Aripiprazole is an atypical antipsychotic that acts on the dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain. It is effective in relieving aggression, mood swings, and temper tantrums.

Generic Ability, Abilify Maintena


Arpizol, Asprito, Arip, Arip MT

10, 28, 30, 100

Sun Pharma, Intas Pharma, Torrent Pharma

Tablet, DT Tablet

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

India, UK


I. Introduction to Aripiprazole

A. Brief Overview of Aripiprazole

For various psychological disorders, Aripiprazole holds significant importance within treatment protocols. It is an atypical antipsychotic crucial in managing illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Additionally, it can also be used alongside other treatments for depression. By restoring balance among neurotransmitters within the brain, this medication makes a notable impact on improving the well-being of individuals suffering from these conditions by allowing them to reintegrate into more normalized daily routines again.

B. Historical Development of Aripiprazole

Back in the late decades of the previous century, Aripiprazole embarked on its journey as a result of diligent research conducted by experts at Otsuka Pharmaceutical located in Japan. These dedicated individuals triumphantly synthesized this compound for the first time back in 1988. After rigorous clinical trials and productive partnerships with Bristol Myers Squibb, their collective efforts culminated with official approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medical use in 2002, marking a significant breakthrough in antipsychotic medications given its unique mechanism of action.

II. Composition of Aripiprazole

A. Primary Active Ingredient

Aripiprazole, the main active ingredient in this medication, is classified as a compound with the same name. This particular atypical antipsychotic exhibits its effects by working as a dopamine D2 receptor partial agonist, which sets it apart from other medications. Additionally, its impact on the serotonergic system significantly affects its overall therapeutic efficacy.

B. Additional Inactive Components

Aripiprazole also consists of various inactive ingredients that play a crucial role in its formulation. These ingredients include microcrystalline cellulose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, and hydroxypropyl cellulose. Specific formulations may also contain colorants such as iron oxide and FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake.

III. How Aripiprazole Works: The Pharmacological Aspect

A. Mechanism of Action

By acting as a partial agonist at dopamine D2 and serotonin 5 HT1A receptors. As well as an antagonist at serotonin 5 HT2A receptors. Aripiprazole produces its effects, unlike conventional antipsychotics. It does not entirely suppress dopamine activity. Thus enabling a harmonious neurotransmission equilibrium. Its impact on serotonin receptors further contributes to its unique pharmacological profile.

B. Bioavailability and Metabolism

Following oral administration Aripiprazole demonstrates good absorption by the body and achieves peak plasma levels within 3 to 5 hours. The tablet form of the drug exhibits an excellent oral bioavailability of 87%. Extensive hepatic metabolism takes place primarily involving enzymes CYP2D6 and CYP3A4. These enzymatic metabolic pathways are essential for the conversion of Aripiprazole into its active metabolite, dihydro aripiprazole, as well as generating minor metabolites.

C. Excretion

Once metabolism occurs within the body, most of Aripiprazole and its metabolites are excreted in stool form as their primary route of elimination. However, a smaller amount is also expelled through urine excretion. Notably, it takes roughly 75 hours for aripiprazole to eliminate half-life, whereas dihydro-aripiprazole requires approximately 94 hours before it is eliminated. These extended timeframes effectively contribute to sustaining its beneficial therapeutic effects over time.

IV. Uses of Aripiprazole: Approved Indications

A. Treatment of Schizophrenia

Aripiprazole is a medication that works in the brain to treat schizophrenia. It is also known as a second-generation antipsychotic (SGA) or atypical antipsychotic. Aripiprazole rebalances dopamine and serotonin to improve thinking, mood, and behavior. It is claimed to be at least as effective as haloperidol in the treatment of positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and it may cause fewer adverse effects. Aripiprazole is known as a “dopamine system stabilizer” with a mechanism of action that exerts partial agonism with high affinity at dopamine D 2 and serotonin-5-HT 1A receptors as well as antagonism at serotonin-5-HT 2A receptors and shows evidence of good clinical efficacy with a favorable profile of safety and tolerability.

