Can Abilify Cause Weight Gain?

Can Abilify Cause Weight Gain? – Introduction

Using any medicine comes with its set of advantages and disadvantages. The benefits could be taken in the form of the effects that a person experiences soon after taking those medications that help them counter the condition for which they were prescribed that very medicine in the first place.

On the other hand, the disadvantages could be taken in the form of specific side effects that are a part of intaking those medications. All drugs have their side effect profile, but this could be easily managed and kept in check if one’s physician keeps all factors that could trigger those side effects.

This article reviews the significant side effects a person taking Abilify – the market name for Aripiprazole, could experience. It also deals with the major concern that the majority of people undergoing treatment with antipsychotics have – and that is significant weight gain. Keep reading to understand the basics about Abilify and the truth behind the medication and weight gain.

Abilify – An Introduction

Arpipirazole, also available in the market as Abilify, is a popular antipsychotic drug. It is a drug that has been used over the years for successfully treating conditions such as Schizophrenia, Tourette Syndrome, bipolar disorder, and specific aggravated symptoms of Autistic disorder.

Abilify works by restoring and balancing the natural chemicals and neurotransmitters in the brain. The dysfunctioning or imbalance of these neurotransmitters causes an abrupt or delayed onset of symptoms, thus leading to the development of certain symptoms in an individual.

Specifically, Abilify has been seen to impact the Dopamine receptors in the brain. It acts both as an agonist and antagonist for these Dopamine receptors and, thereby, works to make sure that Dopamine is present within its normal limits at all times.

Let’s review the side effects of Abilify before diving into its relationship with body weight.

Side Effects of Abilify

Like any other antipsychotic drug, Abilify is seen to contain its adverse effect profile. Similarly, like every other antipsychotic drug, it has been advised that Abilify should be taken under extreme care and precautions and should never be adjusted by users themselves.

It should only be taken under the care of a certified psychiatrist and only in the recommended dosages.

If, however, a person takes Abilify and it does not suit them, it is seen that they may experience a variety of side effects, including:

● Dizziness

● Lightheadedness

● Nausea

● Vomiting

● Excessive salivation or drooling

● Blurred vision

● Sleeping disorders

● Seizures

Although avoidable, it may sometimes become challenging for a person to get control of their condition once these side effects come into action.

It is for reasons like these that it is recommended that the slight appearance of any side effect should be reported to the concerned authorities immediately so that appropriate steps can be taken to reverse any damage done.

Now, let’s review the evidence behind Abilify and weight gain.

Abilify And Weight Gain – The Truth Behind It

There have been popular claims revolving around the fact that Abilify also causes weight gain in some people using it. This has been assumed for those people who have been taking Abilify for longer periods. However, the truth and conviction behind this statement could only be proven by research and trials done on this fact.

According to previous research work done on this topic, it has already been established that antipsychotic drugs cause significant weight gain in some of the people who take them for longer prescribed times. However, in this same study, it was also inferred that Abilify is weight-neutral and has little to no impact on the weight of the individuals who take this drug.

However, observational trials have already been conducted on younger populations to see whether this claim holds any truth. The study was conducted on two individuals, aged 11 and 15, who were male and female. In both these subjects, it was found that the male gained 8 kilograms a month after he had started Abilify. In contrast, the female subject gained 11 kilograms after two months of starting her prescribed dose for mood stabilization.

Therefore, even if done on a small population and that too, on younger aged individuals, it was evident that Abilify did have some impact on the weight of individuals. This weight gain, although insignificant, was enough to render the assumption correct regarding the association of Abilify with weight gain.

Although it might be a very point to add here that all the research-based studies were carried out on young adults and teenagers; therefore, weight gain was more frequently noticed only in them. It is also a matter of common observation that these studies do not apply to adults since no weight gain was seen in adults.

This weight gain-associated stigma should never be a reason to stop taking your antipsychotic drug and, thus, end up suffering more from your primary symptoms. Plus, being an adult never came in handy before – at least there is something as important as weight gain that you do not need to worry about while being on your prescription of Aripiprazole!

Should I Stop Taking Abilify Then?

However, at the same time, when it was decided that antipsychotic drugs cause weight gain, it was also inferred that the weight gain stopped or reduced significantly when a person stopped taking those particular antipsychotic drugs. This is indeed a good sign and can, therefore, guarantee that a person can take these antipsychotics without any further feelings of tension or stress!

Therefore, it would be safe to say that there is no absolute need to stop your prescribed dose of Abilify for fear that it might give you some extra pounds.

It is always the best choice to focus on your primary treatment first – the rest of the symptoms could easily be taken care of once you are healthy and good to go. After all, a little weight loss never hurts anyone! Consequently, it is essential to check this concern with your doctor and discuss the best strategies for you.

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2. Di Sciascio G, Riva MA. Aripiprazole: from pharmacological profile to clinical use. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2015 Oct 13:2635-47.

3. Singh T. Aripiprazole-induced weight gain. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2005 Jun 1;2(6):19.

4. Dayabandara M, Hanwella R, Ratnatunga S, Seneviratne S, Suraweera C, de Silva VA. Antipsychotic-associated weight gain: management strategies and impact on treatment adherence. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment. 2017 Aug 22:2231-41.

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