Sunday, January 28, 2007


Dominyk, our youngest son, suffers from severe ADHD and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. About two months ago, the psychiatrist prescribed Abilify, a drug used to treat Bi-Polar Disorder. An article in the The BIpolar Child Newsletter talks extensively about the medication.

One of the quotes in the article says
Studies conducted with Abilify show that patients gain little if any weight;

We have had a completely different experience. Dominyk has gained 21 pounds in 60 days. His appetitie us uncontrollable and he is insatiable from about 3:00 until he goes to bed. So on Friday the psychiatrist decided to cut the Abilify in half and determine how this would effect his behavior as well as the weight gain.

The past two days Dominyk hasn't seemed to be quite as hungry, but he has had a major meltdown at around 3 in the afternoon two days in a row. It hasn't been an angry meltdown, but an inconsollable craying meltdown about something very small. He gets very obsessed about something and can't seem to stop crying.

Dominyk's behavior has been better than ever on the abilify and he has been sleeping better than he ever has. He is more redirectable at home and seems happier. But the severe weight gain needs to stop.

Kari's daughter Anna gained a lot of weight on abilify as well. I'm wondering if anyone else who has experience with this drug could comment.


Paula said...

My Mari is on Abilify and is as skinny as ever. However, I do have a friends whose son gain a BUNCH of weight on it.

dskelly said...

Hello my bi polor daughter just started abilified and she gets violently nausus after taking the abilified, it passes but it is terrible. Her behavior is wonderful, better than it has ever been so we are weighingf the pros and cons right now.

Mary said...

My 11-year-old and our 14-year-old foster daughter both take Abilify. It has worked quite well for both of them.

However ....

My daughter has always been "thick." When she first started the Abilify, she got thicker. Now, she's getting into puberty and growth spurts and it's helping her to slim down. She's still got a ways to go, but she's looking better than she has in years.

Now our respite daughter recently went off her Abilify (with psychiatrist's approval) due to the weight gain. She started taking Abilify in June, I believe, and since then has gained about 50 pounds. And her moods have been atrocious. Her appetite is tremendous since she's been off the Abilify -- sneaking food late at night -- which I thought was kind of odd.

She will be going back on Abilify and the weight issue is going to be addressed in another manner.

I think it's like a lot of drugs: everyone's going to have differing reactions to them. I wish, however, there was something that worked like Abilify without the weight issue.

Claudia said...

This is a lengthy response from someone who wants to remain anonymous. It certainly is not encouraging.

"I could write a book what I know about Abilify and wanted to respond. Abilify caused a variety of wonderful effects for our son the first year. The second year was horrible and getting worse.

Depending on a person's brain structure, Abilify either blocks brain cells development or it triggers it. This information comes from parents whose children are treated by Harvard psychopharmacologists, and it is what they have found in their research--not all of it is even published yet. Anyway, removing Abilify often causes worse symptoms than what it was given to treat because of how it affects the brain chemistry. To mainstream psychiatrists, it looks like a worsening of symptoms or an ineffective medication, but it really alters the brain growth. Our psychiatrist didn't believe any of this until he has watched our continue to gradually emerge from illness over the past two years as the brain gradually rebuilds itself one molecule at a time. Our son will never be normal, but he is clearly improving (using vitamins instead of other meds), and that is something we never saw on the 13 psychiatric meds he took over the time. 

We can always tell when Abilify is being released from his cells now that they are "dumping" the meds stored in his cells (cleansing/medication release is like LSD flashbacks and won't occur with daily psychiatric medications being given). When Abilify is being released, he almost kills our dog with his horrific obsessive compulsive behavior to her (I am not exaggerating). Additionally, he obsessively chews holes in his shirts when the Abilify is being released and makes constant noise.

Abilify triggers mania in some kids, and no dose can be tolerated. Some kids have a threshold where mania strikes after a certain dose. This is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg about what I know about Abilify. And, that our experiences hold true with other parents who have also gone through Abilify treatment for relatively lengthy time periods.

Mary said...

Today, our foster daughter went to the psychiatrist to discuss her medication.

While we determined that Abilify seemed to work best, we talked about the weight gain issues again.

This time, we're trying Lamictal (lah-MICK-tall), which does not cause weight gain. It is also a preventative for depression (eliminating the need for antidepressants that may be already taken).

I don't know if that helps. But it's the first alternative I have ever heard about. We'll see how it goes!

Jennifer said...