Here are some references for you:

1. NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

2. The British Journal of Psychiatry


4. Psych Central

5. Frontiers in Psychiatry


B. Management of Bipolar Disorder

Aripiprazole is also FDA-approved for the acute treatment of manic or mixed episodes of bipolar disorder (when used alone or with lithium or valproate) and maintenance (long-term) treatment of bipolar disorder. It can reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder in children and adults. Aripiprazole is effective for the acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes and the prophylactic-maintenance phase of bipolar disorder in patients recovering from manic/mixed episodes.

Here are some references for you:

1. Medicines For Children

2. Cochrane

3. NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

C. Adjunctive Treatment in Major Depressive Disorder

Aripiprazole can be an adjunctive therapy when standard treatments for major depressive disorder do not suffice. Patients who do not respond adequately to antidepressants may benefit from including Aripiprazole, as it has a distinctive capability to regulate neurotransmitter activity. The FDA has approved Aripiprazole as an adjunct to antidepressant medication for treating major depression in adults. Clinical studies demonstrate that aripiprazole may be helpful in the treatment of bipolar depression, major depressive disorder, treatment-resistant depression, and possibly anxiety disorders.

Here are some references for you:

1. Psychiatric Times

2. SpringerLink

3. American Family Physician


D. Treatment of Irritability in Autistic Disorder

Aripiprazole has been approved for treating irritability associated with autistic disorder in children and adolescents. This medication effectively helps manage symptoms such as aggression towards others, self-injurious behaviors, temper tantrums, and rapidly changing moods among pediatric patients.

Here are some references for you:

1. FDA

2. Medicines For Children


V. Off-Label Use of Aripiprazole: Beyond the Standard Applications

A. Use in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Although not officially approved for this purpose, Aripiprazole has been employed off-label to assist in managing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It has been observed to potentially mitigate hyperactivity and impulsivity and enhance attention span, ultimately leading to an overall improvement in functionality.

Here are some references for you:

1. Psychiatric Times


B. Management of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Aripiprazole, in addition to its approved uses, can be prescribed off-label for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) management in cases where conventional treatments fail to provide satisfactory relief. Aripiprazole can effectively reduce the frequency and intensity of obsessions and compulsions. Thereby alleviating mental distress among OCD patients.

Here are some references for you:

1. Psychiatric Times

C. Role in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

In cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), it may be worthwhile considering the use of Aripiprazole as an off-label treatment option. Typically emerging after exposure to trauma, this disorder induces extreme anxiety levels, troubling nightmares, and recurrent flashbacks; for individuals who fail to respond favorably to traditional interventions utilizing Aripiprazole could represent a valuable therapeutic alternative to alleviate the burden of such symptoms.

Here are some references for you:

1. Psychiatric Times


VI. Dosage and Administration of Aripiprazole

A. Standard Dosage Guidelines

The dosage of Aripiprazole may vary depending on the specific condition it is being used to treat in cases of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A typical starting dosage ranges from 10 to 15mg per day. However. When Aripiprazole is used alongside antidepressants for the management of depressive disorders. The initial dose might be as low as 2 to 5mg daily. It is important to note that the dosage should ultimately be tailored to each patient's needs, considering their clinical response and tolerance.

B. Dosage Adjustment in Specific Populations

Considering individuals with hepatic or renal impairment might experience changes in drug metabolism and elimination processes, it would be prudent to reduce their dosage accordingly for optimal results. It is also worth noting that elderly patients need careful consideration due to an increased susceptibility to adverse effects if they suffer from conditions like dementia. Therefore. Starting them on lower doses and gradually adjusting them upwards can help manage any risks effectively. Lastly, yet significantly, when it comes to pediatric dosages, they are determined based on factors such as age, weight, and specific conditions under treatment.

