If you have a certain mood disorder or other mental health condition, your doctor may prescribe Abilify for you.

It’s a prescription drug that’s used to treat the following conditions:

To learn more about these conditions, see the “What is Abilify used for?” section below.

Abilify basics

Abilify contains the active drug aripiprazole, which belongs to a group of drugs called atypical antipsychotics. It’s also available as a generic drug called aripiprazole.

Abilify comes as tablets that you’ll take by mouth.

Abilify, Abilify Maintena, and Abilify MyCite

In this article, we focus on Abilify tablets. Abilify is also available in other forms, which are not the focus of this article.

These other forms include:

  • Abilify MyCite. This form comes as a tablet that contains a sensor to record when you’ve swallowed your doses.
  • Abilify Maintena. This form is given as an injection into your muscle by healthcare professionals.

Each form of Abilify may be used for different conditions. To learn more about how these forms of Abilify are alike and different, see “How does Abilify compares with Abilify Maintena and Abilify MyCite?” in the “What are some frequently asked questions about Abilify?” section below.

Read on to learn more about Abilify’s uses, side effects, and more.

Like most drugs, Abilify may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Abilify may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:

  • your age
  • other health conditions you may have
  • other medications you may be taking

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Abilify. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Abilify can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Abilify’s medication guide.

Mild side effects of Abilify that have been reported include:

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Abilify can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Abilify, call your doctor right away. However, if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Abilify that have been reported include:

* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.

Side effect focus

Learn more about some of the side effects Abilify may cause.

Boxed warnings

Abilify has boxed warnings. A boxed warning is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug’s boxed warnings are described below.

Increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Certain drugs used to treat depression, such as Abilify, can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

This risk affects children and adults ages 24 years and younger. But keep in mind that Abilify isn’t used to treat depression in people younger than 18 years of age.

Regardless of age, this risk also affects people who’ve recently started taking Abilify or recently had their dosage changed.

While you’re taking Abilify, watch for the following symptoms. These symptoms may happen in people affected by suicidal thoughts or behaviors:

Increased risk of death in older adults with psychosis related to dementia. Abilify should not be taken by adults ages 65 years and older who have psychosis that’s related to dementia.

With psychosis, you have trouble understanding what’s real and what isn’t real. And with dementia, you have trouble with memory, thinking, and other brain functions.

In some cases, antipsychotic drugs such as Abilify can increase the risk of stroke and death in older adults with this condition.

A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is lessened because of a clot or a bleed. Symptoms of a stroke can include:

  • confusion
  • headache
  • weakness in your face, arm, or leg, usually on one side of your body
  • trouble speaking, walking, or seeing

What might help

Be sure to tell your doctor about any mood changes you have while you’re taking Abilify. They’ll advise if you should continue taking the drug. If you have thoughts of harming yourself, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

If you have stroke symptoms while you’re taking Abilify, this is a medical emergency. Call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

If you’re concerned about either of these boxed warnings with Abilify, talk with your doctor.

SUICIDE PREVENTION

If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Weight gain

You may gain weight while you’re taking Abilify. This was a common side effect in studies of the drug.

You may have weight gain with Abilify because of changes in your body’s metabolism. (Metabolism refers to processes that keep your body functioning as it should.)

What might help

If you have bothersome weight gain while you’re taking Abilify, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to help you maintain a healthy weight while you’re taking this drug.

Problems with sleep, such as sleepiness and insomnia

You may have problems with sleep while you’re taking Abilify. These side effects were common in studies of the drug.

Abilify may cause different types of sleep problems in different people. For example, you may have sleepiness after taking Abilify. Or you may have insomnia instead. (With insomnia, you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.)

What might help

Until you know how Abilify affects you, you should not drive or perform tasks that require coordination. Doing these activities can be dangerous if Abilify makes you sleepy.

