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Abilify? Can anyone explain


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Abilify is basically, from what I understand, a mood stabilizer.

Pros - I find it works for me, I seem to be doing much better. My depression has faded, I'm concentrating on responsibility, I'm moving forward.

Cons - It has weird side effects, like problems swallowing, and with me, it seems to be mimicking a cold. Reacts with several medicines. Can't take many cold medicines.

I find abilify to be great. But talk to your doctor, maybe something else would be better. Every person seems to react different to every medications.

- Anonymous

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well i think their ad campaign is deplorable, but i think any Rx ad aimed at the general public is deplorable -since it basicly targets people's hopes and fears and ignorance.

I have consistently found that my best source of info re medication is a good pharmacist. In my considerable experience i've found that they know more about the drug than the doctors.

vale,

Poet

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Abilify is a psychotropic medication used to decrease schizophrenic symptoms.

It has dangerous adverse effects and personally, I'd rather that you consult with your physician first.

It's just one drug that may do the job but it's not always better.

"your depression medication just ins't enough" << yeah and there's a chance that this drug won't do the trick either.

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I took abilify once...it actually was the best medication I'd ever had for my symptoms. I took it along with 2 other meds. I was feeling great, but I began to have the serious side effects associated with this med, and I had to immediately stop taking it. That's the first drug I've ever had the serious side effects to.

It was like my tongue was doing high impact aerobics and my throat started swelling. Luckily, I wasn't on it long enough to retain the tardive dsykenisia, and my tongue was finally able to relax, although I had to take vitamin E for a while.

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Well i think their ad campaign is deplorable, but i think any Rx ad aimed at the general public is deplorable -since it basicly targets people's hopes and fears and ignorance.

I have consistently found that my best source of info re medication is a good pharmacist. In my considerable experience i've found that they know more about the drug than the doctors.

vale,

Poet

I completely agree with the above quote! In fact, I would go so far as to say that my reaction to those stupid Abilify commercials was to translate the message into something like: "Hey desperate suffering person---if our first expensive and useless product didn't work for you, we have a great idea! You should add a second expensive, potentially dangerous, med to the mix. Even if it doesn't work (& may even harm you), we will profit anyway." :)

Pharmacists are better sources of drug information since doctors often only know what the drug sales reps tell them. Grrr. :mad:

Catmom

Edited by Catmom
typo
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Very much a good idea to talk to a pharmacist to gain a better perspective on medications, and in particular, how medications interact with one another.

Websites like rxlist.com provide drug information. In this case: http://www.rxlist.com/abilify-drug.htm

Basically, Abilify is what is thought of as an atypical antipsychotic medicine, meaning that it was originally developed as a second-generation medication for treating symptoms of psychosis (e.g., the hallucinations characteristic of Schizophrenia for example). The first generation anti-psychotic medications are now thought of as "typical antipsychotics" and the newer ones are known as "atypical". Not sure myself why that particular language has been used.

So - what psychiatrists have found is that it's not terribly useful to think of medications in the rigid categories we know them to be members of. So - "antipsychotic" drugs like Abilify can be useful for more than simply treating symptoms of psychosis. In this case (of the ads), they are being used as a supplement for other treatments aimed at stabilizing moods in bipolar disorder, I believe.

Tab 6 in the rxlist site entry for Abilify talks about the "mechanisms of action". Like all medications of this type, no one really knows for sure in totality exactly how they work, but some mechanisms are known:

The mechanism of action of aripiprazole, as with other drugs having efficacy in Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and agitation associated with Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder, is unknown. However, it has been proposed that the efficacy of aripiprazole is mediated through a combination of partial agonist activity at D2 and 5-HT1A receptors and antagonist activity at 5-HT2A receptors.
In English, this medication is suspected to affect the neurotransmitters Dopamine (D) and Serotonin (5-HT). The values given as subscripts are the specific types of receptor molecules that are thought to be affected by the medication. There is more than one kind of dopamine receptor, for instnace, and as such they are noted as D1, D2, etc.

The concepts of agonism and antagonism are important. A drug is always an agonist or antagonist in relationship to some neurotransmitter. If it is an agonist, that means it helps the neurotransmitter do its job more efficiently. If it is an antagonist, that means it interfers with that neurotransmitter's ability to do its job. So - this drug helps along or amplifys dopamine signals that are set off by D2 receptor activity and serotonin activity set off by 5-HT1A receptors, but it blocks the activity of serotonin at 2A receptors. Because all of these neurotransmitters are in a delicate balance, differential activity within these various subsystems (and who knows where else) causes the drug's effects to occur.

THough the FDA regulates what different medications are approved for treating, doctors have great latitude in deciding to use medications for non-approved purposes. When you see a television or magazine advertisement, however, that is always for an FDA approved use.

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So - what psychiatrists have found is that it's not terribly useful to think of medications in the rigid categories we know them to be members of.

This is a case in which it is not the psychiatrists, per se, who find these "rigid categories" not so useful, but it is the pharmaceutical companies who are driven by the profit motive to find ever widening applications for their very costly drugs.

I do not begrudge them making a profit but the way they are doing it, by playing to consumers fears and weaknesses and encouraging patients to pressure doctors to prescribe powerful medications, is simply unethical.

Catmom

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Catmom,

This is a case in which it is not the psychiatrists, per se, who find these "rigid categories" not so useful, but it is the pharmaceutical companies who are driven by the profit motive to find ever widening applications for their very costly drugs.

Undoubtibly there is a lot of this that happens, but I don't think that it's only the pharmas who come up with creative ways to use medications, and I don't think that the motive for using these drugs in non-indicated ways is always a profit motive. So - I'm agreeing with you, but believe that the situation is not quite so one-sided as you propose it to be. As in any profession, the majority of people in it do what they are taught to do (or marketed at to do) without trying to think it through creatively, but there are always those also who do come up with novel approaches that can be helpful, and it is not always marketers who come up with these ideas. Once they are out there, however, I'm sure that the marketers jump on them and lobby the FDA to open up a new "approved for" categorization.

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  • 2 months later...

MArk and Catmom,

I agree that the ideas of the ads for most prescription drugs are not good. I think they tend to send people running to the doctor for a pill to fix anything and everything.

I would like to add one comment though about the testing and finding out, sometimes accidentily that a drug prescribed for one problem is later discovered to help somehitng else. For me, this is the case with Requip(roprinazole), which is a drug used for Parkinsons Disease, but has been found to help RLS(restless leg syndrome). After living with really bad RLS for years, and having it restrict my ability to sit through a movie, a dinner out, and forget about car trips, this medicine litterally changed my life.

Now, back to the main point, I was on Effexor XR and it was not helping me a t all with major depression after a suicide attempt. Last week, my therapist talked to my psychiatrist and he decided to wean me off the Effexor XR from 225 mg to 150 mg for 7 days, and then start me on Zoloft 50 mg for 7 days, and then up to 100 mg. Being concerned about lowering the Effexor maybe making me worse during the changover, the doc also started me on Abilify 2 mg to help. Well, I find it has done nothing but give me headaches, and has not helped the depression, which is getting close to suicidal again. I am calling the doc tomorrw about this. If Abilify is a mood stabilizer, as I have heard Topomax is ( as well as helping with migraines which I get 6 or 7 times a month), would Topomax be a better choice? I also have diabetes, and the Abilify in just 4 days has gotten my blood sugar very screwed up.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

jb

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  • 8 months later...

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