Posted by Claudia Grazioso on September 23, 2011
Abilify is an antipsychotic drug that is sometimes prescribed along with other antidepressants to treat major depressive disorder, as well as symptoms of bipolar or manic depressive disorder. If you’re like me, you might think there is something about a secondary medication that maybe seems less… potent. It’s just a supplement to the real thing — so it’s probably not that strong, right? And probably doesn’t have many side effects, right?
Wrong, wrong and wrong. Abilify, also known by the generic name aripiprazole, is a pretty strong and effective drug in its own right. And if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant while taking it, there are some things you should consider when deciding whether to use Abilify.
Abilify is a Category C drug, meaning that tests have been performed on animals but not humans. Abilify has been linked to a low birth weights and a greater likelihood of miscarriage. In the animal studies performed, in addition to low birth weight, researchers reported problems like slow development in all pups, undescended testicles in male babies and lower fertility rates in female babies. Some skeletal birth defects also occurred. Additionally, infants whose mothers took drugs chemically similar to Abilify during the final trimester of pregnancy have been observed to suffer from things like agitation, weak muscles, still muscles, respiratory difficulties, feeding problems and shakiness. Currently there are no data on whether Abilify can have an adverse effect on a nursing infant, but the manufacturers recommend that new moms taking Abilify not breastfeed.
If you are using Abilify, talk with your doctor about whether it is safe and/or desirable for you to go off of it during pregnancy. Untreated depression, bipolar disorder, mania or psychosis can also have a very, very negative impact on both you and your baby. And almost all medications carry some risk of side effects. Weigh the pros and cons of Abilify and talk with your healthcare provider about the best course of treatment for you.