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My pdoc has started me on Abilify and is tapering me off Lithium very slowly at the same time.

I took my first dose last night (5mg). I had a terrible nights sleep, waking up what felt like every 20 mins tossing and turning, and itching all over too. Now I've woken up I feel ok - a little drowsy and a headache, but nothing terrible.

I was just interested in how Abilify makes other people feel, and how it felt when you first started it in particular. Did any weird side effects go away after a few days?

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When I started Abilify, it gave me almost this superhuman ability to belch nearly every 10 minutes. I was also incredibly nauseated, so I was grateful for being on summer break and not at school. Fortunately the belching and nausea went away after a week.

It's been a really good med for me overall. Makes me drowsy so I take it at night.

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It gave me akathisia at 10mg, so I took cogentin for that. It may be responsible for my hair falling out and gynocomastia  (either that or doxepin), so I am going from 15 to 10 now to see if that helps. But 15mg Abilify + 300mg doxepin did wonders for my mood. I also haven't had any hallucinations since I started Abilify. 

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Abilify gave me nausea when I first started on it, but the nausea went away the first week. It also gave me insomnia (early awakening) which never has completely gone away, but the insomnia is not really a problem for me since I sleep too much the way it is. Remeron knocks out a lot of the insomnia for me.

The worst side effect that I got when I was started taking it was horrible anxiety. I can't describe adequately just how bad it was, and it was almost unbearable. When I got up to 10 mg, the anxiety started to go away and the med began to work. That's another thing ... it can take time to work much like an antidepressant. It works fast for some people, but for others, it takes several weeks.

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7 hours ago, jt07 said:

The worst side effect that I got when I was started taking it was horrible anxiety. I can't describe adequately just how bad it was, and it was almost unbearable. 

^This. At first I just put up with it because it was helping initially with psychosis. The pdoc took me off it pretty quickly once the psychosis symptoms were under control, though. 

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I don't really remember a lot about the start up, I was in pretty bad shape at the time, and it was part of a major overhaul of meds. I was on it for a couple of years, taking it in the mornings, but it must have been doing something, because when it pooped out on me I could tell. Mostly auditory hallucinations. 

Earlier this year I had to go off of risperdal (high prolactin levels), and we thought we'd try abilify again. After the first dose (at night) I woke with horrendous and painful stiff muscles in my right arm. Called pdoc, he said "drop it", so I doubt I'll be trying it again. 

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Thank you all for your replies. I SO want it to work because I don't want to have to go back on Lithium again.

I took it at night and had a really bad night's sleep, as I said, but yesterday I took it in the day and it made me feel really crappy and sick.

So tonight I'm going to try it at night time again and see how it goes.

On December 11, 2015 at 11:20 AM, aura said:

Abilify gave me awful akathisia. I didn't stay on it long enough (about a week?) to see if it would go away. 

Can you remember what dose you were started on?

On December 11, 2015 at 11:26 AM, chem said:

When I started Abilify, it gave me almost this superhuman ability to belch nearly every 10 minutes. I was also incredibly nauseated, so I was grateful for being on summer break and not at school. Fortunately the belching and nausea went away after a week.

OK, that is hopeful, because it makes me really nauseated too. Hopefully it will pass.

I'm flying to the UK in 5 days for a month - not the best time for a meds change!

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The nausea goes away in about a week. Depending on what you mean when you said that you felt like crap during the day, that too should improve.

Since you are coming off lithium, you've got to be vigilant that you don't develop mania. Abilify is known to act both as a mood stabilizer and as an antidepressant. It has the potential to push some people into mania, particularly in the beginning. I'm not trying to discourage you, I just want to make you aware of this.

Abilify has been the best antidepressant that I've ever tried even though it is not technically an antidepressant. I'm not  bipolar, but once it started to work for me, I became almost hypomanic. The initial 3 months on it were pure bliss.

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9 hours ago, jt07 said:

The nausea goes away in about a week. Depending on what you mean when you said that you felt like crap during the day, that too should improve.

Since you are coming off lithium, you've got to be vigilant that you don't develop mania. Abilify is known to act both as a mood stabilizer and as an antidepressant. It has the potential to push some people into mania, particularly in the beginning. I'm not trying to discourage you, I just want to make you aware of this.

Abilify has been the best antidepressant that I've ever tried even though it is not technically an antidepressant. I'm not  bipolar, but once it started to work for me, I became almost hypomanic. The initial 3 months on it were pure bliss.

 I really appreciate this entire post.

It's only been 3 days and I already feel lifted from the depression I've been in for months. I can see how this could lead to mania. I'll  be sure to keep an extra eye out. I'm off to the UK for a month now though (change of time zones, away from my pdoc, little structure) so probably not the best timing. Here's hoping all goes ok...! I appreciate the warming though.

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