C. Route of Administration

Aripiprazole is offered in various forms, including orally disintegrating tablets and an oral solution. An intramuscular injection option is specifically designed for adults requiring immediate treatment.

VII. Interactions of Aripiprazole: Navigating the Complex Web

A. Drug-Drug Interactions

Certain medications that block or enhance the actions of certain enzymes. Specifically CYP2D6 and CYP3A4. Have the potential to modify how the body processes Aripiprazole. Consequently, this can alter both the desired effects and any accompanying adverse reactions of Aripiprazole. Fluoxetine and paroxetine are examples of drugs that fall into the category of CYP2D6 inhibitors, while carbamazepine and rifampin are known as CYP3A4 inducers.

B. Food-Drug Interactions

Aripiprazole may be taken with or without food. But it is advisable to avoid grapefruit products as they can elevate the drugs' blood levels, potentially causing toxicity.

C. Alcohol and Aripiprazole Interaction

It is important to note that consumption of alcohol can intensify the impacts of Aripiprazole on the central nervous system. It leads to increased drowsiness and impaired motor skills. Therefore. It is advisable to either refrain from consuming alcohol while taking Aripiprazole or approach its use cautiously.

VIII. Side Effects of Aripiprazole: Understanding the Risks

A. Common Side Effects

Some common side effects of Aripiprazole are headache, agitation, anxiety, drowsiness, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.

B. Serious Side Effects

Less frequently occurring yet significant adverse effects that may arise from this medication include tardive dyskinesia. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome orthostatic hypotension, leukopenia, neutropenia, and agranulocytosis. Additionally. Seizures, hyperglycemia leading to diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, and weight gain have been reported as potential side effects.

C. Managing Side Effects: When to Seek Medical Attention

Managing specific side effects can involve adjusting the dosage or providing symptomatic treatment for relief; however, others may require prompt medical attention. In cases where patients experience symptoms such as high fever, muscle rigidity, alterations in mental state, irregular pulse/blood pressure, involuntary facial/body movements, or severe allergic reactions, seeking immediate medical help is essential. Monitoring blood counts, lipid levels, and blood glucose might also be necessary.

IX. Specific Warnings and Contraindications

A. Absolute Contraindications

To ensure patient safety, it is imperative that individuals with a known hypersensitivity to Aripiprazole or any components present in the product formulation avoid using this medication. An allergic reaction could have dire and potentially fatal consequences, including the development of anaphylaxis.

B. Relative Contraindications

Aripiprazole should be used with caution in patients with specific conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and conditions that can lead to hypotension. In addition, it should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures and those who have an elevated core body temperature. These conditions are considered relative contraindications for the use of aripiprazole. Therefore it is essential to adjust the dosage accordingly and closely monitor these patients for any adverse reactions.

C. Warning for Certain Populations

When it comes to elderly individuals grappling with dementia-related psychosis, administering antipsychotic medications such as Aripiprazole carries an elevated risk of mortality. Consequently, its usage is not sanctioned for this particular indication. Additionally worth noting is that Aripiprazole bears a warning flagging increased possibilities of harboring suicidal ideations and engaging in self-destructive behavior among youngsters, adolescents, and adults struggling with major depressive disorder alongside various psychological afflictions.

X. Careful Administration of Aripiprazole

A. Monitoring During Treatment

In order to ensure patient safety and well-being throughout their treatment course with Aripiprazole it is crucial to maintain a close watch for any escalation in symptoms, emergence of suicidal thoughts, or atypical behavioral shifts. This close monitoring becomes even more paramount during initial therapy or dose adjustments. Furthermore, regular checks on weight status. For selected patients, lipid profile assessments and blood glucose level monitoring might be warranted.

B. Strategies to Minimize Side Effects

To minimize the potential for side effects. It is recommended that Aripiprazole be initiated at the lowest effective dose and gradually increased with caution. Patients should be informed about the importance of staying hydrated, taking the medication with food to reduce gastrointestinal disturbances, and exercising caution when transitioning from a seated or lying position to prevent dizziness and falls.

