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Treating Schizophrenia & Bipolar Disorder

Aripiprazole is an inexpensive atypical antipsychotic medication. It is effective in treating the symptoms of schizophrenia in adults and children 13 years of age and older; bipolar disorders in adults aged 18 years and older; Tourette’s disorder for children 6 years and older; and some symptoms of autism for children 6 to 17 years old.

This drug comes in generic and brand versions. The generic version of this drug, which is cheaper, was approved for medical use in the US in 2002. It comes in a tablet form, oral solution, and disintegrating tablet for you to take by mouth.

What condition does Aripiprazole treat?

Symptoms of psychotic conditions:

  • Schizophrenia: It’s a serious mental disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks, and behaves. This type of psychotic condition may result in a combination of delusions, hallucinations, and extremely disordered behavior and thinking that may impair daily function. People with this type of condition require lifelong treatment.
  • Bipolar disorder: Formerly known as a manic disorder, is a mental illness marked by extreme shifts in mood. People with this mental illness may have trouble managing everyday life. Currently, there’s no cure to this mental condition but there are several treatment options available to help manage the symptoms.

Neurodevelopmental disorder:

  • Tourette’s disorder: It’s a disorder that involves uncontrollable, repetitive movements, and unwanted sounds or tics. Typically, tics show up between ages 2 and 15. The exact cause is unknown but it’s likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Other developmental disorder:

  • Autism: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a life-long developmental disorder that includes problems in language, communication, and social skills. It typically appears during early childhood but some may seem to manifest symptoms from birth.

Other conditions:

  • Management and control of irritable behavior such as temper tantrums, aggression, and frequent mood changes in children.
  • Treatment of major depressive disorder in which treatment can’t be controlled alone using antidepressant medications.

How does Aripiprazole work?

  • Aripiprazole is an atypical antipsychotics medication. It’s a second-generation antipsychotic drug that is less likely to produce side effects like anxiety, tremor, paranoia, and dystonia like other drugs of its kind.
  • Aripiprazole works by acting on the serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain. These two are neurotransmitters involved in transmitting messages between brain cells.
  • Disturbances in the activity of dopamine and serotonin in the brain cause psychotic illnesses.
  • Regulating the amount of dopamine and serotonin chemicals in the brain may help control your condition.

What is the dosage of Aripiprazole?

Schizophrenia treatment:

  • The initial starting dose for an adult is 10mg to 15mg once a day. The maximum dose is 30mg a day.
  • The initial dose for children ages 13 to 17 is 2mg a day for two days. Then take 5mg once a day for the next two days. Your doctor may increase your dose if needed.

Bipolar disorder treatment:

  • The initial starting dose for an adult is 15mg once a day. The maximum dose is 30mg a day.
  • The initial dose for children ages 10 to 17 is 2mg a day for two days. Then take 5mg once a day for the next two days. Your doctor may increase your dose if needed.

Major depression treatment:

  • The typical dose for an adult is 2mg to 5mg once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose up to 5mg at a time.

Autistic disorder treatment:

  • The typical dose for children 6 to 17 years old is 2mg a day. Your doctor may increase your dose if needed.

Tourette syndrome treatment:

  • The typical dose for children 6 to 18 years old is 2mg a day. The maximum dose is 10mg to 20mg a day.

 

How to take Aripiprazole?

  • Take your medication exactly as prescribed by your physician. Do not take more or less than what is prescribed to you. You can take it with or without food.
  • People experiencing moderate to severe episodes of mania should use this on a long-term basis to help control the condition and prevent a further manic episode.
  • Do not stop taking your medication even if you feel better. Aripiprazole can help control the symptoms of your illness but it won’t cure it. Your symptoms may come back once you stop your medication.

What are the precautions in taking Aripiprazole?

  • Use Aripiprazole with caution among patients with:
    • Severely decreased liver function
    • High blood pressure
    • History of stroke or mini-stroke, epilepsy
    • Who are obese
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Who are taking stimulants for ADHD
    • Disease involving the blood vessels in the brain
    • History or family history of a blood clot
    • Abnormal heart rhythm
    • Risk factors for getting a blood clot like smoking, obesity, taking contraceptive pills
    • People who are 65 years of age
  • Do not use if you are:
    • Pregnant
    • Allergic to any of its ingredients
    • In treating manic episodes for children 13 years and below
    • In treating schizophrenia in children 15 years and below

 

  • This medication is not recommended for use in older adults with dementia-related psychosis as this may increase the risk of death.
  • Stay alert to mood changes or symptoms as reported new and worsening symptoms may happen particularly at the start of the treatment.
  • You need to have regular blood tests to check how this medicine is affecting your body.
  • Aripiprazole can cause blurred vision and sleepiness and so may reduce your ability to drive or do anything that requires mental alertness.
  • Antipsychotic medications are associated with an increased risk of getting a blood clot. For this reason, consult with your doctor right away if you get symptoms like swelling in one leg, pain when breathing, and coughing of blood.

Costs of Generic Aripiprazole vs. Abilify

Aripiprazole is an inexpensive drug used in treating the symptoms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Tourette syndromes, and symptoms of autism. It is much cheaper compared with the brand name Abilify. Aripiprazole 15mg cost $0.79 per unit price or $71 for 90 tabs. While the brand name Abilify costs $2,679.02 for 90 tabs or $29.76 per unit price.

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