Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Abilify Side Effects?

I've been on my "full" dose of Abilify for about two weeks. Full is in quotes because it's only 1 mg/day, whereas if I was taking it for bipolar disorder and not headaches, I'd be on 20 mg, according to my neurologist. Check out my first Abilify post.

Because I had to start it so gradually, I'm thinking the dosage is high enough to cause side effects. So, here they are, and please note that I'm reluctant to post these because I've had a cold the last week and a half, so these could be from the cold:

- Vivid dreams. Very very creepily realistic.
- Loss of appetite (this one's got to be from my cold).
- INABILITY TO CONCENTRATE. I'm at work right now, and I figured all I was doing was staring at the computer screen, so I might as well post about it on my blog. Seriously, I have a lot of work to do and my job has been ridiculously difficult lately just because I can't focus!
- Depression. **Let me change this to "Anxiety." While I do feel down, I'm more anxious than anything. I don't want to misrepresent the lovely side effects!** A depression medicine, causing depression? Strange, but it happens. My neurologist said Abilify would lower my anxiety (I haven't been diagnosed, but I worry all the time), and I think it's done the opposite. I'm restless and yet in a zone.

If you're on Abilify, please share your experiences! I can live with the side effects, but I still have headaches, so what's the point. I'm going to stick with it until my next appointment in December because I know meds take a while to work, but I don't anticipate that happening. Sorry to be negative.

To end on a positive note, I've decided to see a new neurologist. I'm going to speak with my current neuro about it in Dec.

29 comments:

eagledove9 said...

I happened to find this blog while I was googling the words: Abilify Side Effects.

I don't know anything about your headaches or why you have them, but you might read about artificial sweeteners, like Nutrasweet. They can cause severe headaches for some people, including me. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) can also do it.

good luck
nicole

Header said...

Nicole,

Thanks for your comment. I'm guessing you just started Abilify if you were searching for side effects, but if you've been on it long enough to experience any side effects, feel free to share your experience on this blog. (Hopefully you don't have any though!)

I appreciate your tips. I'm hoping to get a food intolerance test sometime soon to check for things like that. I do chew sugarfree gum, although I've tried stopping in the past and my headaches didn't go away. I need to stop because it's not healthy though! And neither is MSG, which I actually do go to great lengths to avoid because it gives me awful flu symptoms. I guess that's a blessing in disguise since it's so bad for you.

Good recommendations! :)

Anonymous said...

I take abilify, 15mg/20mg depending on the day to control some of what I call brain-issues (it is an anti-psychotic, as you know, which is what I take it for).

I stopped it about a week ago, after a suicide attempt (something that can be common for people like me, taking pills like these).

My migraines have now turned from highly painful into massive nightmarish episodes where I've gone to the hospital for CT scans, convinced my head is about to explode. Completely debilitating to the point that I can't move (even turn my head) without additional pain.

I'm posting out of curiosity if your headaches increase in pain after *stopping* the medication like me.

Thanks and good luck

Heather said...

Anon,

I'm so sorry about your difficulties with Abilify and with your health! I did not notice a difference in my headaches after stopping Abilify. They've gotten progressively worse and I don't think any medication I've taken or am currently taking is having any effect on my headaches at all, better or worse.

I hope your brain and migraine issues improve. Thank you for sharing and good luck to you too! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Heather. One of the top side effects for Abilify IS headaches. Personally, taking just 2 mg of Abilify gives me a two-day headache. Scanning the various forums I'm starting to get the impression that far lower doses than "therapeutic dose" are just as effective.

Heather said...

Anon - thanks for your comment. I'm no longer on Abilify, but I think it's crazy that headache is a side effect of most headache medications. Then again, it's a side effect of most medications, period. I guess you just have to find out what works best for you.

Anonymous said...

My husband was taking abilify for 6 weeks when all of sudden he could not breath, could not walk and his head was in so much pain he is sweating a lot. He stopped taking abilify and now he can breath better and he can walk but his headaches are much worst and we have had MRI, CAT Scan, a spinal tap and they are all normal and now the doctors are saying abilify. We should all find an attorney and so a class action law suit, this drug is dangerous and should not be given. The FDA has a warning on this drug. My husband is still down with this mirgraine and has been out of work for a month. HELP! I need answers. They have him on heavy duty pain medicine which he could get addicted too now.

Heather said...

Anon - I'm so sorry about your husband. It sounds like he had some weird allergic reaction, or maybe a bad batch of Abilify (I guess anything is possible). I wish I could give some advice, but I'm still dealing with 20+ days of headaches/migraine each month. I hope your husband is able to find something that works for him. I'll keep you both in my prayers!

