Generic name: aripiprazole
Dosage form: extended-release intramuscular injection
Drug class: Atypical antipsychotics
What exactly is Abilify Maintena?
Abilify Maintena (aripiprazole) is an atypical antipsychotic from the second generation. It is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder. It is an injectable suspension of aripiprazole that works for a long time and only needs to be given once a month.
It is not clear exactly how Abilify Maintena works, but it is thought to help restore the balance of dopamine and serotonin, which are two chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters. If we don’t have enough of these chemicals, it can change how we think, feel, and act. Abilify Maintena blocks the activity of 5-HT2A receptors and partially activates dopamine D2 and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Abilify Maintena in 2013. However, aripiprazole has been used in other forms since 2002.
What is the purpose of Abilify Maintena?
Abilify Maintena is a medicine that can only be bought with a doctor’s prescription.
- It is used to: treat schizophrenia in adults.
- Treatment of adults with bipolar/disorder for life.
- We don’t know if Abilify Maintena is safe and effective for kids under 18.
What you need to know
Abilify Maintena injections can only be given by a medical professional.
Abilify Maintena can have serious side effects, such as:
- A higher risk of death in older people with psychosis caused by dementia. +
- Abilify Maintena is not used to treat people with psychosis who have lost touch with reality because they are confused or have lost their memories (dementia).
Who shouldn’t get Abilify Maintena?
If you are allergic to aripiprazole or any of the other ingredients in Abilify Maintena, you should not get this medicine. See the list for all of the ingredients.
Warnings about Abilify Maintena and breastfeeding (more detail)
What do I need to tell my doctor before he or she gives me Abilify Maintena?
Before you get Abilify Maintena, you should tell your doctor about all of your health problems. This is especially important if you:
- have never taken aripiprazole before;
- have diabetes, high blood sugar, or a history of diabetes or high blood sugar in your family; or
- have never taken aripiprazole. Before you start taking this medicine and while you are taking it, your doctor should check your blood sugar.
- Have or have had seizures (convulsions)
- Have or have had low or high blood pressure.
- Have or have had heart problems or a stroke.
- Have or have had a low number of white blood cells
- You can’t get an injection in your arm or buttocks because of health problems.
Drugs that are similar
Latuda, Vraylar, Quetiapine, Lamotrigine, Abilify, Seroquel, Aripiprazole
How do I give myself Abilify Maintena?
- Do exactly what your doctor tells you to do with your treatment plan.
- Abilify Maintena is an injection that your doctor gives you once a month in your arm or buttock. Getting an injection may hurt a little in your arm or buttock.
- You should keep taking your current antipsychotic medicine for two weeks after your first shot.
What will happen if I don’t take a dose?
You shouldn’t skip an Abilify Maintena dose. If you forget to take your medicine, call your doctor or nurse right away to talk about what to do.
What should I stay away from while I’m on Abilify Maintena?
- Don’t drive, use machinery, or do anything else that could hurt you until you know how this medicine makes you feel. It might make you sleepy.
- You shouldn’t drink alcohol while taking this medicine.
- Don’t get too hot or too thirsty while taking this medicine.
- Don’t work out too often.
- If you can, stay inside in a cool place when it’s hot outside.
- Don’t go into the sun.
- Don’t wear too many clothes or clothes that are too heavy.
- Get plenty of water to drink.
- People who have never taken aripiprazole before should take oral aripiprazole before starting Abilify Maintena to make sure they can handle it.
- You can only give it by injecting it into the deltoid or gluteal muscle.
- The starting dose and maintenance dose of Abilify Maintena is 400 mg, given as a single injection once a month. Patients who have bad side effects can have their dose cut down to 300 mg.
- Along with the first dose, patients should take oral aripiprazole (10 mg to 20 mg) or their current oral antipsychotic for 14 days in a row.
- There are two kinds of Abilify Maintena kits, and both of them come with a lyophilized powder that needs to be mixed with water.
- A prefilled, dual-chamber, single-dose syringe o A single-dose vial
For more information on how to take this medicine, look at the full list of instructions.Information about how much Abilify Maintena to take.
What are Abilify Maintena’s side effects?
Abilify Maintena may have serious side effects, such as those listed above under”Important information.”