If you have sleepiness or insomnia with Abilify, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to manage these side effects.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Abilify. While allergic reaction wasn’t reported in studies of Abilify, it can still happen.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Abilify. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Abilify that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.

Form

Abilify comes as tablets that you’ll take by mouth.

Strengths: 2 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg

Abilify is available in the following strengths:

  • 2 milligrams (mg)
  • 5 mg
  • 10 mg
  • 15 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 30 mg

Recommended dosages

The recommended adult and child dosages of Abilify vary for each condition it’s used to treat. For example, the drug’s dosage for depression differs between adults and children.

You’ll take Abilify once daily. Your doctor may start you on a low dose of Abilify. Then they’ll monitor your condition over time to see if your dosage should be increased.

Based on your condition, your doctor will also let you know the maximum dose of Abilify.

Questions about Abilify’s dosage

Here’s a list of common questions related to Abilify’s dosage.

  • What if I miss a dose of Abilify? If you miss an Abilify dose, take your missed dose as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time to take your next dose, you can skip the missed dose. Then, take your next dose at its usual time. If you aren’t sure whether you should take a missed dose or skip it, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Will I need to use Abilify long term? Yes, you most likely will. If the drug is working for you and it’s not causing bothersome side effects, your doctor may prescribe Abilify long term.
  • How long does Abilify take to work? You may take Abilify for a couple of weeks before you start noticing your symptoms begin to ease.

Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Abilify.

How does Abilify compare with Abilify Maintena and Abilify MyCite?

In this article, we focus on Abilify tablets. But Abilify is also available in other forms, which are not the focus of this article.

These other forms include:

  • Abilify MyCite. This form comes as a tablet that contains a sensor to record when you’ve swallowed your doses.
  • Abilify Maintena. This form is given as an injection into your muscle by healthcare professionals.

Each form of Abilify contains the active drug aripiprazole. But each form may be used for different purposes.

Abilify tablets are used to treat the following conditions:

Abilify MyCite and Abilify Maintena are only approved for use in adults. Abilify MyCite is used to treat MDD. Both Abilify MyCite and Abilify Maintena are used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Abilify and Abilify MyCite tablets are taken once a day. But Abilify Maintena’s dosage is different. It’s given as a 400-mg injection once a month.

To learn more about how these forms of Abilify are alike and different, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can tell you what to expect with each form of the drug. For example, they can tell you if the injection’s side effects are different from those of the tablets.

Does coming off of Abilify cause withdrawal symptoms?

Yes, coming off of Abilify may cause withdrawal symptoms, if you suddenly stop taking the drug.

Withdrawal symptoms weren’t reported in studies of Abilify. But there was a report of withdrawal symptoms in someone who stopped taking Abilify. This case happened after the drug became available for use.

The timeline of withdrawal from Abilify isn’t known for sure. But possible symptoms you may have after stopping Abilify “cold turkey” (suddenly) include:

Do not stop taking Abilify unless your doctor tells you it’s safe to do so.

When it’s time for you to stop taking the drug, your doctor will show you how to taper off of Abilify. They’ll likely lower your Abilify dosage slowly over time. If you have questions about stopping the lowest dose of Abilify (2 mg), talk with your doctor.

Is Abilify used for anxiety? If so, what’s the dosage for anxiety?

Abilify isn’t approved to treat anxiety. But it may be used off-label for this purpose. (Off-label use means a drug is given for a condition it hasn’t been approved to treat.)

To learn more about using Abilify to treat anxiety, including its dosage for this use, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And to view a list of Abilify’s approved uses, see the “What is Abilify used for?” section below.

What does Abilify do to your brain? How does it work and what’s its half-life?

Abilify’s mechanism of action (the way it works) isn’t known for sure.

Abilify is thought to affect brain chemicals called dopamine and serotonin. High levels of these chemicals can help you manage behaviors and thoughts and improve your mood.

A drug’s half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of its dose to leave your system. The half-life of Abilify is about 75 hours.

