Aripiprazole

 
What is Aripiprazole and why is it prescribed?
Aripiprazole is used in the treatment of schizophrenia. Aripiprazole is thought to work by modifying sensitivity to two of the brain's chief chemical messengers, serotonin and dopamine. Aripiprazole can cause tardive dyskinesia. This condition may be permanent and appears to be most common among older adults, especially women.

How should you take Aripiprazole?
Follow your doctors directions for taking Aripiprazole. Aripiprazole should be taken once a day. It may be taken with or without food. If you miss a dose take the forgotten dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular schedule. Do not take two doses at once. Store Aripiprazole at room temperature.

Are there any Aripiprazole side effects?
Aripiprazole side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. More common Aripiprazole side effects may include anxiety, blurred vision, constipation, cough, headache, insomnia, light-headedness, nausea, rash, restlessness, runny nose, sleepiness, tremors, vomiting, weakness, and weight gain. Less common Aripiprazole side effects may include abnormal gait, anemia, appetite loss, blood pressure changes, bruising, chest pain, confusion, depression, dry skin, ear pain, eye inflammation, fever, flu symptoms, heart rate changes, hostility, increased salivation, itching, jerkiness and rigidity, mania, muscle cramps, neck pain or stiffness, nervousness, pneumonia, shortness of breath, skin sores, suicidal thoughts, sweating, swelling, urinary incontinence, and weight loss.

What are the possible food and drug interactions when taking Aripiprazole?
If Aripiprazole is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Be sure to inform your doctor of all the prescription and over the counter medications you are taking. Your doctor will need to reduce the dosage of Aripiprazole when you take Fluoxetine (Prozac), Ketoconazole (Nizoral), Paroxetine (Paxil), or Quinidine (Quinidex). The dosage of Aripiprazole should be increased when you take carbamazepine (Tegretol). Be cautious when taking Aripiprazole with blood pressure medications classified as alpha-adrenergic blockers, including Hytrin and Cardura. Caution is also advised when combining Aripiprazole with drugs that act on the brain, including tranquilizers, antidepressants, sleeping pills, narcotic painkillers, and other schizophrenia medications. Although Aripiprazole does not interact with alcohol, the manufacturer recommends avoiding the combination.

Are there any special warnings about Aripiprazole?
The risk of tardive dyskinesia increases with the total amount of Aripiprazole that you have taken. To reduce the risk, your doctor will prescribe the lowest effective dose and resort to long-term therapy only if necessary. If you develop symptoms of tardive dyskinesia, see your doctor immediately. In rare cases, Aripiprazole has been known to cause a potentially fatal condition called Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS). Symptoms include high fever, rigid muscles, irregular pulse or blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, excessive perspiration, altered mental status, and changes in heart rhythm. If you develop these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. Aripiprazole should be discontinued. Because Aripiprazole tends to make some people sleepy, you should be cautious about operating hazardous machinery such as cars until you are certain the drug will not impair your ability. In a few people, Aripiprazole can cause an abrupt drop in blood pressure when they stand up, leading to light-headedness or even fainting. Use Aripiprazole with caution if you have any kind of heart or circulatory problem, take blood pressure medication, or tend to become dehydrated. Aripiprazole has triggered seizures in a very small number of patients, and can also interfere with the swallowing mechanism. The risk of either problem is greater among older adults. If you have ever had a seizure, be sure to tell the doctor. Aripiprazole should be used with caution. Drugs such as Aripiprazole can cause the body to overheat. Be cautious in hot weather and when exercising strenuously, and be sure to get plenty of liquids. Aripiprazole has not been tested in children or teenagers. Older adults should use the drug with caution.
 

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