Kath said...

I'm sorry to hear about all of your problems with migraines. Mine started after a car accident in 1994 (I'm 51 now). I get two different types due to the accident. The right side of my neck tightened due to whiplash and I got occipital neuralgia. Steroid injections are what eleviate the migraines (and nausea and vomiting) coming from there. One of the signs of OP is a tightening of the neck muscles. OP tyically doesn't respond well to meds. For the ones coming from the right side of my head where it hit the steering wheel, I treat it with Depakote - a preventative med - and Relpac when I have a flair up. Depakote works great for me. The down side is it makes me sleepy. That depends on the dose you need.

I wish all of you the best. It's a real struggle even for me with these meds and injections. - k

Heather said...

Kath,

Thanks so much for your comment and well wishes. I'm sorry for what you're going through too! I hope one day your pain will go away so you won't need to do the injections and take the meds, but at the same time I'm glad you've been able to find something that works for you! Take care! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I have been on a lot of medications for bipolar disorder. My current regimen is Lamictal, Trileptal, Valium, Geodon, Cymbalta; and, recently, Abilify. I have had minor side effects with other drugs, but Abilify, at a measly 5mg/day, is far and above the worst I've ever experienced. It has caused SEVERE headaches, weird dreams (when I can actually sleep - again, the headaches) and dizziness. I have found it to be intolerable. I'm stopping immediately; I don't care how much it could help. The side effects are horrible. No amount of pain medications have helped. I feel bad for others that are going through this...best of luck to all of you.

Anonymous said...

I started taking 50 mg of abilify for post partum depression. (after my first child I had gotten extremely high anxiety. So with my second child I talked to dr about getting on something for a few months until hormones are back to normal). I cant get my perscription filled until my next, pay so for a week ive been going without. I have had massive headaches, quite possibly migraines, that start at the same time everyday and get progressively worse. I also have been having vivid nightmares. im glad I found this blog because I couldnt figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Started 2mg of Abilify over a week ago as an adjunct to Lexapro 20 mg. I have been on Lexapro 2 weeks prior to adding Abilify - at which point a dull headache appears shortly after taking this. Eventually it fades away in the day. Am thinking of discontinuing Abilify...

Tried every SSRI out there and only had side effects with citolapram. Even stopping Paxil CR cold turkey didn't phase me.

Katie said...

I was searching for headaches and Abilify. I'm not sure if that's what's been causing my headaches. hopefully this is a side effect that will go away.

My doctor put me on a beta blocker to help prevent migraines. It worked wonders until I started taking Abilify (1 mg in addition to several other meds).

Anonymous said...

My son is 11 and just took his first dose of Abilify today and already has a headache.

Anonymous said...

I just started Abilify 7 days ago and have a headache. I was googling 'Abilify headache' when I got to this blog.

I'm not sure if they'll ever go away now. After 7 days you think they would.

Anonymous said...

My wife has been on 2 mg of Abilify for about 3 weeks now. Her headaches started a few days after taking it. Her doctor said that, as far as she knows, Abilify should not cause the headaches. She is also taking Luvox (150 mg) for her OCD/depression and Ambien to sleep. From this blog I can see that the headaches may be from the Abilify. They are very bad!!

Steph said...

Hi-

I've had headaches far as long as I can remember, but they got really bad in college tension/migraine...I confess I'm a horrible worry wart. My doctor started me on an anti-depressant called cymbalta ( it blocks pain receptors in your brain)It really helped!!!! Headache free for 1 1/2 until I got off. The withdrawal is horrible!!!

Anonymous said...

I have been taking abilify for schitzophrenia for over eight years- I am forty. I've had bad headaches and nightmarish dreams at times whilst taking this medication, but it helps anxiety and too much thinking. I take it for anti-psychotic reasons. I wanted to be taking a newer medication for less side-effects such as weight gain, tremors, but I'm not so sure if this is the best situation to be in given severe headaches at times especially when it has not been a regular time frame of taking it- the headaches worsen, possibly as I am reliant now.

better&better said...

I am 64 and suffered severe daily headaches all of my adult life. I started Cymbalta 75mgx3 and Abilify 2 mg. During a 2 week stint at Diamond Headache clinic, Chicago.
It was awful the first 10 or 12 days. A couple of months were required for the slow improvement stated. I have dropped from 5-10 on 10 scale to 3-5. My doc bumped the Abilify from 2 to 5 mg two weeks ago. The relief was

immediate.. It has been 8 months since Diamond. It has taken that long to drop to a 2-4 on a 10 scale. It takes time , diligent note taking and patience. The road on the way is rocky and discouraging. Hang in there. I feel for all of you.

better&better said...

