Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Njectable form of the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole

My son started the injectable aripiprazole today. Looking for feedback on side effects to be concerned about. Actually I’m looking for any feedback from anyone who’s loved one takes the injectable. My son wasn’t taking his anti-psychotic pills regularly and was spending more time in the psych ward than home.

My son also would stop taking his pills and then relapse and end up in the hospital. Now once a month he is getting an anti psychotic shot and at least we don’t have to worry he stopped taking his pills.

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My son has done very well on injectable abilify. After his first episode of psychosis at age 21 he was on injection for 12 months, it was the best two years of our life. His delusions decreased and were in the background of his thoughts for first couple of months. instead of his every waking thought. Then his delusions were gone completely. His paranoia decreased then stopped as well. The best change was he had more insight into his feelings and emotions. He had empathy and was aware of others needs. He was a joy to be around. His biggest complaint was fatigue after each monthly injection for several days.

Unfortunately it was court ordered and when the order ended he refused to take the injection. He took abilify pills for several months after the injection. His psychosis did not return for eight months after he stopped the medication. Our son still has little to no insight into his illness and does not believe he has schizophrenia

Currently he is recovering from that relapse. He was hospitalized in May after he became violent after he was unmedicated for over a year. In this most recent hospital stay he had one abilify maintaina injection in the hospital after 2 weeks of abilify pills which really improved his symptoms (which was a much shorter time frame than his first episode of psychosis). He was not court ordered to take shot upon discharge, but was willing to take abilify pills. So far he has taken the pills fairly consistently and has no active psychosis or paranoia. He is seeking friends and out of the house daily and has begun to look for a part-time job. This is huge improvement as he had no social contact, and would not go store independently due to his paranoia for the majority of the year he was unmedicated.

Abilify is the drug that works best for our son. Everyone’s experience is different and the right medication for each person is individual. I wish our son was on the injection but I take what we can get and right now he is good. Finding the right dose and the right medication takes time and is trial and error. I believe injections lead to medication consistency and can be life changing in a positive way when right medication and dose is found.

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My daughter went on an injection form of haloperidol about 10 months ago. She went from practically 24/7 psychosis (talking aloud to voices) to almost no voices at all, with paranoid delusions receding and an ability to keep a low stress part time job. I worry that there will be severe side effects, but so far there is just nerve “jangling” and weight gain.

I wonder sometimes if they’ve considered other delivery systems for AP drugs that might be more palatable. This may seem a bit facetious, but what about AP cigarettes or vapes or coffee? Not that you want to encourage such vices, but many people with SZ have these habits anyway and don’t seem likely to kick them.

Injections and implants are so invasive, I’m sure anyone with an active delusional life would resist. I guess there’s still the question of consent, and a possibility of an accidental dosing, but once you have a court order, consent is out the window.

My understanding is Abilify/aripiprazole has a very long half-life even in pill form, so you’d think there’d be other options like patches and such.

Edit: P.S. per the OP’s question about side-effects. My recollection is drowsiness and dizziness is common initially, and at some dosages motor issues like akathisia (fidgetiness, jumpy legs) and tardive dyskinesia can be a problem. As with most atypicals weight gain, higher lipid levels and diabetes like symptoms are a longer term problem. I used to send people to https://crazymeds.net but it’s not as well maintained as it used to be and the info for aripiprazole seems incomplete. I’m not sure of the details, but it looks like there was some fight over similar domain names or competing sites and that has had an impact on the quality of the information.