If you have more questions about how Abilify works or affects your body, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Is Abilify used to treat OCD, sleep disorders, ADHD, or bipolar II?

Abilify isn’t currently approved to treat the following conditions:

But Abilify may sometimes be used off-label for these conditions. (Off-label use means a drug is given for a condition it hasn’t been approved to treat.)

To learn more about using Abilify to treat OCD and other conditions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And to view a list of Abilify’s approved uses, see the “What is Abilify used for?” section below.

Is Abilify a controlled substance? Is it dangerous to take?

No, Abilify is not a controlled substance.

Controlled substances are drugs with a high risk for misuse. (With misuse, a drug is taken in a way other than how it’s prescribed.) And they’re regulated by the federal government. But Abilify isn’t one of these drugs.

In some situations, Abilify may be dangerous to take. For example, Abilify has boxed warnings about certain effects that may be dangerous.

Specifically, Abilify has a boxed warning for increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in certain people. It also has a boxed warning for increased risk of death in older adults with psychosis related to dementia. (With psychosis, you have trouble understanding what’s real and what isn’t real. And with dementia, you have trouble with memory, thinking, and other brain functions.)

For more information about these warnings, see the “What are Abilify’s side effects?” section above. Talk with your doctor about whether this drug is recommended for you.

If you have a certain mood disorder or other mental health condition, your doctor may prescribe Abilify for you.

It’s a prescription drug that’s used in people with the following conditions:

  • Depression. Abilify is used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD), which is also called clinical depression. Abilify is prescribed for this purpose in adults. With MDD, you have symptoms of depression almost every day for at least 2 weeks. Symptoms of depression can include:
    • loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
    • trouble concentrating
    • mood changes
    • weight changes
  • Bipolar disorder. Abilify is used to treat manic and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder. For this use, Abilify is prescribed for adults and for children ages 10 years and older. Bipolar disorder causes extreme shifts in mood. These shifts usually alternate between episodes of depression and mania (periods of high energy and excitement). Bipolar I disorder is diagnosed after at least one episode of mania has occurred. With mixed episodes of bipolar I disorder, you may have:
    • periods of depression that happen along with symptoms of mania, or
    • periods of mania that happen along with symptoms of depression
  • Autism. Abilify is used to treat irritability related to autism spectrum disorder in children ages 6 years and older. Autism is a mental health condition. It may affect how you think, act, and feel. Autism can also cause behavior changes, such as irritability. Abilify is used to treat the episodes of irritability that can happen when this condition. Autism can cause a wide variety of symptoms, though. For example, with autism you may have trouble:
    • expressing how you feel or what you need
    • adapting to new routines
    • relating to others
    • making eye contact
  • Schizophrenia. Abilify is used to treat schizophrenia in adults and children ages 13 years and older. With schizophrenia, you have two or more of the following symptoms for at least 1 month:
    • delusions (belief in things that aren’t real)
    • loss of focus
    • extremely disorganized behavior, such as being agitated or unable to coordinate your muscle movements
    • loss of interest in work, school, or other activities
  • Tourette syndrome. Abilify is used to treat Tourette syndrome in children ages 6 years and older. Tourette syndrome causes involuntary and repetitive movements. With Tourette’s, you may also make involuntary sounds that you aren’t able to control. For example, you may stick out your tongue or blink your eyes. And you may find yourself shouting or repeating certain words and phrases without being able to stop.

Your doctor will explain how you should take Abilify. They’ll also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Taking Abilify

You’ll likely take Abilify once a day.

You can take Abilify any time of day. But the best time to take the drug depends on whether you’re having certain side effects.

For example, if you have sleepiness with Abilify, it may be best to take your dose at bedtime. But if you have insomnia with the drug, it may be best to take Abilify in the morning. (With insomnia, you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.)

Whatever time of day works best for you, be sure to take Abilify around the same time each day. This helps keep a consistent level of the drug in your body.

