Abilify Withdrawal

AMiddleman Says:

I was on 10mg of Abilify for at least 5 years as an add-on to my anti-depressant for my major depressive disorder, on top of my bulimia and anxiety. I went down to 5mg in the last year I was on it. I had no idea it had such bad physical withdrawal effects. My old doctor told me to wean off of it last year when I decided I didn't need it anymore, but did not give me any sort any sort of percentage or schedule. I got terribly sick about a month and a half after I weaned off of it for only 2 weeks and didn't even make the connection right away. So I've been taking 2.5mg every 35-45days for the past year... basically every time I get sick. Now I have terrible joint pain, which I thought was arthritis (I'm only 36 years old) and I just went to an orthopedist and she found no arthritis in my joints. She suspects a autoimmune disorder, but blood tests were already negative. So I'm suspecting the Abilify again! Should I go back on it at 5mg and start a better tapering down schedule like I've read about to stop this awful joint pain, or should I just tough this out and get this drug out of my system for good? I don't know what's best at this point!

11 Replies

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Verwon Says:

It is really hard to say, at this point, by taking it here and there, when you felt sick, you may have just made things worse for yourself.

The FDA does warn that some withdrawal effects are normal and can't be avoided, but doing a slow taper can help mitigate them, so they are not so severe, but whenever you take another dose to try to stop them, you could just be prolonging them.

Are you on any other medications?

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AMiddleman Says:

Re: Verwon (# 1) Expand Referenced Message

Yes. Vyvanse, Topomax daily and then Trazadone and Clonazepam PRN. Synthroid and Zantac for non-mental health problems.

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On Mars Says:

I was on Abilify for 12 years as a precautionary add on to an antidepressant, as there was some concern that I might be type 2 bipolar. I was on 15mg for 11 years. After moving and seeing a new psychiatrist, the original diagnosis was questioned and I was asked if I'd like to experiment with going off. As my blood sugar had been high as a result of the medication, I was eager to try. For one year I began the taper down, finally reaching 2.5mg every other day. I experienced no mood changes or any other side effects. Two weeks after I was completely off, I awoke on day with extreme anxiety. My doctor suggested taking a Benadryl at night before bed, and if needed, one during the day if my function was impaired as a result. It has now been a three month roller coaster of feeling anxious or not, one step forward and two steps back, or vise versa. As my doctor pointed out, there is absolutely no good empirical literature available about withdrawal from this drug, only anecdotal. From everything I've read of first hand accounts, two weeks from last dose seems to be when the symptoms begin, and anxiety is the number one side effect, as well as a host of others I've been spared. On the positive side, I'm sleeping longer and deeper than I have in 12 years, and I've lost 12 pounds as a result of removing this insulin blocker from my system. Unfortunately, I've also heard that this has lasted as long as a year! I'm in it for the long haul, though, I refuse to give in and have to take a drug that I never needed in the first place just because of the withdrawal. I hope my experience to date can help others out there dealing with this as well, I know reading their tales have reassured me that it will pass, that it is not the "new norm" for me. I would love to hear more from people in our shoes as well.

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Lillie100 Says:

Re: On Mars (# 3) Expand Referenced Message

Hi On Mars. Lovely to read a recent post on the side effects from Abilify withdrawal. I was diagnosed with Delusional Disorder and forced onto this evil drug. I was on the depot for 6 months and then tablets at 15mg, 10mg, 5mg. I never had this disorder, only neighbours who spent months harassing me. I moved and my problems went away. This drug gave me awful insomnia, made me feel constantly sick so I lost 5 kg, my hair fell out and I wanted to gamble all the time (this I resisted). This was the only drug I was taking so these symptoms cannot be blamed on others. Not a fan of any drug I told the doctor that I was not going to subject my body to further abuse. He agreed, so I chopped the pills up and reduced dosage to about 1mg before quitting.

Felt fine for the first few weeks however then the withdrawal hit. I have always been an active person and have never been restricted in my love of sports and exercise. Well suddenly I was crippled with exonerating pain in my shoulders, legs and all over my body whilst I was trying to sleep. I really thought I had suddenly been struck with arthritis then remembered that I had read that muscle pain was a side effect of Abilify. I took pain killers so I could survive my work days and not admit that I could hardly do my job. I nearly booked a doctors appointment to get checked out for arthritis however decided I would give it some more time. The crippling pain lasted for about 1 month and has subsided and now is only in my wrists occasionally.

I did not have anxiety nor have I suffered from depression and these withdrawal symptoms have not been a problem. I have been off Abilify for 3 months and each day is better. No longer need the pain killers and have got back to my active lifestyle. I can now move freely and riding my horse is pleasurable again. I hope all is well with you On Mars and that you have won the battle. I, for one will never let my body be subjected to that vile medicine again.

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tkadm Says:

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to say that it's totally possible to cease abilify medication without any observable side-effects. I have been on abilify (maintena/5mg) for about 5 years and decided to quit on October 2017. Now I'm entering my 6th months free of abilify and didn't experience any side-effects. I expect/plan never to use antipsychotics again. I also consumed a lot of cannabis during abilify treatments and after. My advice for people stuck with this stuff: Just hang in there! :)

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Don Says:

I’ve been on Abilify for four years. I quit cold turkey I think it was a mistake. I’m in my 38th day I have terrible pain in my ear my jaw and all other joints. I just spoke to my doctor that gave me the Abilify and he said there is no withdrawal off of this drug. I’m 66 years old grow up on the Sunset strip in Hollywood I have with drawl month of other drugs this may be the worst. I would not take this drug ever again. One of the worst experiences of my life.

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Laura Says:

Under any situation do not take Ability. The manufacturer lost by a class action suit and the victims won. The original manufacturer after paying close to a billion dollars sold the company to a Japanese manufacturer. In so doing the Europeans have different rules and can not be sued. After being on Ability for a year I was becoming diabetic so I was told how to wean off this life-threatening drug and after only six months I was diagnosed by a Neurologist with TARDIF DYSKINESIA. I will have this horrible disease for the rest of my life. There is no cure as of today; symptoms will become worse for the rest of my life and possibly placed in a Mental Hospital. Google Tardif Dyskinesia - It is very difficult for me to explain. I look drunk and I am not aware of this until I fall down for no reason. NO ABILIFY.

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Don Says:

I'm off the Abilify and my blood sugar is back to normal. I tried to find out about blood sugar but no one seemed to know. It was so high I was borderline diabetic. Now it’s totally normal. Good luck to everybody.

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Laura Says:

Tough the pain from withdrawing from Abilify and stay off of it. This drug company has had a lawsuit regarding the side effect Tardif Dyskinesia which has no cure, is physically appalling to observe and is a side effect of taking or withdrawing from this horrible prescription. I acquired Tardif Dyskinesia four years ago withdrawing and you look drunk, fall down, and stress is its engine.

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Don Says:

I’m 66 years old I was on 5 mg for six years I quit cold turkey. Absolutely one of the worst experiences of my life. My personal opinion you should not go back on the crap.

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Gina Says:

Re: tkadm (# 5) Expand Referenced Message

I am hoping to get my 18 yr old son off of Abilify. He has gained so much weight. We have medical Marijuana here in NM. We will see his doc this next week. I am going to ask her if he can go off of ability and on pot.

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