Which antidepressants work best with Abilify? I Psych Central

Antidepressants alone may not be enough for adults with major depressive disorder. Aripiprazole (Abilify) can be taken with antidepressants to treat symptoms of depression.

Antidepressants are among the most prescribed medications to treat anxiety and depression combined.

From 2015 to 2018, approximately 13.2% of American adults have used antidepressants in the past 30 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Antidepressants have been shown to be effective for depression and anxiety, but antidepressants alone may not be enough for some people.

Symptoms of depression that return while taking antidepressants are known as breakthrough depression. It occurs in 33% people using antidepressants.

Taking other medicines, such as Abilify, in addition to your antidepressants as part of your treatment can help improve your symptoms.

Abilify is a brand name drug for the prescription drug Aripiprazole. It is an atypical antipsychotic, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Atypical antipsychotics are second-generation antipsychotics. Some work by blocking the action of dopamine on specific neuron receptors in the brain.

Second-generation antipsychotics may have fewer side effects than first-generation drugs. The effect of second-generation antipsychotics on 5-HT-2a receptors may be related to weaker neurological side effects.

The FDA has approved Abilify as an add-on therapy for adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) without psychotic symptoms and when antidepressants alone aren’t enough.

Abilify is often used with antidepressants. That is why it is usually included as part of augmentation therapy, when drugs are combined. It is not approved for this use in children.

The main active medicine in Abilify, aripiprazole, is used to treat schizophrenia, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). It is also FDA approved to treat symptoms of:

There are different forms of Abilify, but it is usually taken by mouth as tablets that are swallowed whole. Abilify can usually be taken with or without food.

Abilify works by regulating the action of neurotransmitters in the brain.

It is primarily known as a dopamine modulator. It can act as a partial dopamine receptor agonist when dopamine activity is high. It also helps balance dopamine when activity levels are low.

Similar to its effects on dopamine receptors, Abilify is a partial serotonin receptor agonist.

Abilify may work on its own for other disorders, but for depression it is most effective as an add-on treatment or as part of augmentation therapy.

Antidepressants are the main treatment for depression, but only a third of patients will achieve remission with their initial treatment, according to research 2008. The other two-thirds are unlikely to achieve remission and must continue their search for an effective treatment plan.

Adding Abilify to an existing treatment plan may have positive results over monotherapy or treating depression one drug at a time.

According to a 2007 study. Researchers believe it may be particularly effective in patients with treatment-resistant depression.

Adjuvant aripiprazole was associated with twice the remission rate of adjuvant placebo. It was also found to be relatively well tolerated and safe, according to a clinical trial 2009.

When people with depression do not achieve remission with treatment, they may switch to another antidepressant.

A study 2017 found that augmentation with aripiprazole was more effective than switching to another antidepressant. Among patients with major depressive disorder unresponsive to prior treatment, 29% achieved remission after augmentation with aripiprazole.

Abilify is usually taken with other antidepressants in people with depression.

Antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Common antidepressants include:

Note that Abilify may interact with other medications. A doctor can advise you on drug interactions before you decide to take Abilify.

There is little research on the effectiveness of aripiprazole when combined with specific antidepressants. But some studies have shown that Abilify and Lexapro can be an effective treatment for depression.

When combined with escitalopram (Lexapro), Abilify has been shown to be an effective and safe treatment for major depressive disorder, according to a 2009 study.

Many drugs interact with aripiprazole, which can lead to serious complications.

Abilify may interact with the following drugs:

  • metoclopramide
  • Adderall
  • clarithromycin
  • itraconazole
  • quinidine
  • Prozac
  • paxil
  • carbamazepine
  • rifampin
  • lorazepam

This is not an exhaustive list of possible drug interactions with Abilify. If you are taking medication, you should tell your doctor and pharmacist before taking Abilify.

Before starting any new medication, you will want to ask your doctor for more information. Antipsychotics are known to have many side effects. Abilify has many known drug interactions.

Here are some questions you can ask your doctor before taking Abilify with antidepressants:

  • Does Abilify interact with any medications I am currently taking?
  • Should Abilify be taken with food or on an empty stomach?
  • How long until you see results with Abilify?
  • What are the short term side effects of Abilify?
  • What are the long term side effects of Abilify?
  • Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking Abilify?
  • How and when should I take Abilify?
  • When should I stop taking Abilify?
  • What foods or drinks should I avoid while taking Abilify?
  • How do you monitor Abilify?
  • How will we know if the dose needs to be changed?
  • What should I do if I forget a dose?

Coping with depression isn’t easy, and you’re not alone.

About 5% people around the world suffer from depression. Different treatment options exist for people with depression, but the effectiveness of treatment can vary from person to person.

If your antidepressants have stopped working, combining them with Abilify may provide some relief.

Abilify is a prescription drug for patients with schizophrenia, but it can also help relieve symptoms of other mental health conditions, including major depressive disorder.

Talk to a doctor to find out if Abilify is right for you and can be taken with any other medications you are using.

Looking for a therapist but don’t know where to start? Psych Central’s How to Find Mental Health Support resource can help.

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