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Abilify
(aripiprazole)

Important
Abilify FDA Boxed Warning

Please note that it is important not to accept anyone's attempt to downplay this warning.  The FDA does not lightly issue a "boxed warning", the highest level caution given by that organization.  Read this carefully so you can decide for yourself if the the benefits of taking this drug or allowing it to be given to your child are worth these risks. 

View a short video about Abilify side effects:  Abilify Side Effects
View a short video about Abilify Boxed Warning concerning sudden death and the elderly: Abilify and the Elderly
View short video regarding antipsychotic medications such as Abilify and heart attacks:  Antipsychotics and Heart Attacks

Important warning for older adults with dementia:

Studies have shown that older adults with dementia (a brain disorder that affects the ability to remember, think clearly, communicate, and perform daily activities and that may cause changes in mood and personality) who take antipsychotics (medications for mental illness) such as aripiprazole have an increased chance of death during treatment. Older adults with dementia may also have a greater chance of having a stroke or mini-stroke or other severe side effects during treatment. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: slow or difficult speech, sudden dizziness or faintness, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, drowsiness, or difficulty swallowing.

Aripiprazole is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of behavior problems in older adults with dementia. Talk to the doctor who prescribed this medication if you, a family member, or someone you care for has dementia and is taking aripiprazole. For more information visit the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs.

Important warning for people who have depression:

A small number of children, teenagers, and young adults (up to 24 years of age) who took medications for depression during clinical studies became suicidal (thinking about harming or killing oneself or planning or trying to do so). Children, teenagers, and young adults who take antidepressants to treat depression or other mental illnesses may be more likely to become suicidal than children, teenagers, and young adults who do not take antidepressants to treat these conditions. However, experts are not sure about how great this risk is and how much it should be considered in deciding whether a child or teenager should take an antidepressant. Children younger than 18 years of age should not normally take aripiprazole to treat depression, but in some cases, a doctor may decide that aripiprazole is the best medication to treat a child's condition.

You should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways when you take aripiprazole or other antidepressants even if you are an adult over age 24. You may become suicidal, especially at the beginning of your treatment and any time that your dose is increased or decreased. You, your family, or your caregiver should call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: new or worsening depression; thinking about harming or killing yourself, or planning or trying to do so; extreme worry; agitation; panic attacks; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; aggressive behavior; irritability; acting without thinking; severe restlessness; and mania (frenzied, abnormally excited mood). Be sure that your family or caregiver knows which symptoms may be serious so they can call the doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.

Your healthcare provider will want to see you often while you are taking aripiprazole, especially at the beginning of your treatment. Be sure to keep all appointments for office visits with your doctor.

The doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with aripiprazole. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You also can obtain the Medication Guide from the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/InformationbyDrugClass/UCM096273.

No matter what your age, before you take an antidepressant, you, your parent, or your caregiver should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treating your condition with an antidepressant or with other treatments. You should also talk about the risks and benefits of not treating your condition. You should know that having depression or another mental illness greatly increases the risk that you will become suicidal. This risk is higher if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had bipolar disorder (mood that changes from depressed to abnormally excited) or mania or has thought about or attempted suicide. Talk to your doctor about your condition, symptoms, and personal and family medical history. You and your doctor will decide what type of treatment is right for you.

 

 

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