallucinations are down to 90%, is true.
I found it a bit strange to go to the pharmacist for life every month I rather searched for another healing method and that was catholic religion.

Abifily cost £100; too much for simple depression.

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