XI. Administration of Aripiprazole in Vulnerable Populations

A. Use in Elderly Patients

The presence of diminished drug metabolism and clearance commonly observed in elderly patients warrants careful consideration within the context of their medical treatment. Consequently, this specific group faces an augmented susceptibility toward developing side effects. Safeguarding their well-being necessitates commencing therapy using reduced doses and closely monitoring for untoward responses like falls, sedation, or delirium.

B. Use in Pregnant Women and Nursing Mothers

Due to the lack of extensive research involving humans. Aripiprazole currently carries a pregnancy category C designation. This classification stems from findings in animal studies that indicate an adverse impact on fetal development due to exposure to this drug. As a result, individuals should exercise caution and only utilize Aripiprazole during pregnancy if its potential benefits warrant any associated risks for their unborn child. Equally important is understanding whether or not Aripiprazole passes into human breast milk remains unclear. Breastfeeding women must make thoughtful decisions by assessing the importance of continuing treatment with this medication and any potential ramifications for their infants' health.

C. Use in Pediatric Patients

Aripiprazole has been proven to be safe and effective for pediatric patients in certain situations and age groups. These include adolescents with schizophrenia (between the ages of 13 and 17) children with bipolar disorder (between the ages of 10 and 17) and those with irritability associated with autistic disorder (between the ages of 6 and 17). It is important to note that the medication is typically started at a lower dose and then increased gradually while closely monitored by a medical professional.

XII. Overdose of Aripiprazole: Recognizing and Responding to an Emergency

A. Symptoms of Overdose

When Aripiprazole is consumed excessively it can manifest in various symptoms such as vomiting, agitation. Sedation altered consciousness and cardiac irregularities like tachycardia. Seizures and respiratory failure have also been reported in severe cases.

B. Immediate Response Measures

It is of utmost importance to promptly seek medical assistance in instances of Aripiprazole overdose. Vital actions comprise ensuring unrestricted air passage, closely monitoring essential signs, and considering gastric decontamination if the patient arrives within one hour after ingestion with a dangerously severe overdose.

C. Long-Term Management of Overdose

An antidote for Aripiprazole overdose has not been identified. The primary approach to long term management involves providing symptomatic and supportive care while closely monitoring the patients cardiovascular condition. In addition it is important to involve mental health professionals in order to evaluate any underlying factors that may have played a role in the overdose episode.

XIII. Storage and Handling Precautions for Aripiprazole

A. Ideal Storage Conditions

Aripiprazole must be stored at a temperature range of 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F) which is considered room temperature. To ensure its quality and effectiveness it is important to protect it from light and moisture. Thus. It should always be kept in its original packaging until the designated time for consumption.

B. Disposal of Unused or Expired Medication

To prevent accidental ingestion or harm to the environment it is important to dispose of unused or expired Aripiprazole properly. It is recommended to follow local guidelines for medication disposal or alternatively one can return the medication to a pharmacy that provides a medication take back program.

C. Precautions to Prevent Accidental Ingestion or Misuse

In order to prevent accidental ingestion. It is advised to keep Aripiprazole out of the reach and sight of children. It is also important not to share this medication with others as misuse can result in severe health complications.

XIV. Important Precautions When Using Aripiprazole

A. Medication Adherence

B. Potential Impact on Mental and Physical Activities

Aripiprazole might result in feelings of drowsiness, dizziness, and visual disturbances. Potentially affecting your ability to drive or operate machinery. It is important to exercise caution with these activities until you are aware of how Aripiprazole specifically affects you.

C. Regular Monitoring and Follow-Up

Ensuring consistent follow-up visits with your healthcare provider when using Aripiprazole is paramount. Through regular check-ins. One can actively address potential side effects and appropriately adjust the dosage when required. Additionally, these appointments lay the foundation for open discussions regarding any concerns or challenges faced during treatment

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