- Stroke (problems with the blood flow to the brain) in older people with dementia-related psychosis, which can kill them.
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), which is a serious disease that can kill. If you have any or all of the following signs of NMS, call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room right away:
- very hot
- Changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and pulse o Muscles that are stiff
- Body movements that can’t be stopped (tardive dyskinesia). This medicine could make your face, tongue, or other body parts move in ways you can’t stop. Even if you stop taking Abilify Maintena, it is possible that your tardive dyskinesia will not go away. You may also get tardive dyskinesia after you stop taking this medicine.
- Issues with your metabolism, like:
- high blood sugar (hyperglycemia): Some people who take this medicine can have their blood sugar go up. High blood sugar can cause a coma or even death. If you have diabetes or risk factors for diabetes, like being overweight or having a family history of diabetes, your doctor should check your blood sugar before you start taking this medicine and while you are taking it.
While taking Abilify Maintena, call your doctor if you have any of the following signs of high blood sugar:
- Feel very thirsty; need to urinate more than usual.
- Feel very hungry
- Feel weak or tired.
- Feel sick to your stomach
- Feel confused, or your breath smells like fruity.
- A higher level of fats in your blood (cholesterol and triglycerides).
- Weight gain. Both you and your doctor should keep an eye on your weight.
- Unusual urges. Some people who took this medicine felt strange urges to gamble, binge eat or eat so much they couldn’t stop (this is called compulsive eating), shop a lot, or have sexual urges. Talk to your doctor if you or your family notice that you are having strange urges or acting in strange ways.
- Lowering of blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension).
- If you get up too quickly from sitting or lying down, you might feel dizzy or faint.
- Low number of white blood cells.
- Seizures (convulsions).
- Trouble keeping your body temperature in check, making you feel too warm.
See “What should I stay away from while on Abilify Maintena?”
Having trouble swallowing
Some of the most common Abilify Maintena side effects are:
- Weight gain
- Feeling restless inside, like you need to move (akathisia)
- Pain at the injection site
- Feeling tired (sedation)
Not all of the possible side effects are listed here. You should talk to your doctor about any side effects. You can call 1-800-FDA-1088 to tell the FDA about side effects.
Abilify Maintena side effects (more detail)
Tell your doctor about all of the medicines you take, including those you get without a prescription, vitamins, herbal supplements, and over-the-counter medicines.
Abilify Maintena and other drugs may interact with each other, which could cause serious side effects.
Your doctor can tell you if it is safe to take this medicine with the other medicines you are taking. During your treatment with Abilify Maintena, don’t start or stop any other medicines without first talking to your doctor or nurse.
Know what you’re taking. Keep track of them so you can show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
Interactions between Abilify and Maintena (more detail)
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
If you are pregnant or want to get pregnant, you should tell your doctor. It is not known if Abilify Maintena will hurt your unborn child.
Talk to your doctor about signing up for the National Pregnancy Registry for Atypical Antipsychotics if you get pregnant while taking this medicine. Call 1-866-961-2388 or visit http://womensmentalhealth.org/clinical-and-research-programs/pregnancyregistry to sign up.
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or if you are planning to start. Abilify Maintena can get into your breast milk and could hurt your baby. Talk to your doctor about how to feed your baby best if you are taking this medicine.
- Keep the kit with the dual-chamber syringe that is already filled below 30°C (86°F). Do not freeze. Store the syringe in its original package until it’s time to use it. This will keep it safe from light.
- Keep the kit with the vial at 25°C (77°F), with a range of 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F).
What do the parts of Abilify Maintena look like?
Aripiprazole monohydrate is the active ingredient.
Carboxymethyl cellulose sodium, mannitol, sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate, and sodium hydroxide are all inactive ingredients.
Abilify Maintena is made by Otsuka Phamaceuticals Co., Ltd. Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. is in charge of selling and distributing the drug. It is also sold by the company Lundbeck.
Antipsychotic medicine called Abilify is used. By altering how certain brain chemicals behave, it works.
For more details,
Remember to keep this and all other medicines out of reach of children, to never give your medicines to other people, and to only use this medicine for what it was given for.
Talk to your doctor or other healthcare source to make sure that the information on this page applies to your situation.
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