My son Dominic was on Abilify and also gained weight from it. He is now on Adderall and Risperadal and still has an appetite but I don't feel it is like before. He actually gets full now.

Laura said...

This info comes straight from the Abilify website. Please read if your child takes this medication!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


unexpected increases in thirst, urination, or hunger your blood sugar should be monitored. Increases in blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), in some cases serious and associated with coma or death, have been reported in patients taking ABILIFY and medicines like it

INDICATIONS: ABILIFY (aripiprazole) is indicated for:
Treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with Bipolar I Disorder in adults and in pediatric patients 10 to 17 years of age

Elderly patients, diagnosed with psychosis as a result of dementia (for example, an inability to perform daily activities as a result of increased memory loss), and who are treated with atypical antipsychotic medicines including ABILIFY, are at an increased risk of death when compared to patients who are treated with a placebo (sugar pill). ABILIFY is not approved for these patients.

Some medicines can increase suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children, teens, and young adults. Serious mental illnesses are themselves associated with an increase in the risk of suicide. When taking ABILIFY call your doctor right away if you have new or worsening mood symptoms, unusual changes in behavior, or thoughts of suicide. Patients and their caregivers should be especially observant for such symptoms within the first few months of treatment or after a change in dose.

Contraindication: Patients should not use ABILIFY if they are allergic to aripiprazole or any of the ingredients in ABILIFY. Allergic reactions have ranged from rash, hives and itching to anaphylaxis, which may include difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue.

Serious side effects may include:

An increased risk of stroke and ministroke has been reported in clinical studies of elderly people with dementia-related psychosis

Very high fever, rigid muscles, shaking, confusion, sweating, or increased heart rate and blood pressure. These may be signs of a condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), a rare but serious side effect which could be fatal

Abnormal or uncontrollable movements of face, tongue, or other parts of body. These may be signs of a serious condition called tardive dyskinesia (TD), which could become permanent

If you have diabetes, or risk factors for diabetes (for example, obesity, family history of diabetes), or

Lightheadedness or faintness caused by a sudden change in heart rate and blood pressure when rising quickly from a sitting or lying position (orthostatic hypotension) has been reported with ABILIFY.

ABILIFY and medicines like it can affect your judgment, thinking, or motor skills. You should not drive or operate hazardous machinery until you know how ABILIFY affects you.

Medicines like ABILIFY can impact your body’s ability to reduce body temperature; you should avoid overheating and dehydration.

ABILIFY and medicines like it have been associated with swallowing problems (dysphagia). If you had or have swallowing problems, you should tell your healthcare professional.

Tell your healthcare professional if you have a history of or are at risk for seizures, or are pregnant or intend to become pregnant, and about all prescription and non-prescription medicines you are taking or plan to take, since there are some risks for drug interactions.

While taking ABILIFY avoid:

Drinking alcohol
Breast-feeding an infant
Most common side effects (≥10%) from all clinical trials involving adults or pediatric patients include:

ADULTS: Nausea, vomiting, constipation, headache, dizziness, an inner sense of restlessness or need to move (akathisia), anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness.

PEDIATRIC PATIENTS (10-17 years): Extrapyramidal disorder (for example, uncontrolled movement disorders or muscle disturbances such as restlessness, tremors and muscle stiffness), headache, sleepiness, and nausea.

It is important to contact your healthcare professional if you experience prolonged, abnormal muscle spasm or contraction which may be signs of a condition called dystonia.

For patients who must limit their sugar intake, ABILIFY Oral Solution contains sugar.

For patients with phenylketonuria or PKU, ABILIFY DISCMELT® (aripiprazole) contains phenylalanine.

If you have any questions about your health or medicines, talk to your healthcare professional.

Please see U.S. FULL PRESCRIBING INFORMATION, including Boxed WARNINGS, and Medication Guide.

momtothehurting said...

My son is 7 years old and has been on abilify since may of 08. He also was put on depekote at that same time. He has gained over 20 lbs in 8 months. I am very concerned. We stopped the depekote two months ago thinking that was the problem but he is still gaining. He has gained another 7 or 8 lbs in the past two months. He was always very thin till he started on a higher dose of risperdal over a year ago. that of course was stopped when we started the depekote and abilfy. He also takes tenex for adhd. He has to have something for his bipolar but i am stressed trying to find something that will help him. He has went from a size 6 to a 10 which is getting tight in 8 months.