47 years of headaches led me Diamond Headache clinic for 2 weeks in May, 2011. Cymbalta and Abilify 5 mg.were started. Pain was as bad as ever during the 2 week stay. Then slowly over time pain was at 4 to 6 on a 10 scale. Two weeks ago I followed the doc's suggestion that I tke 5 mg of Abilify. Resuts were immediate. I am at a 2 to 4 out of 10. Side effects? Sure. Ringing ears, dry mouth, constipation, and significant weight gain all camped in my body. They are much more desireable than pain. Headaches were 24/7 everyday of my adult life. I am 64 and loving this new found relief. Hang in there. Be open and patient with your doc. I feel for all of you.

renee said...

My daughter is 9 years old. She has bipolar disorder and ADHD. She was put on abilify over 2 years ago and that's when her migrains started. Her migrains recently got worse, they have been fiddling with her dosage for over a year.Shes been in and out of the hospital this month over 8 times for her migrains. Had mri, catscan everything you could think of but all normal. Seen a neurologist that said it might be food related so cut out the soda, lunch meat, cheese everything they said that can cause migrains. And still no change. I notice she will be having a good day and when its time to take her abilify at night mabe 30 minutes later she starts with a headache and it gets worse during the night. Now everytime she gets a migrains the neurologist told me to.bring her straighy to the ER to get a migrains cocktail to or shot to stop it. So basically all they came up with is bring her to.the ER almost everyday to stop the migrains. I'm frustrated and hate seeing my little girl like this. And plus since she's been on the abilify she has has a significant weight gain. She is in track and very active and still gain a lot of weight!

Anonymous said...

I started Abilify 2 mg about 3 weeks a go and the headaches are getting more frequent and worse. I was on Lamotrigine and had migraines everyday all day. I also experienced a 6 lb. weight gain and dizziness. I plan on asking my Psychiatrist to see if we can do something about the headaches. I do feel less depression but the side effects outweigh the benefits.

Anonymous said...

I have been on Abilify for a month now taking 2.5 mg per day along with my Lithium. I have a headache most of the day, nothing severe just a dull ache. I am going to call my doctor and get off of this. I wanted to give this time to work but no dice it seems.

Anonymous said...

Been taking abilify 5mg five days this is supposed to be a boost for My effexor for depression and also to help with sleep started Wed night and gave me a dull headache within a couple hours nothing unbearable woke up with same headache but it faded Thursday night same thing Friday night my headache started to change into an intense migraine that had both of the blood vessels in the back of my neck pounding by sat morning I was bed ridden I checked my blood pressure and it had sky rocketed to 220/139 not good I do have hypertension but it's been under complete control for years sat and Sunday I took extra blood pressure meds but the pressure wouldn't come down more than 159/109 The pain has backed off about 70% will hopefully make it thru pain until tomorrow to call doctor if It comes back I will be going to ER

Anonymous said...

This is only my second day of taking 5 mg of Abilify. I, for the most part never get headaches, but the 2 days I've taken the drug, it feels like my head is going to literally explode from the pain.
I was given Abilify for very bad Bipolar depression, anxiety, and panic attacks that I've suffered from for about 25 years now. I obviously havn't taken the drug long enough to notice any difference in the easing of my mental symptoms, but it's become clear to me that these crushing headaches are not coincidental.
I'm already done taking the Abilify as of today. From what I've been reading, the headaches and other side effects only get worse with time and I'm not going to give it the chance.
Thanks for all your very helpful input on Abilify in your posts.

Laura said...

I started abilify two days ago ans I have a terrible headache and I am nauseous and I had a realistic dream last night I'm NOT taking anymore. I never get headaches this is not normal.

MURPHY said...

I began taking abilify5mg a day a month ago. I have had Panic Disorder for 28 years. Usually side effects occur soon after staring a new med. However, I am starting to experience dreams that cause me to wake in a full Panic Attack. Which I haven't had for years. I began having a severe migraine ever day. I am in the medical profession. I suggest you look up the side effects in a PDR, aka a Physician's Desk Reference If you can't find it on the Internet go to the Library. Not only read the side effects read the adverse reactions. That's my plan. Sadly, I have Osteoarthritis in my neck My migraine med usually kicks the migraine out in a few days. I've worn my whiplash collar, hid in my cold, dark bedroom & taken my migraine med without any relief So I think of the most recent change. My newest med, Abilify Good Luck. I hope you find relief soon.

Heather said...

Murphy - I hadn't heard of the PDR, but I will keep that in mind, thank you! I hope you find relief soon too!