Taking Abilify with other drugs

Your doctor may prescribe Abilify along with other drugs for your condition.

For example, to treat major depressive disorder, your doctor may prescribe Abilify with antidepressant drugs. Examples of these drugs include:

To treat bipolar I disorder, your doctor may prescribe Abilify along with mood stabilizers such as lithium (Lithobid).

Your doctor can advise if you should take Abilify with other drugs, including:

Before you start taking Abilify, tell your doctor about any other drugs you take. Taking certain medications can increase your risk for side effects from Abilify. And other drugs could affect the way Abilify works. Your doctor will tell you which medications are safe to take with Abilify.

Questions about taking Abilify

Here are answers to some questions related to taking Abilify.

  • Can Abilify be chewed, crushed, or split? No, you should not chew, crush, or split Abilify tablets. The tablets should be swallowed whole. If you aren’t able to swallow Abilify tablets whole, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Should I take Abilify with food? You can take Abilify with or without food.
Questions for your doctor

You may have questions about Abilify and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.

Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:

  • Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
    • How will Abilify affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
  • Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
  • If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.

Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.

Before starting Abilify, talk with your doctor about all of your medications and any health conditions you have.

These and other considerations are described in more detail below.

Interactions

Taking medications, vaccines, foods, and other things with a certain drug can affect how the drug works. These effects are called interactions.

Before taking Abilify, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Abilify.

Interactions with drugs or supplements

Abilify can interact with several types of drugs. These drugs include:

This list does not contain all types of drugs that may interact with Abilify. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about these interactions and any others that may occur with use of Abilify.

Other interactions

It may not be safe to take Abilify with cannabis, which is sometimes called marijuana or “weed.” Taking Abilify and cannabis together may increase your risk of side effects from Abilify.

Examples of these side effects include sleepiness, nausea, and dizziness.

If this interaction affects you, talk with your doctor before starting Abilify. They can advise if it’s safe for you to take Abilify.

Boxed warnings

Abilify has boxed warnings. These are serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Boxed warnings for Abilify include:

  • Risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Certain drugs used to treat depression, such as Abilify, can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This risk especially affects children and adults ages 24 years and younger. But keep in mind that Abilify is not used to treat depression in people younger than age 18 years.
  • Increased risk of death in older adults with psychosis related to dementia. Abilify should not be used in adults ages 65 years and older who have psychosis related to dementia. With psychosis, you have trouble understanding what’s real and what isn’t real. And with dementia, you have trouble with memory, thinking, and other brain functions. In some cases, antipsychotic drugs, such as Abilify, can increase the risk of stroke and death when used in older adults who have this condition.

For more information about these boxed warnings, see the “What are Abilify’s side effects?” section above.

Other warnings

Abilify may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Factors that can make a drug dangerous to take are sometimes called contraindications.

Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Abilify. Factors to consider include those in the list below.

  • Blood pressure or other heart problems. Tell your doctor about any heart problems you have before starting Abilify. Especially tell them if you have a history of heart failure or heart attack. And tell your doctor if you take or have ever taken blood pressure drugs. Abilify can cause orthostatic hypotension (a sudden drop in blood pressure after standing). Your risk of this side effect may be higher if you already have heart problems. Your doctor can tell you if it’s safe to take Abilify.
  • Low level of white blood cells. Taking Abilify can lower your level of white blood cells, increasing your risk of infection. If you already have a low level of white blood cells, you may have a higher risk of this side effect. Your doctor can recommend if Abilify is safe for you.
  • Diabetes. Abilify can cause changes in your metabolism, which can result in high blood sugar levels. Before starting Abilify, be sure to tell your doctor if you have diabetes. They’ll likely monitor your blood sugar level more closely than usual while you’re taking this drug.
  • Seizures. Abilify may cause seizures. Before taking this drug, tell your doctor if you have seizures now or have had them in the past. Your doctor can recommend if it’s safe for you to take Abilify.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Abilify or any of its ingredients, you should not take Abilify. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Abilify and alcohol

There aren’t any known interactions between alcohol and Abilify.

