Comments about Abilify Side Effect and Usage at AskDocWeb

Abilify Side Effects

This forum is for sharing information about the side effects of Abilify. If you’ve used Abilify, please help others by adding your feedback. What would you tell your best friend about this product? Please remember that we do not give medical advice. That is for your local health care provider, who is familiar with your medical history.

The patient information for Abilify lists the following side effects.

In adults the most common side effects reported in clinical trial were nausea, vomiting, constipation, headache, dizziness, an inner sense of restlessness or need to move (akathisia), anxiety, insomnia, taste perversion, and restlessness.

In pediatric patients (6 to 17 years old) the most common side effects reported in clinical trial were sleepiness, headache, vomiting, extrapyramidal disorder (uncontrolled movement, restlessness, tremors and muscle stiffness), nausea, fatigue, increased appetite, stuffy nose, insomnia, and weight gain.

Other serious side effects may include:

  • Memory loss
  • Tardive dyskinesia (TD): There is no known treatment for this condition. The symptoms are uncontrollable movements of the face, tongue, or other parts of body. The risk of developing TD may increase with the length of treatment and the overall dose. TD may become permanent. While much less common, TD can also develop after taking Abilify at low doses for short periods of time. There is no known treatment for TD, and it may or may not go away partially or completely if the medicine is discontinued.
  • An increased risk of stroke and ministroke for elderly people with dementia-related psychosis
  • A rare but serious side effect of Abilify, which could be fatal is a condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). The symptoms of NMS include:
    • Confusion
    • Increased blood pressure
    • Increased heart rate
    • Rigid muscles
    • Shaking
    • Sweating
    • Very high fever
  • Orthostatic hypotension: Lightheadedness or faintness has been reported with ABILIFY. This is typically caused by a sudden change in blood pressure when rising quickly from a sitting or lying position.
  • Decreases in infection fighting white blood cells have been reported in some patients taking Abilify.
  • ABILIFY can affect your judgment, thinking, and motor skills making driving or operating hazardous machinery dangerous.
  • Abilify may affect your body’s ability to reduce body temperature resulting in an increased risk of overheating and dehydration.
  • Dysphagia: Abilify has been associated with swallowing problems.

Caution for diabetics: Abilify may increase blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) and in some cases has been associated with coma or death. The symptoms of hyperglycemia include unexpected increases in thirst, urination, or hunger.

Abilify Feedback

If you have used Abilify, share your experience with others by adding your feedback. What would you tell a friend about this product? Please remember that we do not give medical advice. That is for your local health care provider, who is familiar with your medical history.

Subj: Abilify memory loss
Date: 2/3/2011
My doctor recently put my on Abilify for my bipolar disorder, should I be concerned about this memory loss? HELP!


AskDocWeb: That may depend on how old you are as the concern increases with age. The FDA has released a warning that Abilify increases chances of death in older patients. Elderly people with psychosis related to dementia who are treated with Abilify, are at an increased risk of death compared to placebo. The complaints about this drug have become so numerous that there are now attorneys specializing in Abilify lawsuits.

Subj: Muscle spasm and memory loss
Date: 8/20/2011
Ability. Have not been on this long but two reactions seems related to this drug. Muscles. Spasm. In my back and I am having slight memory loss. For the back spasms doc gave me a relax type med. I am 79 and very active as an artist. So I will consider a change, I take this drug with wellbutrin…..but it works and I am now down to 2/12 mg.


Persistent side effects
Date: 11/12/2011
Do Not EVER take this drug. I have been off abilify for over a year and have high blood pressure, muscle spasms, memory loss, to name a few.


Memory loss
Date: 1/12/2012
Abilify has made me lose my damn memory.

Mad about memory loss

AskDocWeb: Abilify is not the only medication that lists memory loss as a side effect. Fortunately there are alternatives so talk to your doctor.

Abilify and cogentin
Date: 2/27/2012
My experience is with abilify and cogentin- don’ t do it. It landed me in the hospital and caused the last four years to be hell. My daughters and I suffered more than I can explain.


Detoxing from Ability
Date: 7/5/2012
I’ve been on abilify for about a year, and recently started to try to detox from it. I can hardly move I’m so tired (or, conversely, sometimes I can’t sit still at all, there’s no in between). I’ve been having the memory loss everyone’s mentioned too. Ive been weaning off it slowly, but it’s incredibly difficult. If you can avoid it, don’t take this medication!!


When to report side effects
I am on Abilify as well as Wellbutrin SR and Ritilan for ADHD. I have only taken the Abilify four times…but it makes me feel drugged, floaty, and just weird. I was on it a few years ago and it was wonderful. How long is it before the side effects lessen? How soon should I contact him doctor about the side effects? Is there another drug combination that could avoid the mood swings I was having before adding Abilify?


AskDocWeb: It is important to know that you can call your healthcare provider between visits as needed, especially if you have concerns about symptoms. Call your doctor right away if someone taking this drug has any of the following symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:

  • thoughts about suicide or dying
  • attempts to commit suicide
  • new or worse depression
  • new or worse anxiety
  • feeling very agitated or restless
  • panic attacks
  • trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • new or worse irritability
  • acting aggressive, being angry, or violent
  • acting on dangerous impulses
  • an extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)
  • other unusual changes in behavior or mood

The alternatives to Abilify vary according to the condition being treated. To avoid the mood swings you mentioned you may consider mood stabilizers. These are effective at treating bipolar disorder (but not schizophrenia). These medications can include:

  • Carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Epitol®, Equetro?, Tegretol®, Tegretol XR®)
  • Divalproex sodium (Depakote®, Depakote ER®)
  • Lamotrigine (Lamictal®)
  • Lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®)
  • Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal®)
  • Topiramate (Topamax®)
  • Valproic acid or delayed-release valproic acid (Stavzor®)

Many (but not all) of these medications are anticonvulsants, which means that they are used to treat seizures but are also effective mood stabilizers.

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