Aripiprazole is used to treat schizophrenia (a long-term mental disorder that causes changes in thoughts, feelings, and behaviour). It helps relieve symptoms common in schizophrenia, such as distorted thinking and emotional instability.
This medicine is also used on its own or together with other medicines to treat other mood or psychiatric conditions such as mania (feeling highly excited, being over-active and easily irritated or distracted) associated with bipolar disorder (mood changes between feeling very high and very low).
Aripiprazole may also be used together with other medicines to treat depression.
This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
Take Aripiprazole exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
This medicine is available as a conventional tablet, orodispersible tablet, or an oral solution.
If you have been given the conventional tablet, swallow it whole with a glass of water.
If you are taking the orodispersible tablet:
- Remove it from the foil only just before you take it. Do not leave the orodispersible tablet exposed to air. Do not push the orodispersible tablet through the foil as it is fragile and easily broken.
- Remove the orodispersible tablet with dry hands by peeling the backing off the foil and tipping the tablet onto your dry hands.
- Place the orodispersible tablet directly on your tongue as soon as it is taken out of the foil. The orodispersible tablet will immediately start to melt on the tongue. It can then be swallowed with or without water.
Do not cut, break or crush the orodispersible tablets.
If you are taking an oral solution, use the dropper or measuring spoon/cup provided to measure your dose. Do not dilute the oral solution with other liquids or mix with any food before administration.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of treatment depending on your condition.
Aripiprazole must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it suddenly as this may worsen your condition.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- heart disease e.g. history of heart attack, heart failure, heart rhythm disorders
- high blood pressure
- risk factors for low blood pressure e.g. dehydration, low blood volume in the body
- with or a history of epilepsy (fits or seizures)
- bleeding disorders or a low white blood cell count
- history of impulse control issues e.g. excessive gambling
- Parkinson's disease (a disorder that affects the movement of a person, causing symptoms such as tremors, muscle stiffness, slowed movement and impaired balance or walking)
- Alzheimer's disease (a progressive disease which destroys memory and other important mental functions)
- severe liver disease
This medicine is not intended for the treatment of individuals with dementia-related psychosis.
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Aripiprazole to a child or the elderly. Children and elderly people may be more sensitive to the side effects.
A certain enzyme called CYP2D6 is involved in the breakdown of this medicine in the body. Individuals who are poor metabolisers of CYP2D6 may have a higher risk of experiencing enhanced side effects of Aripiprazole. Your doctor may advise you to undergo genetic testing to check if it is suitable for you. If you know you have this gene type, inform your doctor.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
What lifestyle changes should I make?
- Routine tests (e.g. heart function, blood test, cholesterol/sugar/electrolyte levels, eye examination) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
- Your blood pressure may fall to unsafe levels without you noticing it. Monitor your blood pressure regularly during treatment.
- Regular monitoring for signs of suicidal thoughts or unusual changes in behaviour and involuntary movements may also be needed.
Aripiprazole may affect the ability of your body to adjust to temperature changes in the environment. Avoid exposure to very cold or very hot environments. Avoid strenuous exercise and activities like going to the sauna. Drink more water to prevent dehydration.
Aripiprazole may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert or need to see clearly.
This medicine may cause your blood pressure to fall suddenly when you get up from a sitting or lying down position and you may feel giddy. To minimise this problem, stand up slowly.
Other side effects include any of the following: headache, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, dry mouth, constipation, hiccups, excessive salivation, tiredness, anxiety, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, and weight gain.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- having thoughts of self-harm
- unusual changes in mood or behaviour (being aggressive, agitated, or having compulsive and impulsive behaviour, or uncontrollable urges)
- chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeat
- very high fever, muscle cramps or stiffness, severe headache, excessive sweating
- uncontrolled muscle movements of your body or face, such as sticking out of the tongue, smacking of the lips
- swelling, pain and redness or warmth in the leg
- frequent and persistent sore throat with fever
- trouble swallowing
- increased thirst and hunger, frequent passing of urine, fruity breath odour
- rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes or mouth
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines to treat depression e.g. paroxetine, fluoxetine
- medicines to treat fungal infections e.g. ketoconazole, itraconazole
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone
- medicines for HIV infection e.g. nevirapine, efavirenz
- medicines to treat TB (infection known as tuberculosis) e.g. rifampicin, rifabutin
- lorazepam (medicine for anxiety)
- clarithromycin (certain antibiotic)
- quinidine (medicine for irregular heartbeat)
- St. John's wort (herbal medicine)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Aripiprazole.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicine, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol intake may worsen the dizziness and drowsiness caused by Aripiprazole.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
The orodispersible tablets must be kept in the original foil wrappers.
The oral solution must be used within 6 months after opening.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.