But drinking alcohol while taking Abilify could worsen some of Abilify’s side effects. Examples of these side effects include sleepiness, nausea, and dizziness.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor before starting Abilify. They can tell you if it’s safe to drink while you’re taking this drug.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Below we provide information about Abilify and pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Abilify and pregnancy

It isn’t known if Abilify is safe to take while you’re pregnant. The drug hasn’t specifically been studied during pregnancy.

But, Abilify is an antipsychotic drug. Drugs that belong to this group can increase the risk of side effects in infants if they’re taken in the last 3 months of pregnancy.

Examples of possible side effects in infants can include:

  • sleepiness
  • refusing to eat certain foods or having trouble eating
  • agitation (acting restless or bothered)
  • trouble breathing
  • decreased or increased muscle tone
  • tremor (shaking in at least one part of the body, such as the arms or legs)

If you take Abilify during pregnancy, consider enrolling in the National Pregnancy Registry for Psychiatric Medications. Pregnancy registries collect information about the safety of drugs when used during pregnancy. For more information, talk with your doctor. You can also visit the registry’s website or call 866-961-2388.

Abilify and breastfeeding

It’s not known if Abilify is safe to use while breastfeeding. If it’s used while breastfeeding, Abilify may:

  • pass into breast milk
  • cause breastfed children to have trouble gaining weight
  • lower milk supply, according to some reports

Your doctor can provide more information about taking Abilify while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

It’s possible that Abilify is sometimes misused. Misuse means taking a drug differently from how it was prescribed.

Abilify’s risk of misuse wasn’t reported in studies of the drug. It’s possible that Abilify may be misused to try to cause a “high” feeling. For example, someone might try snorting Abilify to achieve this effect. But misusing Abilify can cause dangerous side effects, including overdose.

To lower your risk of misuse with Abilify, take the drug exactly as your doctor instructed. They may check you for signs of misuse while you’re taking this drug.

Abilify and Rexulti are both atypical antipsychotics used to treat major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. Abilify also has other uses, too.

Abilify contains the active drug aripiprazole, while Rexulti contains the active drug brexpiprazole.

If you’d like to learn more about how Abilify and Rexulti compare, see this article. Check with your doctor to see which drug is right for you.

Do not take more Abilify than your doctor prescribes. Taking more than this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an Abilify overdose can include:

What to do in case you take too much Abilify

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Abilify. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or use its online resource. However, if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

Abilify and Latuda are both atypical antipsychotics used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Abilify has other uses, too.

Abilify contains the active drug aripiprazole, while Latuda contains the active drug lurasidone.

If you’d like more information about these drugs, see this detailed comparison of Abilify and Latuda. Also, talk with your doctor about which medication is best for your condition.

Abilify and Vraylar are both atypical antipsychotics used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These drugs each have other uses, too.

Abilify contains the active drug aripiprazole. But Vraylar contains the active drug cariprazine.

Check out this side-by-side breakdown of Abilify and Vraylar to learn more about these medications. Ask your doctor if you’d like more information about these drugs.

Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use. To find current prices for Abilify in your area, visit GoodRx.com.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Abilify manufacturer’s website to see if they have support options.

If you have a certain mood disorder or other mental health condition, your doctor may prescribe Abilify for you.

If you have questions about taking Abilify, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can tell you about other treatment options for your condition. You can also view this article to learn about other treatment options for depression, which Abilify is used to treat.

Additionally, you can learn more about depression and its treatment options by subscribing to Healthline’s depression newsletter.

Some questions to ask your doctor about Abilify may include:

  • Should I take Abilify along with other drugs such as quetiapine (Seroquel) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)?
  • Do I have a high risk of certain side effects with Abilify, such as having an uncontrollable urge to do certain activities like gambling?
  • Does Abilify interact with any medications I’m taking?

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.