Abilify is an anti-psychotic medication used to treat several different conditions — schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety — in adults. It is sometimes used to treat symptoms of ADHD off-label. Learn more. Generic name: aripiprazole
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9 Comments & Reviews: Abilify
I don’t usually comment on this site, but when I saw that Abilify was prescribed for ADHD, I had to drop a note. I have never heard of this being prescribed for ADHD symptoms. I was prescribed this medicine for bipolar depression and it worked well when I got to the right dosage. It “balanced” me in a way that I wasn’t used to so I was pretty blah. Little motivation to do anything, whereas when ADHD meds have worked for me, I was far from blah and was able to start projects and then focus for hours. I know meds work differently for everyone, but I will say I got off of this after two months after learning of the weight gain side effect. So if your child needs to gain weight instead of lose, and this helps them focus, then go for it. It just didnt work for me. I’m on Lamictal now and it worked until recently, and I’m trying to find a Néw ADHD medicine because bipolar depression meds alone aren’t doing it for me. Good luck!
I (female 26) have been taking Abilify for 2 years for bipolar/depression and anxiety.
It is pretty good, only because of weight gain, I am switching to Vraylar. But I still recommend it as a helpful bipolar or depression drug. I don’t see how it helps with ADHD (I take vyvanse) but perhaps that is because I am not the hyperactive type.
I am a 70 Y.O. male with ADD, MDD, GAD, PTSD, ad infinitum. I was on Cymbalta 60mg and Wellbutrin 450mg and was still depressed. I started on Abilify twice and both times had to discontinue it because I was sleeping all the time and drooling when I was asleep. I can not speak to the effectiveness because I d/c it soon after starting it.
Even though Abilify seemed to work well for me, unfortunately, I’m one of the unlucky ones that got the side effect of Tardive Dyskinesia. Trust me, it is NOT just “muscle movements that won’t go away”. TD has ruined my teeth and mouth, not to mention the embarrassment of having to explain to people (who have never heard of TD) why my mouth is making these peculiar movements. Why, if these movements are uncontrollable and permanent, would you need to contact your doctor? I’ve tried every med for this disorder, including Botox in my tongue, with no results.
I was prescribed Abilify to deal with residual depression that Cymbalta (120 mg/day) and Lamictal (200 mg/day) didn’t completely eradicate. I was already taking 20 mg Adderall 3x/day for my ADHD. The Abilify completely eliminated my genetic depression, but to my surprise, it also corrected most of my ADHD symptoms! I still take the Adderall, too. I am reviewing this for an adult, myself, and I have taken it for five years. I take a generic, 10 mg/day. Unfortunately, I did have the weight gain everyone talks about. I feel so good, though, I’m staying on it and trying to deal with the weight in other ways, including accepting it. I buy larger, stretchier clothes, but I also reduce my portions, exercise 4x/week, and eat well.
I was prescribed Abilify as an adjunct to my antidepressant. The Abilify worked wonderfully: it actually got me out of bed and I felt that I had at least a little bit of energy.
Unfortunately, it put on 30 lbs in a 4-month period of time. The weight gain was not controllable. I immediately started on the Atkins diet once I saw the scale going up, but I continued to gain weight. I had to stop the medication after those 4 months. I am still dealing with the weight gain, 6 years later.
I was then diagnosed with hypothyroidism. My internist told me that the Abilify “turned my metabolism upside down.” I know that’s not a medical term, but it hit home.
My bottom line is that you should really watch your weight on a daily basis once you start the Abilify. Again, I could not control the weight gain, even though I was dieting.
I was dx’d with ADD in the 1990s and with Bipolar Disorder II around 2003. My ADD is mainly of the inattentive variety. I took Abilify for several months and did not find it helpful with regard to my ADD. I was on several other medications at the same time, some of which might have aggravated my ADD. But I just read above that Abilify is seen more as a treatment for the behavioural aspects of ADHD, rather than the inattentive aspects, so that may have been why.
Some thoughts to irlawrence re her/his concerns about the ineffectiveness of the Abilify and Intuniv cocktail on the child’s focus and attentiveness.
Abilify is usually used to address the behavioral aspects of ADHD more so than the inattentive, distractability, problems with ADD/HD. Similar emphasis for Intuniv.
You didn’t mention whether the other meds that had been tried before did help those areas of dysfunction, but only that the side effect of decreased appetite was a problem, and whether or not the current medicines were started after those had been stopped, or were taken together. One of the known side effects of Ability is weight gain. If it has not been used together with a (starting) low dose of Vyvanse (easy to titrate because the powder can be put in a measured amount of water and take only a measured amount of that, so dose changes can be in very small steps, like 5 or 10 mg increases (or decreases), or can try the liquid forms of either immediate or extended release methylphenidate or dextroamphetamine, or Adderall tablets….
Starting low you can monitor the appetite changes, if any, and possibly the weight gaining side effect of the Abilify might help ‘balance’ each other out, so you can get the benefit of the gold standard central nervous system medicines for the attention, focus, group of symptoms……
Also, make sure your son eats a big breakfast (before the medicine kicks in) and dinner — even if it’s a little later than you might prefer, and also don’t get hung up on how nutritious everything going into his mouth has to be, as long as it’s calories — ice cream, french fries, etc., and accept that he might eat light at school lunch time, but be sure he drinks fluids to stay hydrated.
It’s worth talking to your pediatrician or child psychiatrist about…..
My 5 yr old son is taking Abilify and Intuniv for ADHD and ODD. I want to know if any parents have success stories about this combo. His behavior has definitely improved, but it seems like this combo is not helping him with the attention/focusing issues. Before this, he was on Vyvanse, Strattera, Focalin, and all those made him lose too much weight and become aggressive.